Tuesday 29 December 2015

Roasted-Potato Bread

I baked roasted-potato bread last week.... It's been a long time since I last baked a rustic bread. I wish I'm able to bake it more often, but, the problem is, baking any kind of bread entails a long process.... it takes hours from the mixing to the the baking stage and if you want to bake one which uses a pre-ferment dough, it can take days...

Given that I'm often out of the house either for work or running of family errands, baking bread at home is a luxury....  Last week, I started mixing the dough for the potato bread before going to bed and thought that I would be able to bake it in time for breakfast the next morning. Alas, it was not meant to be... I had to leave the house in the morning and only managed to bake it in the afternoon. 

I love baking breads that involves the use of starter dough or an overnight proofing... this method always produces breads that are  more fragrant and have more intense flavour than the straight-dough method. With the addition of whole-grain flour and roasted potato, this potato bread has even more robust and distinctive flavour, something that's always absent in those soft & fluffy store-bought breads... My eldest daughter and I had the bread with kacang pool while the rest had it with scrambled eggs. Everyone liked it.

This recipe is taken from a book that my husband bought for me many years ago. Although he does not bake, he knew that the book was a good one after browsing it. He was so confident that he did not even consult me before paying for it. Indeed, the book by Jeffrey Hamelman is an excellent book. It is thoroughly researched and has very detailed explanation on all you need to know about baking bread. It should be a textbook for all bread-baking students. Another great feature of this book is, besides giving the recipe in US and metric measurement for bulk baking, it also includes recipe that's designed for home baking.

So if you have not tried baking rustic bread before, I would encourage you to try making this... The recipe below is half the recipe designed for home baking. Take a look at the videos that I recommend below so that you'll have a better idea of the correct way of handling the dough. Also, you may want to read more bread-making tips by Peter Reinhart, another bread-making guru, which I shared before.


Pâte Fermentée  (Starter Dough):
136g (4.8 oz) bread flour
88g (3 oz) water
1/2 tsp salt
1/16 tsp  instant yeast (I used a pinch.)

Final Dough:
250g (8.8 oz) bread flour
68g (2.4 oz) whole wheat flour
190g (6.7 oz) water
1/2 tbsp salt
1/2 plus 1/8 tsp (2g) instant yeast
115g (4 oz) baked potatoes (The recipe recommended Yukon Gold, I used Russet.) - mashed or cut into small pieces
all of the above pâte fermentée

  1. The day before baking the bread, mix the pate fermentee in a medium bowl until just smooth. Cover and allow to sit for 12 to16 hours at about 20 deg C. (I placed the bowl in the fridge. Before mixing the final dough, I removed the bowl of pate fermentee from the fridge & left it in room temperature for about 30 minutes before proceeding with the next step.)
  2. Add all the ingredients to the mixing bowl, including the potatoes, but not the pâte fermentée. In a spiral mixer, mix on first speed for 3 minutes in order to incorporate the ingredients. As the dough is coming together, add the pâte fermentée in chunks. If necessary, correct the hydration by adding water of flour in small amounts. The dough should feel slightly stiff, but since the potatoes hold a fair amount of moisture, which they will eventually contribute to the dough, be careful not to add too much water as the dough mixes. Finish mixing on second speed for 3 - 3 1/2 minutes. The dough should be supple & the gluten moderately developed. 
  3. Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover, and let it rise until doubled, about 90 minutes, with one stretch & fold after 45 minutes. (Watch this video on how to stretch & fold bread dough.)
  4. Divide the dough into two pieces and form it into two boules (French for balls) or batards, and let rise for about 75 minutes. (Watch this great video on how to shape & bake bread.)
  5. Preheat the oven to 230 deg C (450 deg F) & pre-steam the oven. 
  6. Score the loaves and bake them for about 40 minutes. If the loaves are turning dark too quickly, lower the temperature by 10-20 deg.
  7. Cool completely on a rack before slicing.
Recipe is from Bread, A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes by Jeffrey Hamelman.

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