Saturday, January 28, 2012

Mashed Potato Bread

Ok my friends I have been on a self-imposed hiatus for a bit longer than I meant to be.  I am just going to say that some parts of my life have been just a little more stressful than I was ready for.  Here is a video clip from a recent morning. 

By the way I am the guy in the chair...

Work has been just a wee bit stressful the past few weeks; do you remember several months ago I went to sunny Milford Connecticut for two weeks to learn to make sandwiches?  Well that restaurant is only days from opening now, it is the last step in a renovation has been a several months in the making.  Floors have been ripped up, walls torn down, the whole nine yards.  I have been getting in a little before five most mornings and working looong days. By the time I get home I am tired and maybe a little crabby.  I have been doing what I can to relax as time permits.

I have mentioned before that I used to hate baking especially anything that involved yeast, I didn't understand it, add to that I had heard all of the things that can go wrong when you use yeast.

"Make sure that you stuff a towel under the kitchen door while you let your bread rise, the slightest draft will kill the yeast."
"Don't mix bread in a metal dish it will ruin it."
"You absolutely can't make bread while it is raining."
"Measure all of you ingredients very precisely, even the slightest change will ruin your bread."

Read your mom's old church cookbook for more, they are out there.

Anyway several years ago I was suffering from insomnia and found that baking bread was an excellent sleep aid.  I mean think about it:

Realize that you can’t sleep and get out of bed at about ten o’clock
Open a bottle of wine while you put a packet of yeast in warm water to open up
Mix, kneed, rise, punch, pan, rise, bake
Enjoy the smell of fresh bread baking, when the bottle of wine was empty and fresh bread came out of the oven… what do you know, I was ready to sleep.

Insomnia hasn’t been a problem for me lately since I come home every day exhausted but I still find baking to be relaxing, like doing yoga only I don’t wake up so sore the next morning.  There have been quite a few experiments going on in my house lately.  This one is great though, just as light as air and soft, the recipe based on one I found on Food Network.  It actually makes a loaf with some dough left to make rolls… nice.

Potato Bread  
1 russet potato, peeled and cut into large chunks, or 1 cup leftover mashed potatoes 1 cup milk
3 TPS butter melted
2 tsp salt
1 TBS Sugar
1 TBS yeast
1/3 cup warm water
5 cups bread flour

Boil potato until soft. Drain and reserve cooking liquid mash until smooth.

Scald milk then combine with 1/2 cup reserved cooking liquid. Combine liquids and potato with butter, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile combine yeast and warm water, and set aside until foamy. When potato mixture has cooled, add yeast mixture. Then add flour a cup at a time and knead with a dough hook, or an electric mixer, until smooth and glossy, about 7 minutes.  This is that part where you have to ignore the “precisely measure your ingredients” myth.  Potatoes differ in size and moisture, you have add that last cup of flour slowly (or maybe a little more) to get the right feel.

Put dough in an oiled bowl and cover then set aside in warm place to rise about 1/2 hour. Punch dough down and knead a few times. Coat a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan. Place dough in pan, cover with plastic, and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake 30 minutes, until bread sounds hollow when tapped.


  1. Hope things get better soon! I have to say that I find yeast breads the most forgiving of all. Exact measurements can be tossed out the window. Rainy days are just fine to make a loaf. If there's a draft, it just takes a bit longer to rise. Kneading is a great tension reliever. Enjoy the process!


  2. Nice one! I must try potato bread, yours looks great.
    Sorry you have been under the wonder we couldn't meet up! Good luck with the opening

  3. Wow, some exciting things happening for you! How lucky for those around you that baking is your stress reliever. Mine is more like hiding in an empty room with dark chocolate! Good luck with your venture!

  4. What can I say? Bread baking is pretty therapeutic. And as a frequent sufferer of insomnia (yay sleep disorders!) I know how the late night bread baking can be effective! Hopefully all of your renovations go well!

  5. I agree, even just the smell of baking bread is therapeutic. I miss making bread almost as much as I miss eating it. Hope your sandwich venture is working the kinks out and starting to slow down a bit!

  6. I love that you worked the "Dark Crystal" into this.

    1. That scene popped into my head and I just couldn't shake it... besides The Dark Crystal was really the Avatar of our generation wasn't it?