Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Potato Toast

Contrary to what the title of this post may have led you to believe, this post is about bread. Specifically, a bread I baked for making toast. And sandwiches, but that is not the point.
When I was a kid, my father made me a sandwich every day to take to school in my lunch bag. He bought a loaf of bread over the weekend and I got the same bread for the whole week. Sometimes it was buttermilk, sometimes multi-grain or hawaiian. But I was always intrigued when he brought home potato bread. It certainly didn't taste like potatoes. It seemed to bear no resemblance to them. Puzzling though it was, it was good bread - quite soft, though it never got mushy, and with a mildly sweet flavor. When we had this bread around I always had toast for breakfast. Crispy on the outside and slightly soft on the inside, potato bread seemed to be the perfect toasting bread. I liked it with butter and cinnamon-sugar.
Wanting to reminisce, I looked up potato breads and was slightly surprised to discover that they involved nothing more than adding potato flour, instant potato flakes or a mashed up baking potato to my dough. It seems that potatoes keep the bread moist and tender. So. I baked up a loaf of toasting bread.
It lived up to my expectations with a fairly open but very even crumb and a moist interior. I baked a bit of the dough off as dinner rolls, which were excellent, and saved the loaf for recreating my childhood. Here's the recipe. Use it for toast.

Potato Bread
1/4 cup warm water (110F)
1 packet active dry yeast

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup instant potato flakes
2 1/2 cups ap flour
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp oil or butter (optional)
Extra milk for brushing top of loaf (optional)

Combine yeast with 1/4 cup warm water until foamy, about 10 minutes.
Add yeast mixture to milk, water, potato, 1 cup flour, oil and salt in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mixing on a low speed, add remaining flour until dough comes away from the sides of the bowl. Add a bit more flour, if necessary.
Knead by hand on a floured surface until elastic and smooth, about 5 minutes.
Place dough in a lightly greased bowl to rise until doubled, 1 - 1 1/2 hours.
Gently deflate dough and shape into a rectangle. Place dough into a greased loaf pan (9X5) and let rise, covered with a dish towel, for 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375F.
Brush loaf with a bit of milk, if using. Bake loaf for 30 minutes. Remove from loaf pan and cover top of loaf with foil to prevent over-browning. Place directly on oven rack for 15 more minutes, or until bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
Let cool before slicing. Store well wrapped.