I love any new ideas to use up left overs, that is for sure, and this one was a lot of fun. Got some leftover mashed potato in your fridge? Why not use it to make Potato Bread?
Last week I got this very cool book out of the library called “The Bread Bible” by Beth Henspergers. It has really inspired me to try some new things in the whole baking bread department. I make bread semi-regularly, but it is generally always the same ol’ tried and true recipe, which is quick easy and reliable, but no longer very exciting. There are recipes in there for sour dough breads, sweet breads, ancient grain breads, breads that use yeast, soda breads and breads that use whats called a “sponge”. Hmmmmm interesting.
A sponge is like a sour dough starter except that you use yeast, and you only need to let it sit for a few hours but can also leave it over night if you want too or have the time. This totally suits my “spur of the moment” style. I would love to always make sour-dough breads but sometimes it just requires too much forward thinking and planning. The bonus of using the “sponge” method is that you get a mild fermented flavour in your bread but its so much faster.
I thought I would give it a go…
So of course, not following a recipe, just winging it as per usual, I whipped this up one morning before work. I started with 2 cups of cold mashed potato out of the fridge and whisked in 1 cup of boiling water, 1/2 cup of cold water, 1 small cup of Rye flour, 1 tsp sugar and 2 tsp of yeast. I covered this with a tea towel and went to work. There happened to also be a little pumpkin in the mashed potato, but I figured that wouldn’t matter 😉 Actually it ended up giving the finished loaf a nice color.
When I got home from work, the “sponge was nice and super bubbly looking. I got a wooden spoon and mixed in bit by bit about 5 cups of plain flour, or just enough until I had a nice soft but no to sticky dough. Tip it out onto the bench and give it a knead until it is nice and smooth. Put the dough back into a clean bowl, cover with a tea towel and sit in a warm-ish place to prove until the ball is about double the size. (Waiting, waiting)
Now shape the dough into 1 HUGE or 2 standard size loaves, and allow to rise for a second time, until nice and puffy looking. Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees celsius while it is rising.
Bake for about 30 minutes until the loaves have a hollow sound when you tap them.
Remove from the oven and see if you can wait for them to cool before digging in….. I couldn’t
I was really surprised at the extra depth of flavour and difference to the texture this extra step of making the “sponge” gave the bread. It does mean you have to be a little more organized, but not really if you can use some leftovers and whip it up to do its thing on the bench for the day while your at work or wherever.
We ate one of the loaves with soup for tea and put the other in the freezer for another day. I got it our for lunch on Sunday and it was still so delicious and soft, and it hasn’t dried out overnight either. That is of course one thing with homemade bread, it just doesn’t stay soft and fresh for as long as bought bread, but that is of course the lovely lack of preservatives. However I have read that sour-doughs and even some of these sort of semi-sour breads do tend to have a bit longer shelf life.
So that was fun, now I thought I would have a go at the real deal. Fully fledged Potato sour-dough bread. First things first….. make the sour-dough starter….
Beginning with 2 medium size potatoes, cooked with about 2 1/2 cups of water. Drain and save the water. Mash the potatoes, then whisk back in the water, 1 cup of plain flour, and 1 tsp of sugar. Cover with a tea towel and leave to sit in a warm place for 3-4 days………
And that is as far as I have got…… again back to the waiting waiting bit. In fact it would seem that good bread is all about a lot of waiting, but the flip side is it doesn’t require too much effort. We will see how it goes and all going according to plan…. I will fill you all in later on in the week. 😉