Sourdough Potato Bread

I’ve always loved the taste and texture of potato bread, so I figured it was high time to try my hand at a sourdough potato bread. Gina, of Home Joys, provided a great starting point (as well as a fascinating glimpse into the life of a Mennonite homesteader… I am so impressed by all that she holds so graciously, and definitely want to come back to read more, especially her ideas about gardening with children.) I should have know better than to try to bake bread during the week, even with an electric mixer. I once again got busy and wasn’t able to return to the dough for several hours after each rise — it was clearly over proofed, yet amazingly still rose fine. The loaf was a bit prone to fall apart and sour for my taste, no doubt because of the neglectfully long rises. Nonetheless, it seems quite promising and definitely worth trying again soon, when I have a more relaxed day to give it the proper attention.

UPDATE (4/9/17): Gave it another try, with a sweet potato in place of the potato and all by hand — I was delightfully surprised at how manageable, even pleasant it was to work with this dough, and how quickly it hit the smooth, springy, elastic stage despite being all whole wheat. I started it first thing in the morning, and stuck it in the oven just before bed, so that I was able to take advantage of a relaxed, balmy Sunday afternoon rather than try to rouse a sluggish starter on a frosty night. Rose wonderfully, vigorous and fun to work with. Made a loaf of bread (a little small for my 9″ loaf pan) and 16 small dinner rolls. The only slight setback was that I only had room for one pan at a time in my oven, and am still learning how to adjust for the oven running rather hot. The rolls could have used less than half an hour baking time or slightly lower temp. They turned out rather on the dry, bland side. I nibbled through a few and then ended up sticking them in the freezer, probably to use as bread crumbs. The bread I baked at 300F (according to the oven knob, at least) for 35 minutes. It turned out beautifully soft and light, perfect mild taste and texture to enjoy fresh or toasted all week! I imagine I will come back to this stellar recipe before long.

Sourdough Potato Bread

Sponge:
3 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups sourdough starter
1-2 small potatoes or sweet potato, boiled, mashed, and cooled
2 cups water (reserved potato cooking water + additional as needed)

Mix together, cover with a towel, and leave overnight, or around 8-12 hours.

Dough:
1/4 cup melted butter or oil
3 teaspoons salt
1 egg
3 cups whole wheat flour (up to 1 more cup as needed unti l no longer sticks to side of bowl)

Mix in butter or oil, salt, and egg, then gradually incorporate flour. Let rest 10 minutes, then knead by hand, or for five minutes with electric mixer, until fairly elastic. Place in a greased bowl and allow to rise for 1 1/2 to 3 hours, or until almost doubled. Grease bread pans or baking sheet and shape as desired. (I had enough dough to make one large loaf and four burger buns, but you could also probably make two small loaves, or lots of dinner rolls.) Let rise another 1-3 hours, until about doubled… if you let it go longer, it will be sour! Preheat oven to 350 and bake for 30-35 minutes. (Half an hour was perfect for the buns, another five minutes might have benefitted the loaf. For smaller rolls, 20-25 minutes might be more appropriate.) Let rest for a few minutes before removing from pan to finish cooling. Enjoy!

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