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Before my friend "The Rye Baker" Stanley Ginsberg went on his mission promoting European rye breads to American bakers, he had published another remarkable baking book: "Inside the Jewish Bakery - Recipes and Memories from the Golden Age of Jewish Baking".
I was among his test bakers. One of my test recipes was the Polish Potato Bread - Poylner Kartoffelbroyt - an interesting recipe, but, as I soon came to realized, somewhat challenging in its preparation.
|My first Post-It notes about the recipe|
I had problems gauging the needed water amount, first the dough seemed too dry, then turned sticky. Not only that: Stanley had warned of dire consequences if you tried taming the gooey dough with more flour - it would turn into a brick! Intimidated, I wrote down: "No shaping possible".
Somehow, in the end, I had managed to get the sticky glob into the pan. Or I wouldn't have (later) rejoiced in its "excellent taste!"
At that time I had no whatsoever experience with higher hydration doughs. Meanwhile, I know better how to deal with them - the extra flour needs to go under the sticky dough, not into it!
|Potato Bread tastes especially good when toasted|
Its good taste inspired me to bake the tasty Potato Bread again and again, while tweaking the recipe a little bit, by substituting some of the white flour with whole wheat and withholding some of the water to add it later.
Allowing the dough to rest in the fridge overnight, I could reduce the amount of yeast a bit, too.
This favorite loaf really deserves to be presented at Zorra's World Bread Day 2017,
|Golden brown, nice and moist|
POLISH POTATO BREAD (adaped from Stanley Ginsberg's: "Inside the Jewish Bakery")
227 g/8 oz Russet or Idaho potatoes, peeled or unpeeled *), cut in chunks
170 g/12 oz potato cooking water
4 g/1 tsp instant yeast
250 g/8.8 oz first clear or high-gluten flour
34 g/1.2 oz whole wheat flour
9 g/0.3 oz salt
vegetable oil, for brushing
*) I usually don't peel thin-skinned potatoes
|Drain cooked potatoes and reserve 170 g of the cooking water|
Boil potatoes until soft, then drain, reserving 170 g/6 oz of the cooking water. Mash potatoes, and let both cool to room temperature.
Mix mashed potatoes, flours, yeast, and 150 g/5 oz of the reserved cooking water at low speed, until all flour is hydrated, 1-2 minutes. (Dough might seem a bit dry at first, but potatoes contain moisture).
|Dough will become soft and sticky|
Add salt, and knead at medium-low speed for 10-12 minutes, slowly adding remaining 20 g/2 oz water, until dough pulls somewhat back from sides of bowl. It will turn soft and sticky, but don't add more flour!)
|The dough (here for two breads) will go overnight in the fridge|
Place dough in oiled container, cover, and let it rest overnight in the fridge.
|Overnight the dough has doubled in volume|
Remove dough from refrigerator 2 hours before using. It should have doubled in volume, but will still be very soft and sticky. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan (23 x 13 cm).
|Pat dough gently into a rectangle|
Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface. With floured hands, gently pat into a rectangle. Starting from a short side, roll into a log, then place, seam-side down, into prepared pan (a bench knife helps with the transfer.)
|Place loaf, seam-side down, in prepared pan|
Brush top of loaf lightly with oil, cover pan with plastic wrap, and proof until top of dough has reaches up to rim of pan, and a dimple, pressed with your finger, remains visible (about 45 - 60 minutes).
Preheat oven to 375ºF/190ºC (no steam). Slash loaf lengthwise.
|Freshly baked Polish Potato Bread|
Bake bread for 20 minutes (no steaming), rotate pan 180 degrees for even browning, and continue to bake for about 20 - 30 minutes more, or until loaf is golden brown, and the internal temperature registers at least 195ºF/90ºC. Leave bread in switched-off oven, with door slightly ajar, for an additional 10 minutes to dry.
Turn bread out onto rack and let it cool completely.
STORAGE: The bread keeps for at least 3 days, wrapped, at room temperature. It, also, freezes well.