junior mr. potato bread
At Christmas I met an old school friend for afternoon tea and she told me how she'd had a pizza base bake-off with her husband. They used the same bread mix and he made the pizza base by hand whilst she used the dough hook on her stand mixer. The stand mixer base rose twice as high as the hand made version so I returned home from my Christmas break determined to make some bread.
I've been a bit rubbish at baking bread of late and I now realise it's because I just don't have the arm strength to knead the dough sufficiently. Since I've discovered the joys of the dough hook I've made bread or pizza dough every week since my return from Brisbane. Emboldened by my new success, I dusted off my almost unused copy of the Bourke Street Bakery cookbook and decided to make some sourdough bread.
May I introduce you to Audrey, my sourdough starter. I think she's about 3 weeks old now and I have 3 versions of her on the go. Audrey is brewing in one of the 8 Kilner jars kindly sent to me by the folk from Kilner in the UK. I haven't been brave enough to go completely yeast free yet, so I decided to make one of the semi sour dough bread recipes from the book, a junior Mr. Potato Bread.
Yes you will need sourdough starter which takes 1 - 2 weeks to prepare or you can buy it here. The whole recipe itself is a bit time consuming - I made it over 2 days - but by 10.30 Sunday morning I had a piping hot loaf of rosemary flavoured potato bread coming out of my oven.
Here's the recipe for you, lightly adapted from the Bourke Street Bakery – the Ultimate Baking Companion by Paul Allam and David McGuiness.
Junior Mr. Potato Bread - makes 1 loaf
60 g potato cut into 3cm cubes
10 ml olive oil
55 g white sourdough starter
115 g plain flour
115 g wholemeal flour
1 tsp salt
½ tsp dried yeast (not instant)
150 ml water
2 rosemary sprigs, leaves picked
salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F. Put the potato cubes onto a baking tray and pour over the oil. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until you can almost pierce them all the way through with a knife – the potatoes only need to be half cooked at this stage as they will continue to cook when the loaf is baked.
Put the sourdough starter in the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attached. Add the wholemeal and plain flours, the salt, yeast and water. Mix on slow speed for 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl then continue mixing on high speed for 6 minutes or until smooth (it will not be elastic).
When the dough is properly developed, fold through the half cooked potatoes and rosemary by hand. Lightly grease a container with olive oil spray and sit the dough inside. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for 1 hour to bulk prove. I left the dough in the fridge overnight and brought it to room temperature the next day before continuing.
To knock back the dough, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and press out into a rectangle, about 2.5 cm thick. Use your hands to fold one-third back onto itself, then repeat with the remaining third. Turn the dough 90 degrees and fold it over again into thirds. Place the dough back into the oiled container and continue to bulk prove for a further 30 minutes.
Shape the dough into a round. Place the loaf onto a baking tray lined with baking paper, seam side down. Place in the fridge loosely covered with a plastic bag for 1 hour.
Remove the loaf from the fridge and let it rest in a humid place (25°C) until the loaf has grown in size by two-thirds. This could take anywhere between 1 and 4 hours. If the loaves push back steadily and quickly when you push lightly into them with a finger, then they are ready. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to its highest setting. Score the loaf and place it in the oven.
Spray the oven with water and reduce the temperature to 220°C/425°F. Bake the loaf for 20 minutes, then turn the tray around and bake a further 10 -15 minutes watching carefully to make sure the loaf doesn’t burn. Check the base of each loaf with a tap of your finger – if it sounds hollow, it is ready. Baking should take no longer than 40 minutes in total.
Now that my bread making mojo has returned, I'm planning to bake something bready or yeasty every couple of weeks. Would you like me to share these recipes with you?
I'm off to Brisbane for the weekend and with no plans to bake, I'll write up my belated Valentine's Day cookie post on my return.
See you all again next Monday,