Saturday, May 13, 2006

Rustic Potato Loaves

Years ago if Hongkong people immigrated to overseas, they usually got tease by saying they couldn't get any job except "peeling potatoes" (a low level job at a restaurant). Not sure if I have ever received such a remark, but I can make quite a few good dishes and bread from potatoes though, like these rustic potato loaves. The recipe is from Leslie Mackie, from the book Baking with Julia.


3 medium russet potatoes, cooked, mashed, cooled

2 tsps salt

1/2 cup reserved potato water, lukewarm

7 g or 2 1/4 tsps active dry yeast

2 Tbps olive oil

4 3/4 cups high gluten flours (flour for making bread)

optional: spoonful of dry oregano or dill

Steps (I knead my dough by hand):

1 to 3. Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm potato water for 5 mins. Then mix it with potato, salt and olive oil. Gradually add in flour, knead, it looks dry and crumbly (pic 1) in the beginning, but it'll come together soon (pic 2). For a while you feel the dough very sticky but don't be tempted to add too much extra flour; later on it turns out just slightly sticky but not wet (pic 3). Knead the dough until smooth, covered and rise for 30 mins. It will have risen noticeably, although it may not have doubled. Pre-heat the oven 375F, place a baking stone in.

4 - 6. Cut the dough in half, take one half, flatten, start rolling from one end until almost to the other end, gently pull that end, stretch it gently, dust its edge with flour, and finish rolling. Rock back and forth a little to taper the ends. Repeat the other dough.

7. Places the doughs on the floured towel, seam side down, covered, rise for 20 mins.

8. When ready to bake, throw three ice cubes onto the oven's flour, shut the door immediately. Transfer the doughs by using the peel (baking sheet for me), let it roll onto the baking stone, seam side up. Before you last shut the door, throw two more ice cubes in. Bake the bread until the crust very brown, 45 - 50 mins, you should hear the hollow sound when you tape the loave bottom. Rest them 20 mins before slicing.

Leslie suggested putting butter when the bread's warm. I slathered this bread with dill cheese... wish that time there's a dish of mussels in white wine sauce sitting in front of me too.

This is how the bottom crust looks like.

One Italian bakery in my town makes superb bread, they're mostly very simple and rustic. My favorite is the semolina roll (left). However, some Italian bakeries sold their business to non-Italian people, things have never been the same...


BETUL said...

These potato breads keep fresh longer than ordinary breads, did you realise, Gattina ? Cos I tried them, I know how lovely they are.
I even have pumpkin version of this recipe in my blog, if you want to see..
And by the way this is my first comment here, but as a secret admirer of recipes and photos in this blog I even linked to you before.Keep up the good work :)

Unknown said...

Gattina, beautiful loaves. Thanks for the recipe and illustrations :)

Anonymous said...

I've used potatoes to make a number of doughs. I love the taste. These loaves you made look light and delicious!

Alev said...


I lke your blog. Thanks for the deliciouse recipes.

Gattina Cheung said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Gattina Cheung said...

betul, thank you for your kind words! I love your blog, and find your recipes very interesting, will go and leave you message :)

angie, you're always welcome!

surfindaave, thank you! Would love to see your bread some days.

alev, thanks for your visit too!

Anonymous said...

Your food photos are always so inviting. Well done and keep up with the good work!

Eva said...

Your Loaves looks very good and delicious.
This is my first time to visit your blog, also i know you have been living in HK before from your profile, i'm so happy to meet you and also thank you for your sharing!!!

Gattina Cheung said...

Jo, thanks for your encouragement!

Hi Eva,
thanks for your visit! I went to your blog and saw a lot of beautiful bread and cakes you baked!!! I have no problem to read the Chinese words but just don't know how to type, hehee...

Anonymous said...


I have been making this bread for YEARS, and yours looks absolutely amazing! You do incredible work! Outstanding!!!!!