Recipes at Sound Food

The Pantry Advisor: Potato Rosemary Bread

At Sound Food we do a lot of thinking about the community's food system. Have you ever stopped to think about an even more local food system - the food system in your own home? Once you begin to examine what you eat and to make choices that include seasonal ingredients and homemade projects, you'll see that you can easily create a system that is interdependent. By-products from homemade meals and scraps from left-over ingredients can be used to create even more deliciously useful things. This series of articles will explore how making the most out of the food system in your own kitchen can save you time and money.

Thanksgiving. Many holidays showcase the importance of food traditions, but this one is set aside especially for our kind of people. Food people. If you choose to, it's legitimate to spend weeks planning what's going to be on your table. If you want to try to serve an entirely local Thanksgiving, you might even start your planning months ahead of time to make sure that you have and preserve what you need. All in all, a lot of energy goes into the big day.

Recipes abound for what to serve for the big meal. But, have you thought about what you're eating before the turkey and dressing? All those cooks in your kitchen deserve to be fed. This bread is a good all-purpose loaf dressed up by rosemary with a soft texture thanks to the potato. It can be served in many ways. Use it as a savory toast with a quick egg for breakfast or munch on it with cheese for a light lunch while you cook. It also serves well as a dinner bread. If there's any left, you can use it for turkey sandwiches.

Potato Rosemary Bread
(makes 2 loaves)

Day 1:
In a large bowl or dough bucket, stir together 2 1/2 cups bread flour, 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast, and about 7 ounces of water. Knead by hand for 5 minutes or by machine for about 4. Cover with plastic wrap (or lid of your bucket) and let ferment at room temperature for 2-4 hours. Then place the dough in the refrigerator overnight. (It can stay in the fridge for up to three days.)

On baking day:
Remove the starter from the refrigerator about 1 hour before you want to assemble your bread. Prepare your mashed potatoes and set aside to cool. (Or, if you have leftover potatoes, let them come up to room temperature.)

In a large bowl, stir:
3 cups plus 2 tbls. bread flour
1 ½ tsp. salt
¼ instant yeast

starter, torn into about 10 pieces
1 cup mashed yellow or red potatoes (leaving the skins on the red potatoes causes an interesting effect in the bread)
1 tbls. olive oil
2 tbls. coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup warm water

Stir with a large spoon or mix on low by machine for 1 minute. Then, knead the dough for about 10 minutes by hand (or 6 minutes by machine.) Add flour as needed. You want to make a dough that is supple but not sticky.

Oil a bowl and transfer the dough to it. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 2 hours.

Prepare your baking sheets by lining with parchment and sprinkling with cornmeal.

Divide the dough into two pieces. Shape as you like. (I'd recommend a boule. This will allow you to slice it in different ways for different purposes.)

Mist the dough with olive oil and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for another 2 hours.

Remove the plastic and lightly brush the dough with olive oil. Slash the top with a sharp knife. Bake the loaves for 40 minutes at 400F.

Rolls can be also made from this dough. Bake for 20 minutes at 400F.

This bread freezes well, so make it ahead of time!

-Adapted from Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice

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