This isn’t really a food blog, and I don’t take photos of every step when I am baking, but last night I decided to make bread. When I began, I looked over and someone had left the instant mashed potatoes on the counter. I must declare my love for real potatoes right now, lest you think these flakes are something I would eat. But I have a child who loves the stupid things, so they are in my house.
Anyway, I took a look at those potatoes and thought potato bread would be delicious! Then I wondered if I could make potato bread with instant potatoes. I decided that I could, so I tossed some (1 1/2 cups?) in with the water (2 cups) and yeast (about 2 tablespoons). Then I added flour (4 or 5 cups in all), and realized that the potatoes had soaked up all the water, so I added some more water (1 cup). Then I decided that this bread could use a little fat, so I tossed in some butter (about 2 tablespoons). And a little sugar (about 2 tablespoons), because I wanted a lighter, softer bread. Now it was too wet, so I added more flour (included in the previous quantities), and some salt (maybe a teaspoon). The resulting dough was fairly sticky, so I was lazy and let the Kitchen Aid do most of the kneading, but not all of it, because what’s the point of making bread if you don’t slap it around some?
After the initial rise, I shaped it and let it rise again on my sheet pans. Within 10 minutes, I realized that it was spreading too much, so I fashioned some aluminum foil collars for the loaves to encourage it up more than out. I slashed the loaves, put them in the oven with bits of butter on top and baked 10 minutes at 425 before lowering the temperature to 350. After about 20 minutes, I took off the collars so it would brown nicely all over. In all, it took about 40 minutes to bake the loaves, but some of that was because I kept checking on it.
By now you probably realize that I won’t be giving you an exact recipe. Maybe you realize that is because I don’t write things down as I’m baking, and because I just kind of do things to my bread as they strike my fancy. If you have experience baking bread, you may understand what I’ve done, and be able to replicate it somewhat, but if you don’t, you may just be shaking your head and looking up potato bread recipes to try to make some yourself. In any case, I will warn you, as beautiful as this bread looks, it wasn’t quite as wonderful as I hoped it would be. The potato flakes gave it a bit of a fake flavor, compounded by the fact that I did not reduce the salt to account for what was in them. I would highly recommend using real potatoes if you want to make potato bread.
When I took the loaves out of the oven, I realized that I still had wonderful light coming in through the window at about 8:00, so I grabbed my camera. While I was getting it, someone stole the first slice. By the time I had taken a few shots, two more were gone and I had to fight to keep anyone from cutting more as I snapped away. That slight fake flavor did nothing to dissuade any of my bread lovers from devouring it all. It actually seemed to mellow out pretty quickly, too. With a little strawberry jam and butter, you really couldn’t taste the flakes at all, so if you really want to make potato bread without boiling potatoes and mashing them, go ahead and do it.