Egg + potato in the same loaf = a really tasty bread. Plus, it's chewy, with a slight nutty fragrance, thanks to the wheat germ. It toasts beautifully, too. Enjoy!! ;o) —AntoniaJames
one rather large loaf
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
Pinch of sugar
½ cup whole milk
¾ cup mashed potato (cooked without salt)
½ cup toasted wheat germ
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons honey
1 ½ teaspoon salt
4 – 4 ½ cup bread flour (plus more for kneading and shaping)
Olive oil for greasing the rising bowl
One egg plus one tablespoon whole milk for brushing the loaf
In This Recipe
Proof the yeast in ½ cup of warm water (no hotter than 115 degrees Fahrenheit) with a pinch of sugar. Give it at least ten minutes, or until it has doubled in volume. It’s easiest to know this for sure if you proof in a glass measuring cup.
(Please see the note below. You don't have to knead this by hand if you don't care to do so.) In a large bowl and using a sturdy wooden spoon, mix the egg, milk, mashed potato, wheat germ, oil and honey. Add one cup of flour. Beat well.
Add the yeast mixture, once it’s ready, and a second cup of flour. Beat until thoroughly combined.
Gradually add two more cups of flour and the salt; use the back of your spoon to stir as much of the flour into the dough as you can without too much work. Then dump out onto a lightly floured work surface everything in the bowl (and scrape the sides and add that to the pile). Put the remaining 1/2 cup of flour on the counter, within easy reach, off to the side.
Knead the bread well, and patiently, using a bench scraper to pull up any dough that sticks to your work surface. Add flour just a bit at a time, being careful not to add too much. I use my bench scraper to pull over about a teaspoon or two at a time from the little pile of flour I measured out before I started kneading. Remember, you may not need all of that remaining ½ cup.
After kneading for about ten minutes, the dough should be smooth and elastic. Continue to knead if it isn’t. You can’t over-knead it.
Shape the dough into a ball, put it in an oiled bowl, then turn it over to coat it well. Let rise for an hour, or until doubled, in a covered bowl in a draft-free place that’s not too chilly. (See note below about rising.)
When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down gently, knead a few times and shape it into large oval loaf (or any other shape you want); put it on a piece of parchment, on a pizza stone, and let it rise for another 45 minutes or so.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Just before baking, slash the bread three or four times and brush with a wash made of one egg and a tablespoon of whole milk.
Bake for about 45 to 50 minutes, or longer if necessary. When done, it will sound hollow when tapped. Convection ovens can often make the crust a bit dark, especially those made with milk, so if the crust is looking too brown after 25 or 30 minutes, cover it very lightly with a piece of foil.
When done, remove from the oven and let the bread cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing.
A quick note about rising: In my old, chilly house, the best place for the bread to rise is in my microwave. I put a cup or small jar with some water in it into the microwave and cook it at full power for 2 minutes, then take it out. It warms the space inside and makes it nice and moist.
And another note, about kneading: This dough does not necessarily have to be kneaded by hand, if you have another method that you prefer, and are able to make adjustments accordingly. I happen to like stirring and kneading, because I rely on my hands to tell me when the correct amount of flour has been added. Plus, there's nothing quite like the satisfaction of using your own hands to turn a shaggy, floury mass of not-quite combined ingredients into the most glorious, smooth, shiny and supple ball of dough. I do some of my best thinking while kneading, too.
When I'm not working (negotiating transactions for internet companies), or outside enjoying the gorgeous surroundings here in the San Francisco Bay Area, I'm likely to be cooking, shopping for food, planning my next culinary experiment, or researching, voraciously, whatever interests me. In my kitchen, no matter what I am doing -- and I actually don't mind cleaning up -- I am deeply grateful for having the means to create, share with others and eat great food. Life is very good. ;o)