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Author Notes: 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
Makes: 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
- 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.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best (Savory) Yeast Bread