Archive for November, 2007

Daring Bakers – Tender Potato Bread

November 26, 2007

It’s that time again!  The Daring Bakers are over 400 members now!  We each bake the same recipe each month and then post the results.   This month we made Tender Potato Bread.  Each person made the same bread, but then could shape it whichever way they wanted.  With Thanksgiving in the mix, I chose to do dinner rolls, but believe me, I will definitely make this again and do a loaf and focaccia. 

 For the full recipe, please visit Tanna.

Yeast and I don’t have the best relationship.  I used to kill it, until I learned to always use a thermometer to temp my water.  We work together much better now, but in the winter my house can be pretty drafty so rising can also be an issue.  To combat this issue this time, I preheated my oven to 200 degrees, turned it off, then put the dough inside with the oven door open.  It worked perfectly!  Next time I’ll buy an oven that has a ‘proofing’ setting.

Tender Potato Bread
I bought two baking potatoes thinking they would weigh one-half pound together. Wrong! They weighed over a pound, so I cooked just one peeled potato in 4 cups of water until it was fork tender. Mashed potatoes aren’t a real staple in my house, so the only instrument I had to mash them with was a pastry blender. It worked well, but next time I’d maybe run them through a sieve as well to get a finer mash.

It took a while for the potatoes and potato water to cool down. Once they did, I added the yeast and two cups of flour and let it sit for five minutes.

Next I added salt, butter, and more flour, mixing everything together.

As I kneaded, I probably added in another 2+ cups of flour. I’ve never made bread like this, where you add so much of the flour while you knead. It was interesting. The dough was wet, yet easy to work with. Once it seemed not so wet and with good elasticity, I put it in the oven to rise for two hours. I was nervous, but it rose beautifully!

Again, I turned it out on a floured surface to knead a bit.

The instructions were for a big loaf, and then some dinner rolls so I wasn’t sure how many dinner rolls I would get. We were having 12 people for Thanksgiving, so I made all of the dough into rolls. I used my dough scraper to cut the dough into pieces. I did a decent job, but a few ended up a little bigger than the others.

Back in the oven for another rise. Based on comments and other posts, I decided to parbake the rolls, freeze them, and then bake again the day of. This worked very well. I thought my rolls might have been a little smaller than the suggested rolls, so I baked them for 10 minutes at 400 degrees the day I made them, and then another 10 minutes the day of. Again, this worked beautifully! Oh, I also brushed them with melted butter. They didn’t get super brown, but I was okay with that. The parbaked rolls –

The finished product!

Everyone loved them! When everyone was packing up the leftovers, my cousins took two rolls each. Success!


Savory Tomato Bread Pudding

November 2, 2007

My friend Amy and I have done more than a few dinner parties together.  Sometimes they’re casual, sometimes they’re more formal.  For the Breast Cancer 3-Day walk, we auctioned off a formal dinner party for 8.  We would cook, they would eat.  Fortunately, some friends of ours won the auction, so it was a very fun event.

We’ve amassed a stable of recipes that are always a hit so we assumed we could pull from that.  But, a few of the dinner guests had some dietary restrictions and we really needed a vegetarian appetizer.  I had no idea how much proscuitto figures into my favorite recipes until I couldn’t use it!  Our other appetizer was a fried meatball on pesto crostini (recipe to be posted soon) so we didn’t want to do bruschetta or a goat cheese crostini.  Amy remembered the Savory Bread Pudding from Top Chef and I was in.   These were so good!  The vegetarian in the group loved them, as did everyone else.  Plus, I think they are very versatile.  You could definitely serve them as a main dish as well, topped with a scallop, prosciutto, anything like that. 

Savory Bread Pudding
Makes 18
1/2 large red onion, diced finely
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1/2 quart whole milk
3/4 can tomato paste
Seasonings – dried parsley, dried basil, dried oregano
5 whole eggs
1 1/2 loaves baguette, diced small, with crust
1/2 bunch basil, chopped
1/4 bunch thyme, chopped
4 oz cream cheese

In a saute pan, saute onion and garlic until translucent. Mix in whipping cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, whisk together milk and tomato paste. Add the onion-garlic cream to the tomato mixture. Season liberally with dried parsley, basil, oregano and more salt and pepper. I should say here that we needed to season things heavily. Lots of salt and pepper. Be sure to taste! Add eggs and diced baguette. Combine well and let stand for 45 minutes.

In a food processor, mix basil, thyme and cream cheese. Blend until finely processed.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake bread pudding in muffin pan for 20-30 minutes.  Liberally top with basil cream when ready to serve.