Instant-Potato Bread, page 66, August 23, 2017

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I am craving a hearty, simple loaf of bread and came upon this recipe as I perused the cookbook.  I usually like potato breads, and have everything on hand, so this is the winner.   The author comments that she used to avoid the use of instant potato flakes in her bread baking until being introduced to this recipe.  Now she always keeps a box of instant mashed potatoes on hand.

One thing mentioned in the recipe description is that potatoes stimulate yeast. As a result this tends to be a high-domed loaf of bread.  I’ve had one or two issues in the past with bread rising too much and hitting the top of my machine, and will be sure to keep an eye on this.  Another note about working with the potato flakes is that they will quickly absorb liquid. To avoid  a dry dough ball, be sure to add the flour to the liquid ingredients first.  This separation ensures that the potatoes will not soak up too much of your liquid ingredients while you’re measuring and adding the flour.

Into my bread machine pan I added 1 1/2 cups of water and 3 tablespoons of instant buttermilk.  (If you are using fresh buttermilk, change measurements to 3/4 cup water and 3/4 cup buttermilk.) Next, I added 2 tablespoons, each, of olive oil and dark honey.  Following the author’s suggestion, I next added 3 cups of bread flour, followed by 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon gluten, 1/2 cup instant potato flakes and 2 teaspoons SAF yeast.

I am using the basic cycle and medium crust setting.  The cookbook mentions that the dough ball, when tested, should be nicely formed, slightly sticky and stiff.  The stickiness it to be expected so there is no need to add additional flour.  ( The potato flakes will continue soaking up moisture during the rises.)

There is another note in the cookbook that I would like to share.

“This loaf can be baked on the Quick Yeast Bread cycle since the potatoes encourage the yeast.  (See your manufacturer’s manual for guidelines for adjusting the quantity of yeast when using this cycle.)”

As a reminder, the above quote is referring to the “Quick YEAST Bread” cycle, which is not the same as a “Quick Bread” cycle.

The loaf cratered again, but that didn’t affect the flavor.  This bread has a dense, moist interior with a crunchy golden crust.  Flavor-wise, it nicely combines honey sweet with buttermilk tang.

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Country White Bread page 48, April 8, 2015

Today is the first day of my experiment (project is a better word.)  I am making all the recipes in Beth Hensperger’s “The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook.”  Bread, white flour bread at least, is one of the things I can eat without causing my Crohn’s symptoms to act up. I know I will have to time this to make any whole grain/nutty type loaves when I have company coming, so I can send it home with them.  I am excited to start this out, though.  Lord   knows, I love me some fresh baked bread.  Obviously, I am not on the gluten-free bandwagon.  (People with Celiac Disease, you have my sincerest sympathy, the rest of you, get a grip.)  The house is going to smell incredible; I only wish I could share that with you. I won’t wax poetic too much, I promise, but for today, I want to include the following:

I am using an Oster model 5838 bread machine. The purists out there may be rolling their eyes at me for not baking my bread by hand, but we have this incredible (and easy to clean) technology available, and I want to see what I can make happen with that.  There may be times along this route that I use my machine to make the dough, but then shape by hand and bake in the oven.  For the most part, this will be almost exclusively using the bread machine, though.  Oh dear, it already smells great.  The cookbook provides instructions for making each recipe as a 1 ½ or 2 pound loaf.  I will be sticking to the 1 ½ pound loaves, provided this is mostly for my consumption here at home, and I want to avoid waste. (Although leftover bread crumbs tossed in the yard will please local birds, and my birdwatching kitties.) Back to today’s recipe; the recipes in this book call for the addition of vital wheat gluten.  I am using Bob’s Red Mill brand gluten.  Gluten is not usually a required addition for bread baking at home, the gluten naturally found in flour is enough, but the author recommends adding it to help the loaves rise and “yield a better loaf.”  If you plan to do a lot of baking, you can store your gluten in the cupboard, in an airtight container, however, it will keep better in the fridge or freezer.  Other ingredients include water, light olive oil, sugar, bread flour, instant potato flakes, nonfat dry milk, salt and yeast. Her recipes calls for SAF or bread machine yeast.  I will be using SAF in the future, but today I am using up the last of my Fleishmann’s

Well, this is not an auspicious start, lol.  I just peeked in the window on top of the machine and there is a good chance I will end up with “crater bread.”  That is when the top of the loaf is sunken.  I could either scrap this entry and start again tomorrow, or own up to my less than perfect loaf and look for possible reasons.  As it turns out, the main reason for a crater loaf is too much liquid in the recipe.  I own the mistake completely.Country White Bread  I have always been more of a “that looks about right” girl when it comes to measuring my ingredients.  I think if I really want to bake a great loaf of bread, I need to be precise.  Baking is a science and I can’t forget that.  I am not done yet, my top may have sunk, but my optimism has not. The house still smells awesome and the bread hasn’t finished baking yet.

Other than the sunken top, this bread turned out great.  It tastes incredible.  The crust is slightly crunchy and the texture of the bread has just a little chew.  I had a slice warm from the machine with a little butter, then put a slice in the toaster and had it with spiced apple butter.  It is not overly salty or sweet, just your standard white bread.  I am thinking of grilled shFirst Slicearp cheddar cheese on Country White with tomato soup for dinner; maybe some French Toast for breakfast tomorrow. . .