Feedback: Potato Water Bread Recipe Plus More Recipes

Penny Young gives feedback on a potato water bread recipe article, then shares her own version of the recipe, breadmaking tips, and a carrot cake recipe.

| September/October 1975

  • Homemade bread
    I prefer to mix my leavening in a three-pound peanut butter jar, which holds just enough to raise four full loaves of bread.

  • Homemade bread

Regarding the potato water bread recipe in MOTHER EARTH NEWS NO. 24: I thought you might be interested in a slightly adulterated version . . . one my family of six enjoys very much.

Miriam Bunce, author of the original potato water bread recipe, suggests that the starter be made in a quart container. I prefer to mix my leavening in a three-pound peanut butter jar, which holds just enough to raise four full loaves of bread. (Should the starter sit too long, incidentally, it's best rejuvenated by the addition of one package of active dry yeast.)

On the eve of baking day, I pour all but one inch of the starter into a large mixing bowl — plastic, because this material helps the sponge to "cook" and the dough to rise faster and more evenly — and add two cups of water and four to five cups of white flour to make the sponge. (At this point only, it's necessary to use white flour for the elasticity provided by its high gluten content.) I then beat the mixture for two minutes with a wire whip so that it's smooth and free of lumps, and leave it to rest overnight.

The next morning I place in a large kettle or mixing bowl six to seven cups of white flour and one to one and a half cups of home-ground whole wheat flour (made by running hard, red winter wheat once through the fine grinder of a grain mill). I then add one cup of rolled oats and a half a stick of butter or margarine, and work in the shortening with a pastry blender (the job is less messy done this way than by hand!).

At that point I return to the waiting sponge and add to it one cup of honey and one and a half teaspoons of salt. The mixture is stirred well and dumped all at once into the bowl of flour. I then knead the mass for 20 to 30 minutes, adding flour or water as needed to form a soft dough . . . which is left to rise until double its original size. (Don't rush this first — and most important — rising, but don't let the dough stand longer than four to five hours.)

From here on the instructions are the same as those given in MOTHER EARTH NEWS NO. 24. We've found by trial and error that our revised method produces tastier and more nutritious bread and still keeps costs way down.

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