Recently we had a bout of cool, stormy, spring weather. Cool weather always makes me hunger for homemade bread, particularly sourdough bread. And since my foodie grand-daughter and I had recently made a beautiful batch of sourdough carrot bread, the starter was bubbling away waiting for a new creation.
There are a few breads that I make over and over; Sourdough Oatmeal and Greek Country Bread come to mind. But usually I like to experiment and try something new. So this time it was light sourdough potato bread. Like most potato breads, this one was soft and moist but it also had a nice crusty surface. The sourdough starter added tangy flavor that usually isn’t present in potato bread.
There are many ways to make a sourdough starter. I personally prefer to use the method found on my website Make Your Own Sourdough Starter. Over the years Mother Earth News has published several articles about making your own sourdough starter, including Creating Homemade Sourdough Bread From a Starter Mix, and a previous blog post, A Beginner’s Guide to Sourdough. No matter which method is used, your starter will eventually be populated with the local wild yeasts found in your particular geographical area. You may start with a dried starter purchased on your San Francisco vacation, but after a few weeks that starter will be less San Francisco sourdough and more Peoria sourdough or Austin sourdough. That isn’t a bad thing. San Francisco may be famous for their sourdough breads, but I guarantee that your bread will be delicious too.
1. Peel and dice the potato. Boil until tender. Drain and reserve ¾ cup of the cooking water.
2. Mash the potato and let cool to room temperature.
3. In a large bowl or a stand mixer bowl combine the cooled potato, butter, cooled cooking water, and sourdough starter.
4. Stir in the flours and salt. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes, adding more flour if necessary to prevent excess sticking. The dough should be soft and somewhat sticky. Be careful not to add too much additional flour, you only want enough to make the dough manageable.
5. Form dough into a ball, place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, 2-4 hours. Gently deflate dough, shape, cover and let rise another hour.
Note: I shaped my loaf into a round and let it rise in a brotform, but it will work well in a traditional loaf pan too. The soft dough does need some sort of structure though, so it will not work well to let it rise in a free-form shape.
6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Slash the top of the loaf and bake on a hot stone for 40 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 205 degrees.
7. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!
Renee Pottle is an author, Family and Consumer Scientist, and Master Food Preserver. She writes about canning, baking, and urban homesteading at Seed to Pantry.
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