Roast Potato Bread by Jeffrey Hamelman

Roast Potato Bread Jeffrey HamelmanPotato, almond meal, rice, tree-bark, many other foodstuffs besides grains, get added into bread. This has a historical precedent; when times are hard and wheat expensive, it is common practice to bulk out the dough with a locally available and probably cheaper ingredient.

This bread is a reminder of those times according to Jeffrey Hamelman. It’s a good idea to keep these thoughts in mind;  climate change will bring many changes to the grains we have available to bake with and the way the world thinks about food.

Some quick notes on this bread:

I chopped the potato up, skin and all into 1 cm cubes, and roasted them in a shallow dish in the minimum of olive oil for about 25 minutes while I was cooking something else in the oven.

I added at least another 50  grams of water as my flour was very thirsty and the dough was very tight when I first mixed it.

All was going well and then I had to go out, so I put the dough in the fridge after the first hour at room temperature.  Three hours later I returned, and rescued the dough. I  flattened it out gently and folded it. After half an hour I divided it into two portions, rounded them up and popped the dough into bannetons which I left in a warm spot in the kitchen.

Life intervened again and when I finally came back to the kitchen two hours later they were well and truly risen, so I baked them as soon as the oven was up to temperature. They didn’t appear to be overproved, the slashes opened and they rose nicely in the oven. I loved Abby’s pattern on her loaves so I thought I’d try and do that.

These loaves had very thick crusts, which surprised me a little, given all the steam and were quite difficult to cut the first day. By the following day, the crusts had softened and the bread had developed more flavour and we are still eating our way through them happily this weekend.

Roast Potato Bread CrumbStrangely I can’t really taste the potato as a separate taste, it adds something but I can’t describe it. One can see the great colour the roast potato lends to the loaf , plus it adds a sort of unctuous chewy mouthfeel as well, something like crumpets but not as sticky.


And today, Sunday, three days after I baked it, the sun has come out and look how lovely it looks still:

The sun has got his hat on!

Other Mellow Bakers who have tried this bread so far this month – and they all seem to really like it too – are :

If you would like to have a go, the other bakers have written out the formula on their blogs so no need for me to do that here, as I didn’t do anything different!

And after this I really have to face the braiding of the challah – watch this space.

Mellow Baking – Every Way OK.

11 thoughts on “Roast Potato Bread by Jeffrey Hamelman

  1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

    On the subject of tree-bark Celia in case you are interested :) I was thinking of Sweden and the bread they made in the terrible famines in the 17th & 18th centuries. I was told about them in the outdoor museum (Skansen) in Stockholm by a bread maker who was demonstrating bread making and it always stuck in my mind. That bread must have been very bitter!

    Reference here and here a recipe from a Finnish site

  2. heidi

    Those are beautiful- just stunning.
    The Amish here in the USA make a lot of potato rolls.
    They are rather dense, wet and not really big on flavor- but they look NOTHING like those lovely crusty loaves!
    I put potatoes in hot cross buns- I think I’ll give this a try later this week.
    Thanks for posting a picture and directions on how to find the recipe!

  3. Choclette

    Absolutely stunning loaves Joanna, you’ve slashed them so evenly, they are a delight to look at. I’ve made potato bread before, but never with roasted potatoes, what a splendid idea. Lets just hope times don’t get so desperate that we need to resort to tree bark – eek!

  4. Andrew

    Lovely loaves. Gonna try those slashes.

    Phil Joy makes this bread Joanna. He made it when he came to bake with me for a day and was delighted when they sold out within an hour and a half!

    A x

  5. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

    @ Heidi they can be wet, I think the answer is to control the amount of water when you mix the dough, remembering that the potatoes also have moisture which they will add. Having said that I added water…

    @ Choclette – thanks! The roasted skins add a nice bit of texture to the dough and colour too!

    @ Andrew – I think people like the words ‘roast potato’ so add it to bread and they are predisposed to like it (am I being cynical here?) I was surprised how well they worked. I used a serrated knife this time, the second one was the one with five slashes – starting closer in to the centre of the dough, I liked that one better. Thanks for the nice words :)

  6. cityhippyfarmgirl

    I’ve got potato bread to be done for this week too!
    Beautiful slashing Joanna. My grandmother grew up on a lot of potato bread. Like you said, when times were hard, it was a good substitute. (Depression era.)

  7. drfugawe

    Years ago, when I was buying commercial rolls and freezing them, I discovered that potato rolls did much better in the freezer than did the regular rolls, which seemed to fall apart when frozen. And I’m convinced that potato changes the texture of a bread and softens it – I think it also helps to soften the crust. So I often add sev Tbs of dry potato flakes to my rolls now – it doesn’t take much.

    Those breads are very pretty! If they were mine, I think I’d have trouble cutting into them – but, I never have that problem.

  8. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

    @ Brydie thank you for that – I don’t know remember ever seeing potato bread as a child – might have been where I lived. I never came across it till I started baking my own bread.

    @ Drfugawe I think you are right on the potato softening bread trick, it seems to extend its keeping qualitites too. The reason for taking the photos is so that you get to have your bread and eat it. The blog helps with that :)

  9. azélias kitchen

    Oh I love the look of this bread, the shape you made, the look of the crust and the crumb has a sort of nutty attractive look about it. I first had potato bread in Raymond Blanc’s restaurant along with friends and the whole table fell in love with that potato bread, we were bad mannered enough to keep asking for more of it! It wasn’t roasted potato as the bread was very white. Like you none of us could detect the taste of the potato but there was certainly something about it we loved, it tasted ‘more’ than the other breads if that makes sense. The crust of it too was lovely and crisp.

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Thanks Azelia! You can make potato bread with uncooked potato or with mashed potato. Dan L has a lovely recipe called potato stotties in the HandMade Loaf for a big potato muffin that I think is wonderful and that is a very white bread.

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