Potato Bread (and Cinnamon Rolls!)
The potato bread is the perfect American-style white bread, in my book - and it makes so much dough that you have to use 1/3 of it to make cinnamon rolls! These are super yummy (tender and soft, as cinnamon rolls should be, not hard and crusty, as yeast-raised cinnamon rolls often are in this flawed world of ours.)
We had meatloaf and mashed potatoes last night, and I made extra potatoes on purpose to make this bread. It's the homemade equivalent to the Pepperidge Farm white - tight crumb, tender, a bit sweet. The recipe is from Ellen Foscue Johnson's The Bread Book: A Baker's Almanac.
Farmhouse Potato Bread
1 cup milk
1 stick butter
1 cup warm mashed potatoes
1/3-1/2 cup honey
1 1/2 tbs dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (preferably potato water)
1/2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp salt
6-7 cups unbleached bread flour
1/4 cup wheat germ (optional)
1 egg for the glaze
Bring the milk to a boil in a large saucepan; Remove from heat and stir in butter, mashed potatoes, and honey. Let cook to lukewarm.
Proof yeast in the potato water with the 1/2 tsp honey. Add the lukewarm potato mixture, and the ginger, eggs, and salt and beat well. Add 2 1/2 cups of flour and beat at least 2 minutes in the KitchenAid. (I use the paddle for this, then switch to the dough hook for the next bit.)
Gradually add more flour, as much as it takes to make a workable dough. (This dough will remain a bit tacky b/c of the richness; don't over-flour it. It won't be exactly sticky, but VERY elastic and soft.) Turn out and knead till smooth.
Raise till doubled in a greased bowl. Punch down, let rest 10 minutes, and divide into three. Form 2 of the pieces into loaves and place in greased loaf pans; roll the last out into a rectangle, smear with ample softened butter and load up with sugar and cinnamon (and chopped nuts, if you swing that way.) Roll into a log (jelly-roll style) and cut into spirals; lay into a greased 9 inch cake pan. (I also drizzle with additional melted butter at this point, b/c my sugar and cinnamon are all dry and sprinkle-y.)
If it's now late and you're tired, bung the pans into the fridge and allow to rise overnight. If you do this, definitely brush the tops of the rolls with melted butter first and cover all pans with greased plastic wrap. If you didn't do this after dinner like a dumbass, press on! Preheat the oven to 425 for the rolls and let them rise on top of the stove (you want them to bake first.) Set the loaves aside in a cooler spot in the kitchen to rise more slowly.
When rolls are doubled, bake for about 20-25 minutes, till golden on top. They'll still be tender and soft, not crusty, so look for the browning. Pull them out and turn them out onto a plate while still hot, so the gooey bits underneath don't harden and stick to the pan. They're the best part!
Lower the oven temp to 350 and bake the loaves for about 30 minutes, again till golden on top. In last 5 minutes of baking, brush tops with an egg wash. Cool on racks and eat - delicious toasted with butter, makes fabulous tomato sandwiches or BLTs - it's sort of brioche-like. Yum!!