Monday, March 8, 2010

What's Taters?

To anyone who, like me, grew up in the era of Ebaum's World, AlbinoBlackSheep and the like, I both say hello and I'm sorry that I may have lodged this song/video back into your memory after you spent the last 5-6 years erasing it. You do have to admit, though, that as irritating as it may be, it is rather clever (not to mention catchy!), and how else could I have made myself a witty opener for this sourdough "semi-ciabatta" that's holey crumb gets it's tender texture and subtle flavour from the spud?

This bread, though originally intended to be a ciabatta loaf - low-rising, full of holes, with that distinctive sourdough tang, became more of a pancake for me in practice. Angie's blog (where I found the recipe) has many gorgeous shots of her loaf, which aside from looking a good deal more camera-ready than mine does, actually has a defined shape to it. Contrary to what my loaf wanted to think, I doubt "puddle" counts as a viable form. It's my fault, of course - so many articles and guides on creating ciabatta keep warning against adding flour, and so no matter how fluid my dough-batter was, I resisted the urge. By the time we actually got around to putting it in the oven, we had a rather interesting loaf-shaping form going on the baking sheet consisting of several other weighted roasting and loaf pans!

It's wasn't a lost cause in the end, though I highly doubt my mom will want me making ciabatta-style "wet doughs" anytime soon (not that I'm volunteering!). The tang is there, and the holes and even a delightfully soft crumb who's crannies still manage to hold onto bread dipping oils, honey drizzles and of course good old peanut butter. I've decided to share it with the rest of the YeastSpotting participants this week over at Susan's blog, too!

Crispy Crust Potato Loaf
Adapted from Dan Lepard via Angie's Recipes
Makes 1 loaf, 20 slices
313 g refreshed sourdough starter
310 g warm water
75 g warm, unsweetened soy milk (or whole milk)
19 g raw sugar
125 g unpeeled Russet potato, scrubbed well and grated  
625 g flour
15 g sea salt

  1. Combine all the ingredients (except salt) in a large bowl, stirring well with a wooden spoon to form a sticky ball.
  2. Continue to beat with the spoon for about 30 seconds.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to stand overnight in the fridge.
  4. The next day, remove the dough from the fridge and allow to stand at room temperature 1 hour.
  5. Beat in the sea salt well.
  6. Mist a countertop or wooden board with oil and scrape the mass onto it.
  7. With lightly oiled hands, shape into a rectangle about 8" x 15".
  8. Fold the short ends "letter-style" into the centre of the rectangle, then gently pat and stretch out into a rectangle (with opposite long/short sides) and repeat the letter folds.
  9. Cover with a clean towel and leave one hour at room temperature.
  10. Repeat the shape/fold/shape/fold technique, re-cover and leave for 1 1/2 hours.
  11. Repeat the shape/fold/shape/fold technique once more, re-cover and allow to rise 2 hours (or overnight in the fridge - remove in the morning and allow to rest 2 hours at room temperature before proceeding).
  12. Shape dough into a wide oblong and place seam-side up on a floured towel (or pour onto a floured towel lined sheet tray with a fortified "shaping guide" if its really wet!). Cover and allow to rise 4 hours.
  13. Preheat oven to 425F.
  14. Turn loaf onto a rimless baking sheet (seam will be on the sheet) and with a sharp knife or lame razor slash a single cut down the centre of the loaf.
  15. Bake 25 minutes on the lowest rack of the oven, then reduce the heat to 350F.
  16. Bake a further 35-40 minutes.
  17. Remove from the sheet immediately and cool on a wire rack.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 146.1
Total Fat: 0.6 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 80.4 mg
Total Carbs: 31.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.0 g
Protein: 4.2 g


  1. Hmm...interesting shape for ciabatta but the crumb looks pretty darned great! I'm sure it tasted gorgeous anyway :)

  2. The crumbs look very good....thank you for the shout-out!

  3. We bakers are too hard on ourselves. Ugly shape but did it taste good? I bet it did!! Mission accomplished! (Nobody knows what it looked liked after it is sliced).

  4. I love a good potato bread! The wet dough can be hard to work with, but the results are worth it.

  5. The crumb on that bread looks amazing! Love potato bread.


Thanks for the feedback!