You say Potato, I say Daring Baker Challenge….

I have a gift.
A gift for killing food scales.
Not sure why I have this gift, but I am out 5 food scales in the last 3 years alone. Now a days most things are written in cups and tsp, etc and so I held off on buying a food scale this time around. But when I saw that we were making potato bread, and that I need ounces of potato I browsed and found one. This time around UPS helped me out and my food scale came to me mutilated and in pieces. Well crap I thought. I was already to make potato bread and even planned my meal to include it. So I decided I would make it anyway.
What was my solution. Well, I stood on my scale holding an empty bowl. I have one of those scales that tells you not only weight, but body fat(oh the horror!), how much water is in your body and so on. So after I weighed myself I went and added some mashed up potato to the bowl and re-weighed myself…till I “gained” a pound. :) It worked. So I sent back my food scale and didn’t get another one yet…the holidays are no time to kill things.
This is a good, straightforward recipe that Tanna of My Kitchen in Half Cups found for us, the Daring Bakers that is. I think if you are not a bread baker and even a little fearful of yeast(you know who you are) should give this one a go around.

Tender Potato Bread

Challenge Recipe:

Metric measurements are from the European edition. Thank you Linda ( from Make Life Sweeter


4 medium to large floury (baking) potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks.
Tanna Note: For the beginner bread baker I suggest no more than 8 ounces of potato; for the more advanced no more than 16 ounces. The variety of potatoes you might want to use would include Idaho, Russet & Yukon gold, there are others.

4 cups(950 ml) water, reserve cooking water
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
6 ½ cups to 8 ½ cups (1 kg to 1350g) unbleached all-purpose
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (130g) whole wheat flour

Making the Dough (Directions will be for making by hand):

Put the potatoes and 4 cups water in a sauce pan and bring to boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt and cook, half covered, until the potatoes are very tender.

Drain the potatoes, SAVE THE POTATO WATER, and mash the potatoes well. Tanna Note: I have a food mill I will run my potatoes through to mash them.

Measure out 3 cups(750ml) of the reserved potato water. Add extra water if needed to make 3 cups. Place the water and mashed potatoes in the bowl you plan to mix the bread dough in. Let cool to lukewarm (70-80°F/21 – 29°C) ¢â¬â€œ stir well before testing the temperature ¢â¬â€œ it should feel barely warm to your hand. You should be able to submerge you hand in the mix and not be uncomfortable.

Add yeast to 2 cups all-purpose flour and whisk. Add yeast and flour to the cooled mashed potatoes & water and mix well. Allow to rest/sit 5 minutes.
Note about Adding Yeast: If using Active Dry Yeast or Fresh yeast, mix & stir yeast into cooled water and mashed potatoes & water and let stand 5 minutes. Then add 2 cups of flour to the yeast mix and allow to rest several minutes. If using Instant Dry Yeast, add yeast to 2 cups all-purpose flour and whisk. Add yeast and flour to the cooled mashed potatoes & water and mix well. Allow to rest/sit 5 minutes.
Sprinkle in the remaining 1 tablespoon salt and the softened butter; mix well. Add the 1 cup whole wheat flour, stir briefly.

Add 2 cups of the unbleached all-purpose flour and stir until all the flour has been incorporated.
Tanna Note: At this point you have used 4 cups of the possible 8 ½ cups suggested by the recipe.
Turn the dough out onto a generously floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, incorporating flour as needed to prevent sticking. The dough will be very sticky to begin with, but as it takes up more flour from the kneading surface, it will become easier to handle; use a dough scraper to keep your surface clean. The kneaded dough will still be very soft. Place the dough in a large clean bowl or your rising container of choice, cover with plastic wrap or lid, and let rise about 2 hours or until doubled in volume.

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead gently several minutes. It will be moist and a little sticky.

Forming the Bread:
Tanna Note: It is at this point you are requested to Unleash the Daring Baker within. The following is as the recipe is written. You are now free to follow as written or push it to a new level.

Divide the dough into 2 unequal pieces in a proportion of one-third and two-thirds (one will be twice as large as the other). Place the smaller piece to one side and cover loosely.
To shape the large loaf:
Butter a 9 x 5 x 2.5 inch loaf/bread pan. Flatten the larger piece of dough on the floured surface to an approximate 12 x 8 inch oval, then roll it up from a narrow end to form a loaf. Pinch the seam closed and gently place seam side down in the buttered pan. The dough should come about three-quarters of the way up the sides of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 35 to 45 minutes, until puffy and almost doubled in volume.

To make a small loaf with the remainder:
Butter an 8x4X2 inch bread pan. Shape and proof the loaf the same way as the large loaf.

To make rolls:
Butter a 13 x 9 inch sheet cake pan or a shallow cake pan. Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces. Shape each into a ball under the palm of your floured hand and place on the baking sheet, leaving 1/2 inch between the balls. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about 35 minutes, until puffy and almost doubled.

To make focaccia:
Flatten out the dough to a rectangle about 10 x 15 inches with your palms and fingertips. Tear off a piece of parchment paper or wax paper a little longer than the dough and dust it generously with flour. Transfer the focaccia to the paper. Brush the top of the dough generously with olive oil, sprinkle on a little coarse sea salt, as well as some rosemary leaves, if you wish and then finally dimple all over with your fingertips. Cover with plastic and let rise for 20 minutes.

Baking the bread(s):

Note about baking order: bake the flat-bread before you bake the loaf; bake the rolls at the same time as the loaf.

Note about Baking Temps: I believe that 450°F(230°C) is going to prove to be too hot for the either the large or small loaf of bread for the entire 40/50 minutes. I am going to put the loaves in at 450°(230°C) for 10 minutes and then turn the oven down to 375°F (190 °C) for the remaining time.

Note about cooling times: Let all the breads cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Rolls can be served warm or at room temperature.

For loaves and rolls:
Dust risen loaves and rolls with a little all-purpose flour or lightly brush the tops with a little melted butter or olive oil (the butter will give a golden/browned crust). Slash loaves crosswise two or three times with a razor blade or very sharp knife and immediately place on the stone, tiles or baking sheet in the oven. Place the rolls next to the loaf in the oven.

Bake rolls until golden, about 30 minutes. Bake the small loaf for about 40 minutes. Bake the large loaf for about 50 minutes.

Transfer the rolls to a rack when done to cool. When the loaf or loaves have baked for the specified time, remove from the pans and place back on the stone, tiles or baking sheet for another 5 to 10 minutes. The corners should be firm when pinched and the bread should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

For foccaia:
Place a baking stone or unglazed quarry tiles, if you have them, if not use a no edged baking/sheet (you want to be able to slide the shaped dough on the parchment paper onto the stone or baking sheet and an edge complicates things). Place the stone or cookie sheet on a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 450°F/230°C.

If making foccacia, just before baking, dimple the bread all over again with your fingertips. Leaving it on the paper, transfer to the hot baking stone, tiles or baking sheet. Bake until golden, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack (remove paper) and let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

To see what all the other Daring Bakers did…and there are a lot of them… head on over to the Daring Bakers Blog Roll.




  1. That crust is fabulous! Spraying/steaming makes such a difference.

  2. I am cracking up over you and the scale issue. Your bread looks wonderful!

  3. your bread looks so scrumptious i can just smell it !! the crust is amazing… how did you do that ??

  4. Ha – I love your weighing process! I don’t own scales, so I had to stand there with a handful of potatoes in one hand, a pound bag of onions in the other, and think “hmm…feels pretty close…”. The bread, by the way, looks little less than amazing.

  5. That bread is absolutely beautiful – you have a great gift :)

  6. That loaf is lovely; I can almost feel the crust crunching between my teeth!

  7. wow, this looks amazing!

  8. can’t say that I’ve ever used a food scale, but now I’m not so sure if I want to learn how ;0) your version of the potato bread, for this month’s DB challenge, looks delicious!! I DO have a fear of baking with yeast, but hopefully I’ll work up the courage to work with it!

  9. A scale and a candy thermometer…those are things I NEED! :-) I love the picture that focuses on the “crumb” at the front…so cool!

  10. Wow. That crust. I’m envious. Beautiful beautiful bread. And the story about the scale is hilarious. What dedication!

  11. I love love love love LOVE the rustic look of your bread. It looks incredible and that is SO creative with the scale. lol. I am thinking of getting a scale too to be more accurate in my baking recipes.

  12. Looks wonderful! So professional looking!

  13. I *love* the cracks! It looks so, so, so much better than mine came out. Maybe I could be inspired to do it a third time!

  14. Gorgeous loaf & I love your solution to weighing the potato. Poor food scales…they should stay away from your door.

  15. Your potato bread looks really good. Just look at the crispy crust!

  16. Peabody – Your bread is beautifully crusty and airy. Lovely job!

    Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

  17. That’s an interesting gift you have that makes you kill scales. What do you do to them? I love your story, though, and your loaf looks lovely.

  18. Wow! Let me bring the soup, then I will grab a chair and eat this beautiful bead up in 2.2!

  19. Wow! Maybe I should try this again – your loaf looks so wonderful…

  20. I officially want to eat your bread through my monitor. Great job. Wowser

  21. Your food scale story is so funny. I can just picture you standing on your weighing scales trying to gain a pound! And that bread looks just amazing!! Superb. But then, peabody, you never fail to amaze!

  22. Oh gosh…the texture of the crust and the colour makes me feel like stealing that bread from my monitor! Grats on making this fabulous challenge =)

  23. Hey – you’ve done this before, haven’t you? ;)

    I got tired of systematically going through the A’s, the Z’s, the B’s, the Y’s… and I jumped to your blog skipping a lot of C’s! Your bread looks great. I don’t know what you are doing with your kitchen scales that you’ve gone through five (okay four – the postal service is pretty talented, no?), but I’m glad that you have your trusty science training to measure your potatoes correctly.

  24. OMG! This looks so good! I just love to picture you on the scale holding that bowl! Too funny

  25. Wow, your bread looks amazing and your scale experiment obviously worked. Although why anyone would want to put themselves through the agony of knowing what their bodyfat was, ….

  26. I find the best way to get weighing scales to last is to buy a 1960’s one (or is it a pair?), with a cracked pan that has been mended and can’t be put in the dishwasher, from a bootsale or junk shop. It will constantly appear to be on the brink of collapse, but never actually tip over into being useless. And it may be red or brown or orange or some other fantastic retro colour.

    Have you tried getting on your person weighing scales with a pound of butter? Would be great to hear it start bleeping and getting all concerned for your heart…

  27. Oh man, your loaf looks so crusty and wholesome I just want to hack into it, slather it with butter and gobble it up. YUM.

  28. Oh my goodness! Bread-envy alert! That is exactly how I want my bread to look! :) How do you get it to look so artisanal-y? Picture perfect! And I bet it was out of this world delicious too :)

  29. The great advantage to standing on the scale is that you can drop a pound by dropping the bowl. Sigh, if life were just so easy!

  30. That crust looks fantastic! Honestly Peabody – I do believe your gift is baking!

  31. It is lunch time here and my mouth is watering – a slab of butter, some salt and cheese…Your bread looks wonderful…..However if I had a set of scales as evil as yours I would probably forgo the butter…

  32. For some reason I could only see your last photo, but it is enough to say your bread came out fab!

  33. What a beautiful loaf!

  34. Yet another sucessful challenge!

  35. Peabody,
    Your bread is so beautiful! It looks like it came from the bakery. Great job on the challenge! The scale fiasco is hilarious:)

  36. I love the crackly crust on your bread Peabody!

  37. What a great way you found to measure the potatos!!!
    Your bread looks like the italian breads we find here in Brazil!

  38. Do you have professional baker genes? What a great crust, and the inside looks perfect too. That’s a lot of scales to get through in 3 years.

  39. Bravo for the challenge, your bread looks beautiful!

  40. To digress for a brief moment, how exactly can a scale tell your body fat percentage? I’m guessing it’s a rough estimate?

    Okay, back to the bread! WOWzorz! That’s the most beautiful bread I have ever seen, the crust is brilliant! How did you form it and bake it? Because I guess I’m not reading your post thoroughly or something, my eyes hate me :(.

  41. Wow! Your bread looks simply stunning – crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside.

  42. I love how rustic and crisp it is, Pea. Beautiful.

  43. Your bread definitely look like it was made from a professional bakery! I loved your scale story, it made me laugh and feels like something I have done before.

  44. Your loaf looks lovely and fluffy in the interior. I love how crisp and rustic looking you got the crust.

  45. I love your way of measuring weight without scales ^__^ Hilarious

    That bread is STUNNING (as are the photos) and is making me hungry D= Definitely makes me want to have a go!

  46. Your bread is beautiful and also your pictures, but I think that your method of weighting the potatoes MUST win a prize, it is just SO smart *giggles* congratulations!!

  47. That is a fantastic loaf of bread! Just gorgeous.

  48. Your bread looks so beautiful–picture-perfect crumb! Smart improvisation to measure weights, too!

  49. What a gorgeous crust your bread has, Peabody!!! Absolutely perfect!

  50. Excellent! The photos, the post, the story about the scale!!! Your bread turned out great!

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