Mary Grace Quigley’s Squishy Potato Bread

This is the softest, squishiest bread I’ve ever made.

It is my version of ‘Kartoffelbrot’ which is common in Germany, where I lived for a number of years. Adding mashed potato to bread dough helps the bread to stay softer and fresher for longer.

Combined with a small amount of olive oil and honey it also adds a subtle, sweet, earthy flavor.

I like to buy extra potatoes and boil a larger quantity than what is necessary for the recipe. Then I measure out what I need for the loaf and I enjoy some delicious mashed potatoes while I finish making the bread.

My parents told me that this was their favorite, and they’ve tried so many of my loaves. This surprised me as this loaf has a relatively quick turnaround, compared to the sourdough that I often make which typically takes around 24 hours to be ready.

Usually for bread, speed equates to a loss of flavor, but thanks to the potato, that’s certainly not the case for this bread.

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Helpful equipment:

  • Cast iron pot (approximately 4L).
  • Kitchen scales.
  • Bread lame or a very sharp knife.

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Tips:

  • Feel free to use fresh thyme or a different kind of herb if you prefer. Rosemary is also a delicious option. Alternatively, you can leave the herbs out altogether for a simpler loaf.
  • You can substitute bakers flour with plain flourjust check the packaging to make sure it has at least 10g of protein per 100g of flour.
  • Avoid a flat loaf by giving your mashed potatoes time to cool at room temperature. If you use it while it’s still hot it might cause your bread to overdevelop, resulting in a flat loaf. You can also prepare the potato in advance and add it to your loaf at a later time.
  • If your dough ball spreads out a little after shaping, don’t stress. Even if it’s a little bit funny shaped, just plop it into the pot as best you can and it will still rise and taste good.
  • Never ‘folded’ bread dough? Check out the video in this recipe to watch the technique.
Don’t worry about the shape of your dough. It will still work if it spreads a little and will rise once baked in the pot. (ABC Everyday: Mary Grace Quigley)

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Ingredients

Method

  1. 1.Peel and wash the potato(s) and cut into pieces. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and boil for approximately 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft. You can poke one with a knife to test. Strain the water and then mash the potatoes. If a few small potato chunks remain, that’s okay. Measure out exactly 170g of mashed potatoes, set aside and allow it to come to room temperature (see tips above). You can now eat any leftover potato mash.
  2. 2.Once your mashed potato has cooled, in a separate mixing bowl, measure out the instant yeast and add warm water. Mix and wait for a couple of minutes. Then add the honey, oil, salt and thyme and mix again.
  3. 3.Add the mashed potatoes to the bowl and mix. Finally add the bakers and wholemeal flour and mix using a wooden spoon to form a shaggy dough. Once the dough has started to come together you can use wet hands to further combine the dough. Make sure there are no bits of dry flour. Then leave covered with a wet tea towel for 15 minutes.
  4. 4.After 15 minutes, do a couple of stretches and folds and then pick the dough up out of the bowl and use wet hands to stretch it out a little and fold it back into itself, gently smoothing it over a couple of times. See tips above for the technique. Then leave covered with a wet tea towel for a further 15 minutes.
  5. 5.After 15 minutes, again, pick up the dough out of the bowl and smooth it over with your hands, folding it under itself a few times (see tips above). You should notice it starting to become a more consistent, smoother dough and that some bubbles are forming. Leave covered with a wet tea towel for 30 minutes.
  6. 6.After 30 minutes your dough should be looking nice and bubbly and puffy. If it’s not, you can give it a little more time. Then smooth and fold it over one last time using wet hands and place the dough covered in the fridge for 45 minutes.
  7. 7.During the 45 minutes that the dough is in the fridge, preheat the oven to 240°C with a cast iron pot inside.
  8. 8.Once the oven has been heating up for 45 minutes, remove the dough from the fridge. Lightly wet your workbench and take the dough out of the bowl and set it down onto the bench, smooth side facing down. Pull in the edges of the dough towards the center, going around in a circle so that the dough gradually becomes a tight ball. Then flip the dough over and use your hands to shape it into a rounder, smoother ball. Sprinkle some flour over it so that it’s not sticky.
  9. 9.Prepare a loaf-sized piece of parchment paper. Place the dough onto the parchment paper. Cut a cross into the top of the dough, ideally using a bread blade with a sharp razor, but you can also use a very sharp knife or even make some cuts with scissors. Give the dough a few sprays of water using a small spray bottle (or if you don’t have one, you can flick water onto the dough using your hands).
  10. 10.Carefully take the cast iron pot out of the oven with oven mitts, it will be very hot. Plop the dough into the pot. Spray or flick some more water onto the loaf to create steam. Then put the lid back on and bake at 240°C for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn down to 220°C and bake for a further 25 minutes. Finally, remove the lid and continue to bake for 5–15 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and to your liking.
  11. 11.Allow your loaf to cool on a cooling rack. Let it cool completely before cutting. Enjoy as a perfect accompaniment to a winter hearty soup.

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