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Will Starr Bakes Bread
Will’s potato French bread, using a stand mixer and a dough hook
Note: This is my own recipe worked up from several others. It's a moist, chewy French bread with a medium hard crust. It keeps well for several days. We usually use one loaf and freeze the other.
2 medium potatoes
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups reserved potato cooking water
6 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon corn meal
1 egg white
I tablespoon water
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Peel and dice potatoes. Cook in water until very tender. Pour off cooking liquid and reserve 2 cups (Add plain water if needed to make two cups). Mash potatoes and then add the reserved two cups of liquid, and the salt. Using a whisk, whip mashed potatoes, salt, and potato water until well blended. Allow to cool to lukewarm. Stir in yeast, and pour in mixer bowl.
Add two cups of flour, one at a time and blend well with mixer beater.
Replace beater with dough hook. Add remaining 4 cups of flour, one cup at a time with mixer set on lower speeds to keep flour from coming out of the bowl. As added flour becomes moistened, increase speed.
After final cup is worked in, put mixer on medium speed and allow dough hook to work until mixture pulls the flour mixture off the sides and bottom of the bowl. (Be patient...it will happen!) Allow to work for about two more minutes on the dough hook.
When done, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead a dozen times. Shape into a ball and place in a large, greased bowl, turning once to grease all sides. Cover and let rise until doubled in a warm place.
Punch dough down and divide in half. Let rest for ten minutes. Using a floured roller, roll each half into a large rectangle and then roll up from one of the long sides. Fold under slightly and seal the ends.
Grease a cooking sheet with shortening. Dust lightly with corn meal and place the two loaves on the sheet. Brush the tops with a mixture of one egg white and a tablespoon of water. With a sharp knife, cut three shallow, diagonal marks on the top of each loaf. Cover and allow to double in size - about 45 minutes.
Place loaves in oven and bake for 20 minutes. Take out and brush tops again with egg white mixture. Return to oven and bake an additional 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool on racks.
Places like Sam’s Club sell bulk bread flour in 25 pound sacks for around $8, and they also sell bulk yeast for around $5, making a loaf of this bread cost around 50 cents.
Someone asked me about cowboy skillet bread, so here it is:
1 cup of flour
1 Teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 Teaspoon salt
Combine dry ingredients and mix well. Add just enough water to form a stiff dough.
It can be cooked two ways:
1) Flatten dough into a circle. Brown slightly on both sides and then bake close to the campfire coals until it sounds hollow when tapped.
(Cowboys loved bacon, so they carried a side with them, slicing off what they wanted to eat. They saved the grease, and used it for things like this next method) :
2) Fry flattened dough in hot bacon grease until golden brown. Flip and fry remaining side the same way.