I finished my first challenge (yay)

My first challenge was: TENDER POTATO BREAD

Well, the secret may be out already. My new group of friends; those crazy guys and gals that have won over my heart and my kitchen; a contributing factor to why I've been baking like a mad-woman lately is... ... THE DARING BAKERS.

I first started seeing the amazing creations that this group flooded Blogger with back in August. I innocently stumbled onto a page with the most amazing photographs of food. I think at that time the monthly challenge was cinnamon rolls and sticky buns. Oh.... I'm a sucker for sweet bread of any kind. Three months later I could hardly hold back my desire to want to be apart of this group.

As a November newbie I couludn't wait to participate in my first challenge. So much in fact that I think I finished up way back in the beginning of the month. Anyhoot, I'm truly excited at the level that my baking skills are about to increase too. Stay tuned for those amazing photographs of our monthly challenges. I'm off.

So, this was my second attempt at working with yeast (the first time being with those buns above). I don't think I can even begin to describe the stick-i-ness that this dough created. The closest thing I could compare it to is if you'd pop a whole pack of Big League Chew into your mouth; spit it out onto the counter and attempt to form some kind of pastry out of it.

4 hours later and sans 1 cup of the recommended 6 1/2 - 8 1/2 cups of flour. The recipe is below, given to us by our lovely Tanna. Thanks again for challenging my SKILLS! :)

Here are my rolls:

...and here is my loaf:

Tender Potato Bread
(from Home Baking: The Artful Mix of Flour & Tradition Around the World by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid; who also wrote Hot Sour Salty Sweet)
Daring Bakers Challenge #13: November 2007

Host: Tanna (My Kitchen in Half Cups)
Post Date: Monday, November 26

Makes 1 large tender-crumbed pan loaf AND something more; one 10X15 inch crusty yet tender foccacia, 12 soft dinner rolls, or a small pan loaf

Allowed Modifications for Unleashing Your Daring Baker :

You must follow the recipe as written until you get to shaping the bread.
This bread must be savory and not sweet.
You must knead by hand (medical exception allowed)
You can not use a biga, sponge, or starter method.
Recipe ingredient exception allowed only if allergy or an ingredient not available or cost prohibitive in your region.
You may shape this dough anyway you would like: as a loaf, as rolls, as focaccia. You can braid it, twist it whatever.
You may season this bread in any way you see fit: maybe it becomes your turkey stuffing. Maybe you season some sandwich bread for great turkey sandwiches.
You can fill it if you think that will work for you. Think calzone or anything with a savory filling. Again however it must be savory and not sweet.

Suggested Toppings:

For Loaves and Rolls: melted butter (optional)

For Foccacia: olive oil, coarse salt, and rosemary leaves (optional; also see variation)

For Anchovy-Onion Focaccia: Instead of oil, salt, and rosemary, top with onions slow-cooked in olive oil or bacon fat, a scattering of chopped anchovy fillets, and flat-leafed parsley leaves.

Alternate fillings, seasons, shapes are up to you.

Some additional notes about this challenge, recipe and the dough:

If you are new to bread and already your whisks are shaking (or is that your boots), you may bake the bread (or one of it’s variations) just as written.

There are no pictures. I give you the recipe. I cannot give you a photo or drawing of the recipe because that part is yours. That being said there are lots of pictures of other bread recipes that will provide great ideas for you if you decide to unleash that aspect of this recipe.

Potatoes and potato water give this bread wonderful flavor and texture. The dough is very soft and moist and might feel a little scary if you’ve never handled soft dough before. But don’t worry: Leaving it on parchment or wax paper to proof and to bake makes it easy to handle.

Once baked, the crumb is tender and airy, with tiny soft pieces of potato in it and a fine flecking of whole wheat. The loaves have a fabulous crisp texture on the outside and a slightly flat-topped shape. They make great toast and tender yet strong sliced bread for sandwiches. The dinner rolls are soft and inviting, and the focaccia is memorable.

I have chosen this recipe because it gives directions for different ways of shaping the dough and provides oven times and temperatures for those variations.

Some Notes about Flour:
King Arthur Artisan Organic All-Purpose Flour is fairly new in the markets in the US now and is advertised to be best for making European-style hearth breads with a protein level of 11.3%

Conversion Chart for yeast:
1 oz/ 1 Tablespoon of fresh yeast = 0.4 oz/ 1.25 teaspoon active or instant dry yeast = 0.33 oz / 1 teaspoon instant or rapid rise (bread machine) yeast. Reference: Crust & Crumb by Peter Reinhart

Link to online conversion chart for converting recipes from Imperial to Metric: Cooking Conversion Online (http://www.convert-me.com/en/convert/cooking)

Remember, being a Daring Baker is about trying new recipes, techniques and taking risks. It’s reaching just beyond your comfort zone.

This is a Daring Baker Challenge, not a contest and not a competition because at its heart and soul is support and sharing the how to of the baking we do.

Challenge Recipe:

Metric measurements are from the European edition. Thank you Linda (Linda.kovacevic.nl) 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) – stir well before testing the temperature – 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.

Check out what the rest of our fabulous and fierce bakers are up to, the Daring Baker Blogroll.


Nanette said...

That's awesome!

WeezerMonkey said...

You are totally Baker Smurf!

glamah16 said...

Welcome to the DB's. Great job on your first challenge. I look forward to seeing more of your creations.

Claire said...

Congratulations on finishing your first challenge! Your rolls looks great and the loaf so tender!

Dharm said...

Congrats and welcome to the DBs! YOur loaf looks just great.

Foodie Froggy said...

Just one word : bravo !!

KayKat said...

Am with you about King Arthur's flours - way better to work with than anything else!

Peabody said...

Wonderful job on your first challenge.

Annemarie said...

Well done on taking on yeast for your first challenge - it looks great.

BC said...

Welcome to the Daring Bakers! We're all a little crazy with each assignment and it's so much fun.

Inne said...

Well done on your first DB challenge, the loaf and rolls look great!

Sparky said...

Your rolls & bread look fantastic, I can't wait for next month!

Suzanne said...


slush said...

You did a great job! Big league chew! I havent thought about that in years. Good stuff.

Grats on your first challenge! xo

Michelle said...

Great Job and welcome to the group!

Butta Buns said...

I love the Big League Chew analogy, it's perfect! Your bread and rolls look wonderful, I bet you got some generous pieces out of the loaf too.

Dianne's Dishes said...

Congrats on your 1st challenge! It was fun wasn't it? :)

Gretchen Noelle said...

Great job with your first challenge! And it is fabulous that you are getting more experience with yeast!

Half Baked said...

Great job on your first challenge!

Jes said...

Looks fab! Great 1st challenge!

joey said...

Welcome to the Daring Bakers :) Good job on your first challenge!

cookworm said...

Lovely job from one newbie to another! I can definitely relate with the hard-to-hold-back excitement to join. :)

chou said...

It's great to see other newbies. :) BTW, I absolutely love the title of your blog.

R said...

Congrats on your challenge and your baking bad assed-ness. ;)

Tarah said...

It looks wonderful! Congrats on your first challenge as well! :]

Bruno said...

Great job on your breads Iisha and
welcome to The Daring Bakers!!

Deborah said...

Great job on your first challenge!! They look wonderful!

Merav said...

Great job! Looks delicious!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Great looking rolls and lovely loaf. I'm so happy you joined the group and "stuck" with this challenge. Welcome!!
What's coming our way in December? Not bread I bet.

Tartelette said...

I love the look of your breads. You did an awesome job on your first challenge! We make us porud, keep them coming!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the nice comment you left at my blog. I appreciate it. Next time I do this recipe I'm going to try the rolls just like you :) They look wonderful!

Kevin said...

Great job on your first DB challenge!

Christina said...

Welcome to the DBers and congrats on your first challenge! I, too, look forward to expanding my baking skillz.

Christina ~ She Runs, She Eats

Dhivya Karthik said...

Nothing like the "firsts". Your rolls luks so wonderful.

Angel said...

Your bread looks awesome.
I think your chewing gum analogy completely accurate too lol.

Sheltie Girl said...

I wish your pictures would have loaded...it would have been really nice to see how your bread turned out. Congratulations on finishing your bread!

Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

April said...

Great job on completing your first challenge! Welcome to the group!

Jen Yu said...

Gooooooooal!!!! You did it! And it looks fantabulous. Welcome to the Daring Bakers and I'm looking forward to seeing more of your successes!

-jen at use real butter

countrygirlcityliving said...

Congratulations on your first challenge. From the looks of it you were extremely successful =) Can't wait to see whats next!

Elle said...

Wonderful first challenge...imagine being done so early in the month...I should try that :). Your rolls look fantastic and the loaf appropriately rustic. glad you are a Daring Baker!

Shayne said...

I am so happy that you joind the group and I am sure that you will love it. I do and this was only my third month. the part I hate is having to wait those few days for the new challange.

Alice Q. said...

Veddy nice - welcome and congrats on your 1st challenge!!

Lesley said...

Really nice job!! I want a slice!

Fruit tart said...

Nice job with the challenge. I love your rolls!

LizG said...

Great looking bread! Well done on your first challenge! Welcome to the DB community.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Congratulations on your first successful challenge! Great looking bread!



Kelly-Jane said...

Welcome to the DBs! great job on your first challenge :)

Julie said...

Congratulations on your first challenge! Your rolls and loaf look tasty! I don't think I'll ever look at Big Lew Chew the same way, though. Yikes! =)

Aoife said...

Ha, your gum metaphor is dead on. Your bread looks great though. Welcome to the Daring Bakers!

creampuff said...

Congratulations on your first DB challenge! You did a great job!

Andrea said...

Oh your bread looks so good! Congrats on your first challenge, and welcome to the Daring Bakers!

Dolores said...

Welcome, and congratulations. You did a *wonderful* job with your first challenge. Looking forward to baking with you through whatever challenges are thrown our way...