I’ve never met a potato I didn’t like. Or a good old starchy carb for that matter. Roasted in olive oil, baked, cracked open and smothered in butter, mashed into a velvety puree, grated into a rosti, simply boiled and anointed with a dab of butter and some fresh herbs…the list goes on and on.
I put my love affair with the potato on hold for an entire year in the run up to my wedding – it was the worst year of my life! Cauliflower mash and courgetti just doesn’t quite cut it for me. I have since been reunited with carbs, but sometimes wonder if it was the prolonged absence of carbohydrates in my diet that prompted my career change. In 2019 I quit my job as a solicitor and opened a microbakery (admittedly the birth of my first daughter probably had something to do with this decision too!). If you are reading this blog post then you probably know that I now make artisan breads to order and my customers collect them from my house on a Friday afternoon. I also run day workshops teaching people how to get started in the wonderful world of bread making! It is rewarding and fulfilling and I enjoy it immensely.
My weekly menu changes every week and I try to keep it varied and interesting by researching different flavour combinations. In conducting this research I realised that there are a surprising number of recipes out there for breads that contain potato. At first glance I was sceptical: could these two, wonderful, serotonin-inducing foods really make a good match for each other? After a few trial runs and a lot of taste testing (just to be sure you understand), I can tell you that the humble potato and the mighty loaf are a match made in heaven.
What makes this pairing work so well? Well firstly, the addition of potato to bread dough makes for a softer, fluffier crumb. This is because potato starches attract more water than wheat starches and help to create a greater moisture content in the bread. This has the added benefit of stopping the loaf from going stale quite so quickly. From a health perspective, a potato loaf has additional fibre and potassium. The extra potassium also causes the yeast to work at a faster rate, giving a quicker rise and a lighter bread. It’s a winner on so many fronts!
If you like the sound of a double-carb extravaganza, then I have a few suggestions for you:
- Garlic, potato, marscapone pizza – top your favourite pizza dough with a white base made from mixing together a little marscapone, crème fraiche, crushed garlic, black pepper and finely grated parmesan cheese. Top with cooked potato, sliced about 5mm thick, and grate a little more parmesan over the top.
- Roast potato loaf – if you have any leftover roasties (much like leftover wine, this almost never happens in our house), roughly chop and mix into your favourite bread dough (sourdough or otherwise), about ⅔ of the way through the kneading process. Bake as usual.
- Potato topped focaccia – slice cooked new potatoes into ½ cm rounds, and scatter on top of a focaccia dough. Drizzle with olive oil and scatter some freshly chopped rosemary and sea salt flakes over the top. Bake as usual. I may try this one out on my customers soon!
- Mashed potato loaf – follow the recipe here, or, if you are local to Flackwell Heath and would like to buy one of mine, keep an eye on the Weekly Menu, I will be putting it on in the near future!
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.