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About making bread

I've come up with a bread recipe on gourmet.com and it requires a baking potato in addition to other baking ingredients. My question is, what is the difference if use just a regular potato? Will it make a difference on the taste? I would like to try this recipe but im afraid that I might not find that kind of potato.

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  1. What do you consider a "baking" vs. "regular" potato? In the US, the brown, thick skinned russet potato is probably considered both. It is a starchy potato that would probably be the most common type used in baking also. There are smaller waxy type potatoes that are common, but would usually be called "new" potatoes. Do they give you any idea of the volume of potato to use or is it just "1"?

    2 Replies
    1. re: WCchopper

      Well they did mention russet potato. Potatoes here in the Philippines are yellow colored inside. I've never heard of russet potatoes before, maybe it's not that common here in my country.

      1. re: Dark Wanderer

        Do your potatoes stay firm when they are cooked or are they "fluffy"? I honestly think (and if I'm wrong, someone else please weigh in) that you can probably use any potato as long as it is the correct volume. It might affect the moisture content a little, but that can probably be accounted for. What are you making?

    2. I assume they are looking for a starchy potato - one that cooks up dry and crumbly rather than moist and waxy. Most yellow fleshed potatoes (that I've had) are not the starchy variety. But as WCChopper said this may not be a huge issue - if it's a bit more moist you can just add a bit of extra flour. Bread dough is pretty forgiving.

      2 Replies
      1. re: lupaglupa

        This is the link that I like to try making
        http://www.gourmet.com/recipes/2000s/...

        How much flour should I add in replacement of the potatoes we have here?

        1. re: Dark Wanderer

          Oh, they're boiled- so it shouldn't matter anyway. Just use the 1/2 pound of your regular potatoes and drain them well after you cook them.

      2. Why bother with the actual potato? If you can't find potato starch or flour, then use dried potato flakes (aka instant mashed potatoes). Take the volume of potato required in your recipe, then calculate the amount of dried flakes needed to make an equivalent volume of mashed potatoes. In other words, if you need 2 cups of baking potato, figure out how much dried flakes will yield 2 cups of mashed potatoes. I keep Potato Buds in the fridge expressly for the purpose of bread-baking.

        27 Replies
        1. re: Hungry Celeste

          I see, thanks for the info. This will be my 1st time making bread so I hope I would do it right. I have another question, whats the difference if I use any kind of towel for rising the dough instead of kitchen towel? What I understand of kitchen towel is the sack like container used to contain flour in bigger amount.

          1. re: Dark Wanderer

            Any light weight towel will do just fine. I guess they specify a kitchen towel so that folks don't use a terry cloth bath towel or a tarp.

            1. re: todao

              Right, the important thing is that the towel not be terry-cloth, which has lots of little loops of thread sticking out from the surface. The dough could stick to the loops and make a big mess.

              1. re: aravenel

                yes, you just want to use a smooth towel that won't get fuzz in your dough or stick to the surface. if you don't have a suitable towel, you can oil a piece of plastic cling wrap and put the oiled side toward the dough. a well-laundered smooth pillowcase or jersey t-shirt also work well as impromptu pastry cloths.

                1. re: Hungry Celeste

                  Thanks, I think cling wrap will do just fine for me.

                  1. re: Dark Wanderer

                    If you're new to yeast breads, check out the King Arthur Flour website. It has a wealth of info: recipes, video lessons, step-by-step photo illustrated how tos, and a nice primer on yeast breads: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/tips/y...

            2. re: Dark Wanderer

              I use a very plain, no nubby or fuzzy towel. In fact I usually a dinner napkin.

              1. re: kchurchill5

                I've used inexpensive cotton handkerchiefs right out of the package.

              2. re: Dark Wanderer

                I use clean, elastic rimmed, plastic shower caps for covering bowls of rising dough. You can get a package of 10 or so very cheaply.

                1. re: Anonimo

                  I bring shower caps home from hotels - they are perfect.

              3. re: Hungry Celeste

                I can't speak for others but usually the reason I make potato bread (or sweet potato bread) is because I got some potatoes/sweets laying around that I want to use up before they get too old...

                1. re: jzerocsk

                  Sweet potato bread is awesom with a honey butter. I use 1/2 honey 1/2 butter and a dash of thyme and cinnimon.

                2. re: Hungry Celeste

                  I will try to find. Not home so I can search my computer but have a recipe for bread with potato flakes. Usually I use russet or a baking starchy potato. NOT waxy. They do not work as good. Red skin, fingerling are not of choice. and to me don't work as well. But I have only made 6-7 potato breads.

                  1. re: kchurchill5

                    Can I replace vegetable shortening with the same amount of butter?

                    1. re: Dark Wanderer

                      No, I don't either will work. Here is a simple recipe.

                      3 cups bread flour
                      1 1/4 cups water room temp (very important)
                      2 1/2 tablespoon sugar
                      3 tablespoons of butter
                      1 teaspoon salt
                      3 tablespoons potato flakes
                      1 1/2 teaspoons yeast, usually 1 small package

                      Add ingredients to bread machine pan per manufacturer's instructions.

                      1. re: kchurchill5

                        A single packet of yeast from the standard American three-packet strip contains a quarter ounce of yeast, which is 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast, quite a bit more than the 1 1/2 tsp called for in the recipe posted above.

                        1. re: Hungry Celeste

                          What's the difference between vegetable shortening and butter?

                          1. re: Dark Wanderer

                            My answers are failing to nest with the original question. I apologize. But here goes. Vegetable shortening is usually an oil derived from vegetable sources that is hydrogenated to increase its viscosity--that is to produce a grease instead of an oil--so it is full of polysaturated fats. There is some controversy about the use of these products for health reasons. Butter, on the other hand, is the butter fat with some additional water and milk solids derived from (usually) cow's milk. It has been attacked for its cholesterol content, but it is preferred by some over shortening for other health reasons and for its flavor. Ghee is clarified butter from which the water and milk solids have been removed. It has a long shelf life and a very high burning point, so it is favored especially in Indian cooking for searing meat. Olive oil is a mostly monosaturated fat, and I don't know anyone who has questioned its health benefits. All the same, I use butter in cooking in moderation and pork lard when I can find it. But I make sure that the lard is pure lard, without the addition of hydrogenated fat.

                      2. re: Dark Wanderer

                        Actually, you can use any lipid in a bread. They taste differently and behave slightly differently, but all give interesting results. I would prefer butter over vegetable shorteningt. I like olive oil and walnut oil. But there is no reason you couldn't use coconut oil or lard (which contains less cholesterol than equivalent amount of butter!). Still, I think you are safest, if you are new to bread baking, to follow the recipe rather exactly. But please don't worry about every detail. It's only flour and water and it is hard to make something you won't enjoy eating.

                        1. re: Father Kitchen

                          I see, coz I found a recipe that calls for vegetable shortening and im wondering if I could replace it with the same amount of butter instead since most of the recipe for bread calls for butter.

                          1. re: Dark Wanderer

                            NO, I have never had success ... but that is me.

                            1. re: Dark Wanderer

                              it may brown a little faster if you use bread rather than shortening, and the dough might be a little wetter (as butter has water in it, and shortening does not). The resulting texture will be a little diff. Do what bakers do: make a loaf with butter and a loaf with shortening, and figure out which one you like better. As the good father says, within certain parameters, it's hard to mess up an enriched loaf of bread.

                              1. re: Hungry Celeste

                                Has anyone tried this recipe?
                                http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...
                                I've tried it yesterday but it turned out really bad. It was hard and not moist like what others say. It came out to stiff that it was very hard to cut it with a knife. The tastes was awful as well, it came out very bland with a hint of beer I used. I did followed the recipe but did not get what I expected. What seems to be the problem?

                                I also tried making banana bread and it came really good compare with the 1st bread recipe. My question is how to cook the middle part of the bread. I mean, all parts are done except for the middle part which is kinda sticky like what it is before you put it in the oven. Should I decrease the temp and bake it longer?

                                1. re: Dark Wanderer

                                  Quick breads are entirely different animals from yeasted breads. The bread you've linked to is a quickbread, which gets its rise from chemical leavening (baking powder, in this case). I think that the temp called for is too high--generally, 300 to 350 is used for a much longer cooking period, rather than hot & fast. The center needs to set before the upper crust browns too much. At the very least, if baking the linked loaf at 375, you should probably tent it with foil toward the end of the cooking time.

                                  Other quick-bread tips: don't overmix. Mix dry ingredients together thoroughly, then quickly stir in the wet ingredients. Don't overstir, as it develops gluten in the flour, and you DON'T want gluten in a quick bread.

                                  1. re: Hungry Celeste

                                    Well I did mix it until all ingredients are incorporated after I put in the beer. What does gluten do anyway?

                                    1. re: Dark Wanderer

                                      Gluten is the protein net in the dough that forms the structure and traps gas so that the bread inflates like a huge pile of bubbles of dough. It is like the plymers in bubble gum. Your questions are good ones, but I think at this point you would do very well to get one of the very many good books on bread that are out there. Perhaps your library has them. Look for any of the following authors: Reinhart, Glezer, Hamelman, Silverton (for sourdough), Beranbaum, Ingram and Shaptner, Daniels, Thom Jaines, Thom Leonard or any book that takes time to describe the baking process before giving you recipes. Once you understand how gluten forms, the role of water and salt and yeast, and how milk, eggs, and lipids, and sweeteners affect the dough, you will find it very easy to follow any recipe. And as your understanding grows, you will find yourself baking without a recipe--that is you will work out proportions based on a few theoretical concepts and your own experience. It is only a little more complicated than knowing how to make a good omelet or really good scrambled eggs.

                              2. re: Dark Wanderer

                                There is an organic solid vegetable shortening. It's is not hydrogenated and has no transfats. All it is palm shortening which is naturally stable at room temperature so it looks and cooks the same as the bad stuff.
                                Whole foods has it and Cooks Illustrated recommended it.