It's just leftover water from cooking peeled potatoes, plus sugar, plus flour and a bit of salt. The photo above shows a large batch but to get enough to make 4 loaves start with:
SOURDOUGH POTATO STARTER
- 2 cups of potato water
- 2 tsp of brown sugar
- 1/2 -1 tsp salt (nobody says you have to put this in either)
- 2 cups of all-purpose flour
Now I regret to say, this starter isn't the same one started by any ancestor of mine. It isn't even one I started back in 1970 something. This isn't 1848, so I don't have to act like it is. Okay? Of course if I want, I could keep it going for posterity by tossing it in the fridge and adding another cup of flour and cup of warm potato or plain water and a teaspoon of sugar every time I take from it.
But that always grossed me out...right up there with the 1,000 year old Chinese egg thing. I use up what I start and then start another.
SOURDOUGH POTATO BREAD
- 2 1/2 cups of starter from the above or your own recipe
- 1 tsp. brown sugar, 1st amount
- 1 Tbsp. yeast granules
- 2 1/2 cups potato water or plain water
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2nd amount
- 1 Tbsp. salt
- 4 scoopers all-purpose flour
Measure out 2 1/2 cups of the starter. Submerge this in some warm water in the sink to warm it up. The bread will come along much better if this is warm. Not HOT! Hot will kill the yeast.
After it's warmed, pour into a big mixing bowl and add a teaspoon of brown sugarand a tablespoon of yeast granules and set this aside. In a few minutes you'll see the yeast begin to bubble up.In a separate container, measure out the potato water, warm this up too.
Add the brown sugar and salt, mix
and pour this into the starter mix.
Whisk that together.
Begin to add the scoops of flour.
Stir in each scoop and mix. The mixture should form a soft doughy mass. This below is still far too wet.
Be careful to not add too much flour. If there is too much flour the mixture will form folds and you will have to add a bit of water. In all my years of bread making, twice, I've had to add more liquid because I added too much flour right off. It was nasty, very, very nasty trying to get that water mixed in. This below is about right.
Scrape the mixture onto a lightly floured work surface.
Place your hands around and under the edges of the dough keeping flour between your hands and the dough as much as possible and bring the edges up and over toward the center of the dough mass. Actually, at this point, it looks more like a dough mess. Gently draw the edges of the doughy mass inward and then start to knead by placing the palms of your hands at the top of the dough mass.
Fold the dough down over itself and then using your palms, push the dough away from you. A rhythm will begin. Pull down, knead, knead. Now the dough mass will have become somewhat horizontally rectangular. Turn the dough mass so that it is vertically rectangular and repeat the process of pulling the top toward you, knead, knead, turn. Pull down, knead, knead, turn. Repeat. Observe that the underpart of the dough mass will begin to smooth out and the part facing you will be sticky and rough looking. Keep the dough like this. Keep the wettish part always facing up toward you. And keep the dryer smoother side away from you next to the work surface. You'll get it.
It won't be very long and the dough will begin to firm up. Pay attention to the feel of the dough. If the outer surface feels sandy, there is likely enough flour. Stop and scrape the work surface throughout the kneading. Sieve the fine flour back into your flour bag and work the small bits left behind in the sieve back into the dough.
Add a little more flour if the dough feels quite sticky and readily sticks to the work surface and your hands. Pick up some more flour from the flour bag with your hand and sprinkle it on the work surface, rub your hands of the sticky bits back into the dough ball and keep kneading.
Feel it. The dough should feel soft, yet firm like your earlobe or the behind of a baby. This photo below shows the dough isn't quite ready...almost, but not quite. The texture isn't right. It looks too moon surface. It should be fairly smooth with very few tacky spots. Add a bit of flour to the work surface and keep kneading.
This photo below shows the dough is ready. The surface is smooth and it feels satiny. Oil the mixing bowl and place the dough ball into it first letting it slide around inside the bowl to coat itself with oil. Place the ball into the bowl, stickier side down, smooth side up. Place in the oven with the light on and door shut.
The dough below is ready to be formed into whatever shape loaves or buns you want. It has fully doubled it's size and I poked it to show how it has risen. The daylight was disappearing when I took this picture and I had other things to do than tinker with a light meter. Bad Decadent.
Don't PUNCH your dough. I've never understood that. It creates a messy surface bringing the tackier parts of the dough outward, is annoying to work with and looks bad when baked. Punch the person who says punch the dough.
With both hands slide your hands down and lift the dough up, it will begin to deflate.
Lift the dough, like a cat, out of the bowl. This dough pictured here happens to be oatmeal bread. That's why you see little speckles in it.
Set it down the same way. Turn it over horizontally rolling into a loggish shape. It should be deflated now. ALWAYS KEEP THE STICKIER SIDE WHICH WAS NEXT TO THE BOWL SIDES, TO THE INSIDE OF THE DOUGH. Remember this and life will be sweet. If you don't, you'll have the same and worse problems PUNCHING creates.
For this recipe divide into four equal pieces, each weighing somewhere between 1 1/2 - 1 3/4's pounds apiece. I weighed them and then evened them up to all weigh the same. You don't have to weigh them. Just try to get them about the same. Since these will all be on their own pan and baked one at a time it won't matter if the sizes vary a bit. Remember, keep all cut sticky sides to the inside of the loaves or rolls.
In the photo below I'm using both hands to shape a ball into a rectangular loaf. Nobody says you can't just leave the loaves round. Go ahead. And YEAH, I should have done something about the lighting here too. BuZZ off! GG!
Shape each into a log, continue to keep cut edges and moister part of the dough to the inside. Here I've flipped a log over and pinch the edges together on the bottom.
And here I am tucking the side to help make a longer shape.
Here is the little loaf ready on it's own pan to begin rising. Lightly grease the pan first with a bit of lard...EWW! Evil, wicked FAT. Use it. Shortening will burn. Use lard. Once the pans get seasoned, (that means you have baked with them several times and wiped them off with only a paper towel, never to wash them ever again...double EWWWW!) you really don't need to grease them much again. Actually, with this batch, I used no grease at all.
Put the loaves to rise in a warm place. These are in the oven with the light on. See my evil wicked seasoned pans. (Just don't send food to anyone on a pan that looks like this. As much as I prize it as a working tool in my kitchen, normal people will pitch it in the garbage. I know. It's happened to me.)
Below, the little loaf has risen and I sprinkled a bit of flour over it using a sieve. The flour wasn't necessary. I was having a senior moment and forgot that I was planning to brush the loaves with water. Here, I'm slashing the top of the loaf with a very sharp serrated knife which GG keeps razor sharp for me using some machine he has sequestered out in the Shop From Hell. Slash just, just, JUST
before brushing it with cold water and putting in the oven. Large, free-form loaves like this I bake one at a time. So like, what the heck is it with the brush? Life.Bake at 400 F x 20 minutes. Using the pastry brush or a squirt gun throw or squirt some more cold water into the oven as you shut the door. Just throw the water in, anywhere. We want to create steam. Some people put a pan of water on the oven floor. I don't. While this bread was being baked, GG had a pan of bacon on the oven floor. Anyway, it was a little dicey with the throwing in of cold water until he got the bacon out of there. Oh my, my life.
Repeat with the water thing in the oven and quickly brushing the loaf at the five and ten minute baking time. This is supposed to create a hard crust. These crusts get chewy. Turn your bread pan at the ten minute mark for even baking.
Bread is done when golden brown and makes a hollow sound when you tap it. Remove after 20 minutes, slide off pan and let cool on racks. This recipe does not have fat. Fat helps keep bread fresh. Therefore, eat it straight out of the oven and freeze the extra loaves.