This month’s Bread Baking Day #17 was hosted by Lien from Notitie van Lien. She has a wonderful blog/website. The theme Lien chose was “Bread and Potatoes.” Potatoes had to be an integral ingredient of the bread. I thumbed through my cookbook, The Bread Book: A Baker’s Almanac, for ideas. I found a recipe for a potato water sourdough starter and decided to start my recipe idea with sourdough. I’ve wanted to make a sourdough starter for a while and thought what the heck…now’s as good a time as any to make one! It was a lot of fun getting the starter going. I’ve already made several other breads with it, all of which will end up here on the blog as well :). Here’s a picture of the starter:
It’s separated because I just pulled it out of the fridge. I have it stored in this Mason jar with a piece of plastic wrap between the cap and the jar so the metal doesn’t touch the starter.
Potato Water Starter (Courtesy of The Bread Book: A Baker’s Almanac)
- 1 T dry yeast
- 2 t sugar
- 2 c warm water in which potatoes have been cooked
- 2 additional cups water
- 2 c unbleached white flour, or other flour of your choice (I used 1 c unbleached white flour and 1 c Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Graham Flour)
1. Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm potato water. Put in a glass, plastic, or crockery bowl; cover with towel and let it sit in a warm place for about 48 hours.
2. At the end of this time, stir in 2 more cups warm water and two cups flour. Cover. Let stand overnight or longer, until the whole mixture is frothy and smells sour. Make sure your bowl is large enough to allow for expansion.
3. Store in a covered jar in the refrigerator (Note – Don’t use metal bowls or utensils or store your starter in a metal container).
4. You’ll need to feed your starter about once a week. Remove ½ to 1 c of starter (either discard or use in a recipe or use what the recipe directs). Add equal parts water/flour (½ c water and ½ flour, for example, if you remove ½ c starter) and stir well. Let it sit at room temperature for several hours, stir, and return to the fridge.
For the bread, I decided on a sourdough rye. Rye bread is one of my favorites, and I liked this recipe because of the orange peel and seeds it contained. It was rather dense but good.
Sourdough Rye Bread (Courtesy of The Bread Book: A Baker’s Almanac)
- 1 c sourdough starter
- 3½ c rye flour, preferably stone-ground (I used Hodgson Mill brand)
- 3½ to 4½ c unbleached white flour
- ½ c warm water
- 1 T dry yeast
- ½ c warm water
- 2 T honey or maple syrup
- ½ c mashed potatoes
- 2 T light oil
- 2 t salt
- 2 t fennel seeds
- 1 t caraway seeds
- ½ t grated orange peel
- ¼ c unsulphured molasses
1. In a large plastic, glass, or crockery bowl, mix together the starter, ½ c each of the rye and white flours, and ½ warm water. If the batter seems too stiff, add a little more water. Cover with plastic wrap or a towel and let sit 6 hours or overnight.
2. Add to the bowl the yeast, ½ c warm water, honey or maple syrup, mashed potatoes, and 1 c each of rye and white flours. Mix and let stand again, covered, at least 6 hours or until the next day.
3. Add the oil, salt, fennel, and caraway seeds, orange peel, molasses, and 2 c each of rye flour and white flour, stirring until the dough is too stiff to mix further by hand. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead until smooth and elastic, adding a little more white flour if the dough remains sticky but don’t add too much otherwise the dough will be too dry. Put the dough in a buttered or oiled bowl, cover with a damp towel, and let rise until doubled in bulk.
4. Punch the dough down, turn out onto a lightly floured surface, knead a few times to press out the air bubbles, and divide in half; cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
5. Grease a cookie sheet and dust with cornmeal. Shape the dough into two ovals or rounds, place on the sheet, and slash the top with a sharp knife if desired. Cover with a towel and let rise until almost doubled.
6. Preheat the oven to 425° F. Bake for 15 minutes. During this time you can mist or brush the loaves with cold water two or three times for a hard crust. Reduce the heat to 350° F and bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until the bottoms sound hollow when tapped. Brush the loaves with melted butter. Cool on a rack.
Makes 2 loaves