Saturday, February 20, 2010

BBA #28: Potato rosemary (garlic!) bread

This is hubby's favorite kind of bread. Whenever we need an easy, fast dinner, we'll pick up a rotisserie chicken and a loaf of bread (or we used to, before I started baking my own). I'd choose a hearty multi-grain, but hubby always goes for an herb and garlic artisan loaf.

Peter Reinhart's potato rosemary bread is a two-day affair, although on the first evening, all I had to do was mix up the biga (pre-ferment) and make a small batch of mashed potatoes. I meant to make mashed potatoes for dinner so we could just use the leftovers, but it never happened. Never fear; hubby and I happily ate the rest of the potatoes (that I didn't need to save for the bread) as a late-night snack!

Early this afternoon, I mixed everything together. The ingredient list for this bread was a little out of the ordinary: in addition to the biga, bread flour, salt, yeast, and water, I also added freshly ground pepper, mashed potatoes, and chopped fresh rosemary.

I started this one in the mixer, but it was still very shaggy after the suggested time, so I flipped it out onto my counter, allowed it to sit (while we put the kids down for nap), and then continued by hand. I found that it took quite a bit more flour and a lot of time to get the dough to 77 degrees and a nice windowpane. But given how busy things have been around here, it was nice to spend some time kneading!

And then I flattened out the dough and added . . . roasted garlic! I'd never roasted garlic before, and although I thought I'd bought a head of garlic the last time we were at the store, apparently I hadn't. I quickly jumped online and read various posts about this bread to see what reviews the garlic had received . . . it seemed pretty unanimous that it was a necessary ingredient. So hubby ran out to the store, while I preheated the oven. Luckily (because we had to leave for swimming lessons in about 30 minutes), I found this post from Paul at Yumarama about how to roast garlic more quickly and efficiently. It worked great, the house smelled wonderful, and it was definitely a necessary ingredient to this bread! Anyway, I kneaded in the roasted garlic and then left the dough to double.

It doubled very quickly . . . right at an hour, I believe. I divided the dough in two and shaped half into a boule and half into two ounce rolls. An hour later, the dough had doubled again, so I preheated the oven. The rolls cooked for 20 minutes, the boule for 35. The rolls probably should have been taken out a few minutes earlier; the bottoms were at that almost-burnt stage that adds a slightly bitter taste to the bread.

The boule, on the other hand, was perfect! I agree with some other BBA Challengers who talked about stepping up the rosemary and garlic next time, but we really enjoyed the bread as-written, too. The bread was soft with a light crust. We ate this with chicken-noodle soup tonight and the garlic rosemary mixed with the thyme and parsley in the broth was an outstanding flavor combination.


  1. Glad to hear you enjoyed this bread. It does look wonderful. We didn't really like the flavor, even though crust and crumb were beautiful. Not every bread can be a winner, right?

  2. Your Potato Rosemary Bread looks fantastic! I served mine with soup too. It was also great grilled the next day. I really liked this recipe, hoping to make it again one day if I can every get through all of these recipes!

    BTW--thanks for putting me in your Blog list! I am honored!