Monday, November 26, 2007
I am officially a daring baker!
When I first read about the daring bakers on another blog I was so excited – this sounded exactly like my kind of thing!! I love to challenge myself and even better accept a challenge from someone else. The daring bakers are a group of bloggers and each month a different member gets to chose the recipe for the month. Each daring baker has to make the challenge and post about it on the same day. I duly applied for membership and was accepted!!! Nervously I waited to see what my first challenge would be.
I must say I was a little disappointed after reading about the fabulous sticky buns, chocolate caramel tart and other sweet confections of months gone by to find out the November challenge was potato bread chosen by Tanna from My kitchen in half cups. I know not many people make bread, but I do, not really regularly, but often – usually on a Saturday afternoon if it is just going to be the two of us for dinner and sometimes on a Sunday if I feel like some nice fresh bread with lunch. However, I have never made potato bread before and usually I use my kenwood cake mixer rather than knead the recipe by hand as the recipe called for.
So, last weekend, I duly cooked my potatoes and following the recipe to the letter, I made my potato bread. I decided to make my bread into foccacia to go with the salmon salad we were having with dinner. There were some variations allowed for the topping, but with it being my first challenge, I thought I would stick close to the recipe and make the suggested rosemary and sea salt topping.
I used my potato ricer to “mash” the potatoes. I think that helped with keeping a smooth texture for the bread. The only thing I couldn’t get at the supermarket (although you can get it at the organic store, but it wasn’t open when I started making the bread) was unbleached flour, so I just used plain. The recipe said that the mixture was quite wet so I was conscious of not adding too much flour. The kneading part went not too badly – I don’t think I kneaded it as much as I should have but it didn’t make too much difference to the end result.
The dough rose a lot more than other breads I have made – maybe it was because the mixture was more wet or maybe it was the kneading by hand? I made one large foccacia with it, and sprinkled it liberally with chopped rosemary, sea salt and drizzled it with good olive oil. The bread baked beautifully. The crust was lovely and crispy and the inside was fluffy. Even though I only made one loaf, it made enough for us to have some with our dinner (dipped into beautiful parmesan oil which I bought at Sileni Estate in the Hawkes Bay earlier in the year), and I was able to cut the remainder into two decent sized loaves which I froze for another day. My husband said it was some of the best foccacica he has tasted!!! And that is my seal of approval!!!
So, even though initially I wasn’t too excited about my first challenge , in the end it gave me everything I hoped for – I tried something different, using a new technique and it was successful. I cant wait for the December challenge!!! You can see how the other daring bakers did here.