ITALY: I made this rosemary bread with potatoes, which is not traditional, but it’s a common loaf in the bakeries around here. In Italy it is often scored with an asterix, and sprinkled with flakey salt – in an effort to recreate a bread that Luciano Pancalde read about that was described as having a rosemary aroma and a golden crust that “sparkled like diamonds”. I didn’t find out about that until after I baked it, but I’ll definitely do that next time!
STEP 1: Boil potatoes
- 300g potatoes
- 80 ml of water you cooked the potatoes in
- Peel and chop potatoes, and place in a small pot. I chop them pretty small so that they cook fast, and so lots of potato starch seeps into the water.
- Add 2 cups water and a teaspoon of salt.
- Boil potatoes in salted water until tender.
- Meanwhile, measure out the dry ingredients
STEP 2: Measure dry ingerdients
- 300g bread flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 7g yeast
- 2 Tbsp roughly chopped rosemary
- Measure the dry ingredients and rosemary into the bowl of a stand mixer, or a mixing bowl
- Whisk to combine.
STEP 3: Make potato mash
- 2 Tbsp butter
- When potatoes are nice and soft, and before you drain them, scoop out about 1/2 cup of the water they’ve been cooking in
- Drain, then return potatoes to pot, and over low heat, dry them out. Stir often, so they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Once there’s no more steam coming out of the potatoes, turn off heat.
- Add the butter, then mash the potatoes well (no lumps), mixing in the butter until it’s melted and fully incorporated.
- 80g potato water (reserve extra)
STEP 4: Make dough + first rise
- Add the potato mash to the dry ingredients and 80 g of the potato water (reserve any leftover).
- Knead on #1 until everything is coming together and there’s no dry bits of dough hanging about at the bottom. If you can’t get those to mix in, add 1 Tbsp (no more) of the potato water to the bowl.
- Once there are not dry bits, turn to #2 and knead until it cleans the sides of the bowl and is one ball on the dough hook.
- Place dough in a oiled bowl and set aside in a warm place to rise until doubled in size. About an hour, but it depends on the temperature of the room.
STEP 5: Shape loaf + second rise
- Heat the oven to 450 (you’re going to turn it down to 425 once you’ve put the bread in for baking).
- Knock the dough down, then turn dough out onto a lightly floured countertop and shape into a nice ball, with a tight surface. See the tips page.
- Drop the ball into banneton (a flour-dusted cloth lined basket or bowl), smooth side down, seam side up. See No Banettone? video on the Tips page for how to make your own.
- Cover and let proof for 30-40 minutes at room temperature to prove until almost doubled in size again.
- Bake the bread for 30 minutes.
- Let cool completely on a wire rack before serving.