Sunday, May 04, 2008

Potato Buttermilk Bread

Saturday, May 3, 2008
Since I started baking, I've learned that the search for new recipes is divided into two categories: buttermilk and non-buttermilk. The buttermilk search is for when you have a half-used quart of in your refrigerator and MUST USE IT UP. Non-buttermilk is when you're free.
Buttermilk servitude is not the worst thing in the world. Most things you bake with buttermilk end up being pretty good. Still, would it really hurt to make it available in one-cup cartons? It's not like most people just glug it down.
So I got out The Bread Bible, and looked in the index under "buttermilk," where I found potato buttermilk bread. I was about to ignore it because, though I had buttermilk, I had no potatoes, butI remembered that it took potato flour instead of cooked potatoes. And I still had some potato flour. I heard Rose's voice asking me how old the potato flour was, but I ignored the voice because I didn't want to think about it. (I'm at the age where I feel a lot of empathy for anything or anybody that's considered too old. It's the only reason I'd think of voting for John McCain).

Ha! The too-old flour came through just fine.
This bread is pretty simple, but it does take some time, mainly because the biga needs to be made either early in the morning, or, preferably, the night before. Since I forgot to make it the night before, I was able to hurry things along just a little by using the "proofing" cycle on my beloved Wolf oven. I set it at 85, and it stays cool enough that I can put my plastic proofing bucket into the oven with no fears, but it's just enough warmer than my kitchen (in early May anyway) so that I don't have to worry about lagging dough. And we had the bread in time for dinner.
Usually, I prefer to have bread be the main course because it usually outshines whatever else we're having anyway, but I had dinner all ready to make so the bread had to play second fiddle. Since it was chewy, flavorful, and delicious, it didn't play the runner-up part all that well. I had a slice later that night with a glass of wine, and it was excellent. This bread has a much finer texture than the kind of bread you usually get in this kind of free-form round loaf, but it was a nice change. I hope my elderly flour is up to making one more loaf.


Amelia Bedielia said...

That loaf looks fantastic! I certainly hear you on the buttermilk vs. non-buttermilk recipes. I found myself in a similar situation this weekend, but went the quick bread route.

I've been wanting to buy Rose's book and after seeing this recipe I might have to move it up to the top of the list!

Anonymous said...

Ha! I have been looking at this exact recipe, clearly, I have some buttermilk to use up.

I went the route of Buttermilk Lemon Cookies (via Orangette's blog) only because I didn't have any potato flour!

Looks fantastic!


rose said...

the bread looks lit from within and so round and plump and well-shaped. actually i don't think that potato flour, especially if stored in the frig, has a shelf life. potato was sort of born old. it never gets to old to be totally useless!
i too have wished for buttermilk in smaller containers. luckily elliott likes drinking it as, like you, one buttermilk recipe seems to spawn another in my desire to use up the wonderful stuff. buttermilk is great for soaking chicken for fried chicken and for blue cheese salad dressing, and gene russell's pizza dough, buttermilk pancakes or waffles.....

evil cake lady said...

your free form round loaf looks perfectly round! i am impressed. what a lovely looking loaf of bread.

Melinda said...

Is this the first time you have used the proofing cycle on your flash oven?
The bread looks a lovely bloom.
I like Rose's 'potato flour was born old' expression.
Just so you can be envious of me, here in England my buttermilk only comes in 284ml cartons. That's it.
I can just see you turning green with buttermilk size envy!

Doughadear said...

Marie,I love how you promote a great loaf of bread. I just want to go out get all the ingredients and make one myself. I'm envious(in a good way)of your proof setting in your oven and if it also had steam injection, well then I would be down right jealous!

Anonymous said...

Another vote for buttermilk salad dressing. That's often how I use my leftovers. Lovely bread.

breadbasketcase said...

Amelia Bedelia,
(Love that name, by the way, one of my favorite kids' books). Yes, you must get this book, which also has some wonderful quick bread recipes--one with apples that's out of this world.

Those buttermilk lemon cookies sound so good I'm tempted to go out and buy some buttermilk! Must remember this the next time I'm in the use-it-up phase.

Ah yes, round and plump. Why is it that what sounds so lovely in a bread just doesn't work as a description for a woman? I'd forgotten the buttermilk soak for fried chicken--it's what my grandmother used to do (and about the only time she used black pepper!).

Thank you! If you use Rose's instructions on how to shape a boule, you'll (almost) always end up with a good-looking loaf of bread.

I use the proof cycle a lot in the winter. It's really nice to have the choice between the slow rise you have of necessity in a Minnesota kitchen in January and the efficient one from the proof cycle.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to have a steam injection oven? I do have the steam injection contraption, which I like, but sometimes it seems like too much trouble to use. Melinda is jealous of my oven too. That's why she always refers to it as "flash" or, I believe, as "fancy pants."

I also forgot about buttermilk salad dressing, which I also haven't made for years. It's nice to be reminded of old favorites.

Melinda said...

ECL called it fancypants first...long time ago.
But you know it is flash, Blanche!

jini said...

i always just think of it as her namesake.....although it does have somewhat of a fancypants rep, you are right on that melinda! :)
hey, whatever works, and the oven obviously really really works for marie! it's a gorgeous round and plump loaf!

breadbasketcase said...

It is flash. Maybe a little fancypants too. But it makes a nice loaf of bread. We'll see about the cakes.

I wish I were a Wolf of the Wolf oven family. I'd probably be a lot richer than I am now. You're right--it works for me.

jpsam said...

What a great looking loaf!
What I covet is a wood-burning oven in the garden for bread and pizza...

Eleanor said...

I have the same buttermilk problem - except that I go the cake and pancake route to get rid of what I have leftover. My mother's 30 minute chocolate sheet cake requires buttermilk, so that is a popular answer around here. I also have a very good buttermilk pancake recipe that doubles beautifully for a hungry weekend bunch.

Is there anything that can't be improved by the addition of buttermilk? For something that tastes so nasty by itself, it goes in virtually anything very well.

breadbasketcase said...

I'm beginning to think that there's a need for a whole blog based on buttermilk recipes! Maybe I should change my attitude from "I have a whole quart of buttermilk to use up again" to "What can I improve with buttermilk?"

rose said...

thanks a great attitude! i use it to soak the bread (homemade of course) for meatballs!