Friday, September 14, 2012

Blackberry Pie

Oh, did I mention I made blackberry pie a while back?  Yeah...

Made with fresh blackberries picked on Bainbridge Island, WA.

Halloween Sugar Cookies

In the realm of holiday enjoyment, my love of Halloween is unparalleled.  I freaking love Halloween! I love the costumes, I love the decorations (I'm partial to skulls and spiders), I love the candy and the parties and the tricks and OF COURSE the treats.   This sugar cookie recipe is a staple that can be used to make holiday treats year round.  It was originally featured on Alton Brown's show Good Eats.  (Oh man, you should watch the episode, The Cookie Clause, it's brilliant.  Santa's feeling merciful!)

This recipe uses the creaming method.  If you are unfamiliar with the creaming technique Alton gives a great explanation, or you can hop over to my post on it real quick.   Creaming the butter and sugar together properly will give your cookies the perfect texture.  


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough
  • (optional) 1 teaspoon extract (vanilla, almond, lemon...whatever you like!)
  •  Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder, set aside.  Beat together the egg, milk, and any extract you are using and set aside.  
  • Cream together the softened butter and sugar.  Beat together until the mix becomes a noticeably lighter color, bigger in volume and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  • Add the liquid ingredients to the butter and sugar and mix together.  Slowly add the dry ingredients and continue mixing until an evenly mixed dough forms. 
  • Divide the dough in two, shape into flat squares and wrap in plastic.  Refrigerate for 2 hours.
  • Once the dough is chilled, sprinkle your work area and rolling pin with powdered sugar and roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness.  Cut out your shapes and move to a parchment covered cookie sheet (or a greased sheet). 
  • Bake for 7-9 minutes, turning halfway through.  When the cookies begin to turn golden brown on the bottoms and edges they are finished. Cool for two minutes on the cookie sheet, then move to a wire rack.

If you like look of the smooth, shiny, hard-drying frosting that is traditionally used on sugar cookies, you can use this recipe for your frosting.  (The frosting on the white cookies was made this way, the black frosting is Betty Crocker from a tube.)

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 teaspoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • (optional) 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • (optional) assorted food coloring

  • Mix it all up!  If your frosting comes out to dry add more milk, if it is to watery add more sugar.  
  • Spread a thin layer on your cookies and let it air dry for a few minutes. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Georgian Khachapuri (Cheese Filled Bread)

Georgian Khachapuri
 You won't find these scrumptious rolls anywhere in the deep south!   The khachapuri, meaning "cheese bread", is a filled bread dish hailing from the country of Georgia.   Georgia is a beautiful, mountainous country bordering the Black Sea, just north of Turkey and south of Russia.   While Georgia is known in the region to have amazing food, the khachapuri is known the world over as Georgia's national dish.   It can be found at food stands all over the country and can be made in a variety of ways.   Larger khachapuri are made for feasts and celebrations, while smaller khachapuris, called "beggars purses", are sold as snacks.   The choice of cheese is normally whatever is being locally produced, typically some kind of goat cheese.  The leavened dough is generally said to have a pizza-crust like texture and flavor, and the shapes and fillings vary from place to place.   The Adjarian Khachapuri is shaped like a boat, left open faced, and topped with butter and egg for extra artery clogging goodness.   Ossetian Khachapuri has potatoes in the filling as well as cheese.  

This recipe is from the book "The Bread Bible" by Christine Ingram and Jennie Shapter.   I originally picked it up because I admired Shapter's beautiful photographs.  What can I say, I am a sucker for good food photography.   Over 600 full color photographs are included in the book, and over 100 recipes and a wealth of baking info.  I snatched mine up at a used book store for a ridiculously low price, but now that I've read through it and used a few of the recipes I can heartily recommend picking it up - even at full price!

Georgian Khachapuri


  •  2 cups unbleached white bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 oz fresh yeast (or 1/4 oz dry yeast, 1 packet)
  • 2/3 cup lukewarm milk
  • 2 tbsp butter, softened
  • 2 cups grated mature (sharp) cheddar
  • 2 cups other cheese, grated or chunked depending on what you choose.  Recipe recommends Munster or Taleggio, but I used two different types of local aged goat cheese to try to capture some of what I imagined is the original flavor and texture.
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 1 tbsp butter, softened
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp water

  •  Lightly grease a Yorkshire pudding tin (or, if you don't have one, you can make them on a cookie sheet like I did). Preheat the oven to 350F/Gas 4.
  • Proof the dry yeast in the lukewarm milk.  Do not use hot milk as high temperatures will kill your yeast.
  • Sift together the flour and salt into a large bowl.  Create a well in the middle and add the yeast and milk mixture.  Mix together into a dough, then knead the butter in.   
  • Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic (at least 10 minutes by hand).
  • Place in an oiled bowl and cover bowl with plastic wrap.  Allow to rise until doubled, about an hour depending on the temperature of the room.  
  • While the dough is rising, combine all the ingredients for the filling in a large mixing bowl.   Use the salt and pepper to suit your tastes, I think it is about perfect with a little less than a tspn of each. 
  • When the dough has risen, turn it out and knead for a few minutes, then divide into 4 equal pieces.
  • Roll out each piece to be an 8 inch circle,  place circle of dough in the pudding tin or on the cookie sheet.  Fill with a quarter of the cheese filling.  Gather the overhanging dough at the top and twist together.   Have care not to roll the dough to thin or stretch it to much while forming the rolls to prevent holes from forming. 
  • Cover  rolls with plastic wrap and let them rise for another 20-30 minutes. 
  • Just before placing the rolls in the oven, brush the tops with the egg yolk/water mix. Bake for 25-30 minutes until light golden.  Serve warm. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Chocolate Butterscotch Chip Cookies

Some cookies made for my best friend.  He specifically requested chocolate cookies with butterscotch chips, so here they are.  They came out really good!

I'll post the recipe and some more photos after I get home from work later. :)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Another fruit pie!  A variation on the last post I made.  Same crust, similar filling.  I will post the recipe if you guys are interested.  In the meantime, behold:


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Apple/Blackberry Pie

A good fruit pie is surprisingly hard to make. It's pretty easy to make an ok fruit pie, and I've done that plenty of times.  I've made dozens of pies over the years and this was the first one I felt I really got right, so you guys are in for a treat.    The two main elements to the fruit pie, the crust and the filling, have to be working in perfect concert for your pie to turn out beautifully.  Pie crust should be buttery and flaky, should turn a nice golden brown on the top and the bottom crust, and should be strong enough to hold up the fruit filling without turning into mush. The fruit filling should syrupy without being cloudy or starchy, sweet without being saccharine or overwhelming the flavor of the fruit. 

Apple Blackberry Pie cooling in the window
I can't tell you the number of times I gave up and just bought the pre-made pie crust, or how many times my fruit filling came out watery, lumpy, and cloudy.    I've tried multiple crust and filling recipes and let me tell you the secret.  For the crust, it is ice water.  For the filling it is tapioca.  Trust me.  Ready?  

This pie crust recipe I borrowed from Smitten Kitchen, she wrote two very thorough articles on pie-crust making that I enjoyed.  Seems she has gone through many of the same pie crust making trials (butter or shortening?  vodka?) as I did and finally settled on an excellent recipe. 

Pie Crust

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces, 16 tablespoons or 1 cup) unsalted butter, very cold  (you can use salted butter if that is all you have, just omit the salt in the recipe)
  • 1/2 - 1 cup ice water

  • First, fill a 1 cup measuring cup with water and ice, and set it aside.
  • Whisk together flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
  • Cut your COLD butter into cubes and being working them into the dough with either your pastry blender, a fork or your hands.  Be careful using your hands though, because you want the butter to stay COLD!  Stop mixing when you still have pea sized chunks of butter in your dough.  Visible butter equals flakiness in your crust.  DO NOT OVER MIX!  Do not use your blender or food processor for this!
  • Begin drizzling in half a cup of the ice water (not the ice cubes) and mixing it all together with a silicone spatula (or if you are me with your hands again...I do everything with my hands)  You may need up to 1/4 cup more water.  I found that 1/2 cup was about perfect for me.  You want the dough to be glued together, but once it forms a cohesive ball don't add more water.  It should be a very firm dough. 
  • Divide your dough into two disks, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or two at least (I'm sure you've noticed by now that keeping the dough COLD is key). 
Apple/Blackberry a la mode
I adapted this filling recipe from Alton Brown's Super Apple Pie Recipe.  I've tried his pie crust recipe, and while it is a mean crust I actually like Smitten Kitchen's simpler version better, and got better results with it.   But man, his filling recipe is the tops. 


  • 5-6 large apples, mixed varieties. I live in Washington so I just pick out whatever is seasonally available.  You should have a variety of crisp, tart apples and softer sweeter apples.  This will give your pie a good texture because some of the apples will stay firmer than others in the baking process.   Normally an apple pie takes about 6 apples.  In this pie I used 5 apples and a small flat of blackberries, which is what gave the filling that awesome red color. 
  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 3 tablespoons tapioca flour (I used Kraft Minute Tapioca mix and it worked fine)
  • 2 tablespoons apple jelly (the pectin in this helps thicken the filling, you could just as easily use blackberry jelly or another flavor)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider (optional, I omitted this because I drank all my cider before I got to this step...)
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Peel and slice the apples.  I like to use one of those corer/slicer things to make sure all my slices are a uniform size.  Making sure all your apple chunks are similarly sized will ensure that they cook evenly.   Toss the sliced apples with 1/4 cup of sugar and place in a colander over a bowl to drain.  Let them sit there for about an hour (this is a good step to take care of while you are refrigerating your dough)
  • Take the drained liquid from the apples and reduce it in a saucepan to about 2 tablespoons.  
  • Toss the apple chunks together with the syrup reduction, remaining sugar, tapioca, jelly, cider, lime juice and salt. 
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  For the first 30 minutes, cook your pie on the bottom rack of the oven.  This will ensure that your bottom crust gets nicely browned.  For the remaining 20 minutes cook your pie on the middle rack.  The pie will probably get a little ooozy, so place a lined cookie sheet underneath to catch drips.  After the pie has baked allow it to cool for 4 hours.  DO NOT SLICE IT BEFORE THEN!  You will want to, it will be hard, but trust me.  It's worth it to let your pie cool thoroughly and give it time to set up, so it doesn't run everywhere the first time you cut into it. 

Friday, May 25, 2012


Snickerdoodles!  It's such a fun word to say I have a hard time not repeating it over and over again.    No one knows where these cookies got their name, but it was probably just made up by someone who liked how it sounds.  Snickerdoodle!   My boyfriend loves sugar cookies so I whipped up this batch just for him.  The snickerdoodle is very similar to a regular sugar cookie, but instead of having sugar sprinkled on top, it is rolled in a mix of sugar and cinnamon.   Some people like them soft, some people make them thinner and crispy.  If you have read my blog before (especially most post about creaming) you probably already know I'm crazy about fluffy cookies.   Bake this recipe just until the bottom of the cookies begins to brown and the edges are crispy, and the center remains chewy and fluffy and soft.   MMMMM.  

You also probably know that I do all my baking by hand because of a woeful lack of kitchen appliances.  Well, no more!    I picked up at Cuisinart CHM-3 Hand Mixer in red and I'm so excited to make like a million recipes with it.  I love its retro look, I just wish it was a little bit lighter.  Still, it seems like it will probably be hanging out in my kitchen for the next 15-30 years so I'm pretty happy. 

I got this recipe from, they have awesome recipes that have all been tested out.  Many come with videos.  Go check 'em out. 

Ingredients (3-4 dozen cookies):
  • 2 3/4 cups (360 grams) all purposeflour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
  • Coating: 1/3 cup white sugar, 2 teaspoons cinammon. 
  • Place oven racks in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400F degrees.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper (foil works if you don't have parchment paper.  Don't use wax paper.  I learned the hard way that wax paper and parchment paper are not interchangeable.  Don't ask.)
  • In a large bowl combine the flour, salt and baking powder.  
  • In a separate bowl  (or the bowl of your mixer) cream together the soft butter and white sugar. You will want your butter to be soft but not melty, about 65F degrees.   If you live in a warmer climate do not let your butter get all the way to room temperature, as it will be to soft then.   This will take a minute or two, keep beating together until the mixture starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl, becomes noticeably fluffier and lighter in color. 
  • Beat in each egg one at a time, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl as you go along to make sure everything is fully incorporated.  After the eggs, mix in the vanilla.  
  • Add the dry ingredients and mix together thoroughly until a smooth dough forms.  I normally add the dry ingredients in three stages, mixing then adding a little more and mixing and so forth.   You can refrigerate the dough for a little while if it is to soft or warm.
  • Shape the dough into 1 inch balls and roll in the sugar/cinammon mixture.  Place the balls on cookie sheets about 2 inches apart and gently flatten to about 1/2 inch high with the bottom of a glass. 
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes in the 400F degree oven until the bottoms begin to brown and the edges are crispy.   Place on a wire rack to cool. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Reg's Zucchini Bread

This fresh baked zucchini bread is moist from the oil and zucchini, making a sweet, dense loaf. 
Fresh loaves of Banana and Zucchini Bread
This is one of those recipes that comes out of the family cook book, one that I remember eating a lot as a kid.   My dad is a pretty picky eater and flat out refuses to eat most vegetables.  I don't know what happened, his parents scarred him as a kid or something.  I hear stories about a vegetable garden grown out of control paired with the depression-era mindset of "eat everything on your plate" and I can imagine my father as a child, sitting at the table pushing a plate full of zucchini around with his fork.  Not a happy child.   Over the years my mom grew fairly adept at compensating for his fruit and vegetable aversion, making sure he got his daily servings by hiding them in food he would actually eat.  I remember once as a kid she made this zucchini bread, my dad got halfway through the loaf before he noticed the green flecks and realized OH GOD THIS HAS VEGETABLES IN IT.  My little brother and I made fun of him for years about that one.  

During the 1960's people got this idea that anything that had a vegetable in it was good for you, leading to the rise in popularity of quick breads like banana bread, zucchini bread and carrot cakes.  This recipe is straight out of that time period, from the kitchen of Regina Maynard, one of my grandmothers friends.   I've never met Regina Maynard, but man I am glad her recipe made it into Grandma's cookbook.   The sad thing is it is no longer the 60's and it's hard to pretend something with this much processed flour and sugar is good for you.  To attempt to make it a bit healthier I used 2/3rds of the recommended amount of sugar, and instead of white sugar I used whole cane sugar.   I also replaced the vegetable oil with coconut oil.    The recipe below is the original measurements. 

Some people say zucchini has a "delicate" flavor, but this is just a nice way of saying it is basically flavorless.  What it really adds to this recipe is moisture, and the pretty green flecks running through the bread.  When you shred your zucchini make sure to do it on the largest sized holes, and leave the skins on.  The pieces will cook down significantly and won't be chunky in the bread. 

Ingredients (makes 1 loaf):

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups sifted flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup walnuts (Optional ingredient, I only used about a half cup)
  • Preheat oven to 350F and prepare a greased and floured loaf pan.
  • Beat eggs and sugar together.
  • Add oil, zucchini and vanilla to the egg and sugar mixture.  Mix well. 
  • Mix in dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg).
  • Stir in nuts and mix well.  
  • Pour into the greased and floured loaf pan
  • Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until a skewer inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.   I needed to bake mine for 1.5 hours. 

MMMMM, now the challenge is to not eat it all in one day.  Some people enjoy this bread with a little butter, but because it is already so sweet and moist I normally skip the butter and just eat it plain.    Notice the pretty little green flecks?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Hot Cross Buns

Hot cross buns have been associated with the Christian holiday of Good Friday for hundreds of years, although some people believe they have been baked since long before that and were simply adopted by Christians. Christian or not, the lore surrounding this simple confection is fascinating, and the buns themselves are delicious.  Traditionally containing currants or other dried fruit, Cinnamon and spices, topped with icing, these buns are supposed to ensure friendship throughout the year with anyone you share them with, and once you try one you will see why.

The oldest Christian lore surrounding hot cross buns states that sometime in the 12th century an Anglican monk placed the cross on the buns to celebrate Good Friday, which at that time was called "The Day of the Cross".   The actual recipe is said to pre-date this however, it is believed that the Saxons ate buns marked with a cross to honor the goddess Eostre.  It's thought that worship of the pagan goddess was so firmly rooted that early Christian missionaries adopted "Easter", hot cross buns and many other pagan traditions into their own yearly celebrations.   Hot cross buns came to be made of the same dough used to make communion bread.   Because of this, they were believed to have special healing powers and to bring good luck.   Some traditions say that a hot cross bun baked on Good Friday and hung from the kitchen ceiling can bring luck to your household, ensure all your bread rises, and ward off fires.   There is a popular saying, "Half for you and half for me, Between us two shall goodwill be".  If you share a hot cross bun with a friend it will ensure good relations between you for the rest of the year.   In the 16th century, early Protestant monarchs saw the buns as a hold-over from Catholic rule in England and attempted to ban them.  Their overwhelming popularity made this impossible, and Queen Elizabeth I passed a law allowing them to be baked only at Easter and Christmas. 

Recipe from Pioneer Woman

Ingredients (makes approx 18):

  • 2 cups Whole Milk
  • 1/2 cup Canola Oil
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 package (2 1/4 Teaspoons) Active Dry Yeast
  • 4 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup (additional) Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon (heaping) Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (scant) Baking Soda
  • 2 teaspoons Salt

  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • Spices: Cardamom, Nutmeg, Allspice (optional)
  • 1/2 cup Raisins

  • 1 whole Egg White
  • Splash Of Milk

  • 1 whole Egg White
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Splash Of Milk

Combine 2 cups milk, canola oil, and 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan. Stir and heat until very warm but not boiling. Turn off the heat and allow to cool until mixture is still warm, but not hot--about 30 minutes.
Sprinkle yeast over mixture. Add 4 cups of flour and stir to combine. Mixture will be very sticky. Cover with a towel and set aside for 1 hour.
Add 1/2 cup flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir till combined.
Combine 1/4 cup sugar with cinnamon and whatever other spices you want to use.
Lightly flour surface. Press to slightly flatten dough. Sprinkle a couple tablespoons of the sugar/cinnamon mixture. Sprinkle on about a third of the raisins. Then fold the dough over on itself and flatten again so the dough is "plain" again. Repeat the sugar/raisin process, then fold the dough again. Repeat a third time until all the raisins are used. (You won't use all the sugar/cinnamon mixture.)
Pinch off ping pong or golf ball-size bunches of dough. With floured hands, quickly roll it into a ball, then turn the edges under themselves slightly. Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place for at least 30 hour-plus is better.
PREHEAT OVEN TO 400F degrees
Mix 1 egg white with a splash of milk. Brush onto each roll.
Bake for 20 minutes, give or take, or until tops of buns have turned nice and golden brown.
Remove from pan and allow to cool on a cooling rack.
Mix 1 egg white with enough powdered sugar for icing to be very thick. Splash in milk as needed for consistency.
Add icing to a small Ziploc bag and snip the corner. Make icing crosses on each roll, making sure they're completely cooled first.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bread Bowls

Bread bowls are very popular in the United States (we Americans love our carbs).  They are normally used to serve thick cream based soups and stews like New England clam chowder or chili.    This recipe makes a tasty, springy dough and because of the relatively large amount of yeast used it takes slightly less time to rise than the average bread dough.   The egg wash gives a lovely shiny exterior, making a beautiful vessel for your favorite soup or stew.  

Just cut the top off and ladle your favorite soup in

I started living with my boyfriend a little more than a year ago and its been a wonderful experience to see him learn how to cook and plan meals.   When we met pretty much everything he consumed came out of a fast food bag and his best dish was buttered toast.   Now he plans the weeks meals, does the grocery shopping and cooks healthful dinners for us almost every night (I know, I'm the luckiest girl ever).   One of his favorite tricks is to cook a whole chicken one night, make chicken stock with the carcass and then  make soup with the chicken stock the next day.   He also saves our vegetable scraps and regularly makes veggie stock as well.   Believe me, homemade stock is the bee's knees.    There could probably be a whole other blog dedicated to his culinary adventures.  Last night he made cream of broccoli soup and I made these sweet bread bowls to go with it.   

Bread bowls are best with thick cream based soups and hearty stews

Bread Bowls
Recipe adapted from
Makes 6 bowls (or 8 if you want small ones)


  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6-7 cups all purpose flour
  • cornmeal
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • In a large bowl proof the yeast by dissolving it in the warm water for about 10 minutes or until it becomes bubbly and frothy.  
  • Add 4 cups of flour, the vegetable oil and salt and mix well. 
  • Add the remaining flour a 1/2 cup at a time until a firm dough is formed.  You may not need the entire 7 cups of flour.  You will want a stiff dough so it will hold the round shape of the bread bowl.  
  • Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for about 6 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.  Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil.  Cover with a damp cloth and allow the dough to rise until doubled (approx. 40 minutes).  
  • Punch down the dough and divide it into 6 equal parts.  The best way to divide dough is to weigh it, but if you don't have a scale you can always eyeball it.  I find the easiest way is to divide the dough in half, and then divide each half into 3 or 4 parts (depending on if you want 6 large bowls or 8 small ones).  Place the balls of dough onto a greased cookie sheet that has been sprinkled with cornmeal and allow them to double in size once more (approx 35 minutes).  
  • Preheat your oven to 400F.   In a small bowl beat together the egg and water to make an egg wash.  Brush half of the wash over the bread bowls and slash the tops.  
  • Bake in the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes, then give them another coating of egg wash.  Cook for another 10-15 minutes until the bread is golden brown and cooked through.  Larger bread bowls will require slightly longer cooking times. 
  • To make bowls, cut off the top and scoop out the centers, leaving at least 3/4 of an inch on all sides.  Fill with hot soup and serve immediately.  
The egg wash turns the bread a beautiful golden brown color.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Irish Potato Bread

St. Patrick's day is approaching so I'm working on my Irish recipes.   Irish beer bread is my favorite, but I already did a post on it so I decided to try another popular Irish bread - potato bread!  I found this recipe at one of my favorite sites, The Fresh Loaf.  It was originally a "baked potato bread" because it included traditional baked potato ingredients - chives, bacon, sour cream.   I was lacking all three of those ingredients (classic) so I left out the chives and bacon, and used yogurt with a little bit of baking soda as a substitute for the sour cream.   I used non-fat yogurt and it came out just fine (and even made it a bit healthier..)

Instead of using potato flakes or starch, this recipe calls for mashed potatoes.  It is a great use for leftovers, even if they have milk and butter in them.   Next time I make this recipe I am going to save the water I boiled the potatoes in for use in the bread batter.  Oh yeah, and I'm going to put bacon in.  

Ingredients (makes 2 1lb loaves, or 1 large loaf):
  • 1/2 cup mashed potatoes
  • 3 to 4 cups all-purpose unbleached flour 
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • optional: 1/4 cup cooked bacon, 1/2 cup chopped chives, or any other add-ins you can think of
  • Mix the potatoes, yeast, salt, and two cups of flour in a large mixing bowl.  If you are using active dry yeast instead of instant yeast you will need to proof it before adding.  Use the 3/4 cups water from the recipe to proof your yeast.  Check out my old post on yeast for details on how to properly proof your active dry yeast. 
  • Add the water, sour cream and any add-ins you want to include.  If you add bacon feel free to include the grease for added flavor.   Mix this all together well.
  • At this point your dough will be soupy, add flour by the handful until it starts to come together, turn out onto a well floured surface and continue to knead in handfuls of flour until your dough is solid enough to form into a ball, but still very damp.  A wetter dough is harder to work with but will ultimately have a better end result.  
  • Let your dough rise until doubled (about 90 minutes) in a oiled bowl covered with plastic wrap.  
  • Once risen, shape your loaves (or loaf if you are going for one big one) and let rise until doubled again (about 45 minutes).  I chose to make mine a bit oblong, but the shape of your loaf is up to you.  
  • Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.  Once my loaves were fully risen, I dusted them with flour and slashed the top.   Bake for 5 minutes at 425, then turn your oven down to 350 and bake for approximately 35 minutes or until they are brown on the outside and sound hollow when tapped. 

Beautiful! Even though there was no bacon, and I had to make some substitutions (yogurt instead of sour cream, and active dry yeast instead of instant) this recipe still came out great!