p3: Potato Rosemary Bread

#7, Potato Rosemary Bread

20150525_112834I wish I had a garden; and I mean like a full, landscaped garden, with rows of stuff, and every year I’d pick new and different crops to grow, looking into the GOOD seed shipping companies based on natural, ancestral varietals (as opposed to plants and seeds developed and owned by Monsanto and who knows what other corporations)… god that would be great. And we have quite a few areas in the yard it could work, but that really takes a huge amount of time to do right (by my standards), not to mention we’re definitely in an area that requires some notably wildlife combative strategies.

Oh well, maybe later in life, or a retirement project. But I can’t be too sad, we still have big pots on the deck for Tomatoes! Last year I started using one or two pots for peppers, and now I’m getting back into herbs. Which really excited me since I got the chance to get some fresh Rosemary growing and available, which is easily my favorite herb next to tarragon (none available btw… the bastards).

potato-rosemary-bread-slicedPlanted last week, it gave me a nice opportunity to go for a more fun recipe on this occasion, Potato Rosemary Bread, or ‘Panmarino’ for the Italians. Being popular for both loaves, buns, and dinner rolls (which I may have to consider someday for holidays… or specialty burgers…), the potatoes supposedly help make the dough particularly soft and tender while flavor is added by the intense herb and the use of a pre-ferment. In this case, Biga, the third of the main three (including Poolish and Pate Fermente) which I finally get to use. Though this will be the first time where I have to adjust the recipe; previous pre-ferment recipes used the exact amount that was written down in the book, while this one only uses a fraction, 7 oz of finished biga instead of the base recipe that yields 18. So the recipe I’m providing here is a scaled down version, and I’ll make sure to use the full exact one on a future Italian bread from my book that requires it.

T20150525_144428here are a couple other things I decided to try out with this too. First off, as the recipe called for cutting the fermented dough in half before shaping (for bigger loaves), I wanted to try out my experiment for actually doing this BEFORE fermentation, separating the dough into two separate bowls, to see if it didn’t hurt the dough and, ultimately, helped to keep in more gas that would have been lost via later cutting.

20150527_080149Secondly, though the recipe doesn’t state the possibility, I don’t feel like cooking both loaves off at once, so I’m gonna leave one in the fridge, not just overnight but for TWO days (meeting a friend later and I thought they’d appreciate some good fresh bread). I really want to see if I can notice a flavor change from the slow proofing (being put in for storage after shaping) as bread is supposed to from my understanding, and also noting if this is something I can just do with about any recipe I want or if I really need to stick to the ones that talk about it. Boy though, did it get big and fat in there after two days! Look how it ballooned up; and I know that this is NOT a proper form to cook it in, but I decided to bake it like that anyways just for the hell of it, see what the actual result would be.

20150525_115700Finally, since I’m cooking potatoes from scratch, thought I’d take the chance to just use the now flavorful and sorta starchy ‘potato water’ left over from boiling as opposed to just regular water for making the bread. It’s little things like these that make things awesome, much like adding pasta water into your sauce! (if you still haven’t tried this, yet cook pasta with a sorta handmade sauce on a regular basis, then you need to get some things in order)

Well I’m done with that longer-than-usual intro for one of my bread posts, let’s get into the recipe!

1¼ cup/7 oz Biga (recipe follows)
3 cups+2Tb/14 oz Bread Flour
4 Tb/1 oz Garlic, about 1½ – 2 bulbs (opt)
½ tsp/0.13 oz Salt
¼ tsp/0.3 oz Ground Black Pepper (opt)
1¼ tsp/0.14 oz Dry Yeast
6 oz Russet Potato
1 Tb/0.5 oz Olive Oil
2 Tb/0.25 oz Fresh Rosemary, coarsely chopped
¾ cups+2Tb-4 cups/7-8 oz Potato Cooking Water, room temp
Cornmeal/Semolina and Olive Oil


  1. Remove Biga from fridge at least one hour before planning to start bread, cutting into about 10 small pieces and covering with plastic.20150525_105106
  2. While this is going, boil and simmer Potatoes starting from a cold, salted water bath until tender, if not done so already.20150525_115615
  3. Cut top off Garlic, covering in oil and roasting in 350/375F oven until browned and soft inside, if using.20150525_105406
  4. Remove each, mash the potatoes (reserving Potato Water for use) and squeeze out the soft roasted garlic. Reserve for use.20150525_122333
  5. Stir together Flour, Salt, Black Pepper, and Yeast.20150525_122909
  6. Add Big, Potatoes, Olive Oil, Rosemary, and ¾ cup + 2 Tb potato water.20150525_123511
  7. Stir on low speed in electric mixer with paddle attachment for 1 minute, until ingredients form together, adding more water to gather up excess flour and more flour if too sticky.20150525_125010
  8. Switch paddle out with dough hook and knead on medium speed for about 6 minutes, adding more flour/water as needed, until soft, supple, and passing the windowpane test.20150525_125124
  9. Flatten dough on a lightly floured surface, spreading the roasted garlic (chopped or pasted) over the top, folding it in and kneading briefly to incorporate.20150525_125302
  10. Divide dough in two, or how many lobes one is looking to cook, and transfer to oiled bowl, rolling to coat. Cover plastic and bulk ferment 2 hours, until doubled.20150525_144155
  11. Remove and shape, on a lightly floured surface (helps if somewhat sticky or oily), into a boule as detailed Here.20150525_144820
  12. Transfer to a parchment-covered sheet tray that’s been dusted with Semolina/Cornmeal, mist with spray oil, and loosely cover. Proof 1-2 hours, until doubled in size.20150525_145015
  13. Heat oven to 400F
  14. When ready, lightly brush Olive Oil over the top, and lightly score/slice with razor if desired (definitely not required).20150525_164445
  15. Bake 20 minutes, rotate 180F, and then bake 15-25 minutes longer, until rich golden brown and making a hollow sound when thumped. Note this time is for bigger loaves, if cut smaller than less time is needed (but keep same temperature).20150525_172855
  16. Remove, cool up to 1 hour if desired or cut while hot, spreading with butter for easy enjoyment. Also goes good with pasta.20150525_173114

Biga (scaled to fit)
4.38 oz Bread Flour
0.02 oz (a bit under ¼ tsp) Dry Yeast
2.75-3 oz (around 3/8 cup) Water, room temp


  1. Stir together Flour and Yeast, slowly adding in water until everything comes into a coarse ball, adjusting as needed so not too sticky or stiff.20150524_103752
  2. Sprinkle flour on counter, knead 3-6 minutes, until soft, pliable, and tacky.20150524_104246
  3. Oil bowl, transfer dough, cover plastic and ferment 2-4 hours at room temp, until nearly doubled.20150524_133340
  4. Knead dough briefly to degas, return to covered bowl and place in fridge overnight or up to 3 days.

What Have I Learned This Time?

The fact that maybe I should make the effort to knead by hand for every recipe but the most annoying (ie, enriched doughs and other); pretty sure I over kneaded again after taking my eyes off the mixer to do other things, despite the fact it wasn’t for long, because it just got sticky and wouldn’t fix even after adding flour and further machine kneading. The results are still quite delicious, but it’d be nice to have that extra bit of control.

Speaking of over kneading, I think I see a commonality of results, aka the notable effect of it, between the two doughs I know I’ve done it to. The crust on both this and the Anadama both had a certain kind of thick, layered hard flake crustiness to it. Though that could just be a coincidence among both breads, it will be interesting if this result comes again in the future with other potentially over-kneaded projects.

Got a better idea and feel scoring bread, such as how deep for the ideal look, and a definite reminder on what kinds of bread this is really made for.

So far the results for pre-fermenting dough division seem quite positive! Boules seemed quite gassy for their consistency, though that probably isn’t ideally desired for this bread. I have high hopes for future projects in this sense!

The extra two days did seem to improve the flavor a bit, the final bread reminding me very much of one of my favorites, focaccia (so a little more richness and flavor depth). It is quite noted though that, unless a recipe states the ability to do this (like with enriched doughs), the dough will very likely need de-gassing at least once during this, so trying to keep a proofed shape is often unlikely. As such any future attempts I make at this will probably be just putting bulk-fermented (or pre-bulk-fermented), non-shaped dough in the fridge.

Potato bread doesn’t taste that much like potatoes… hmmmmm… further experiments must be done! (and fun, more intense potato-based recipes explored)

Any Thoughts?

My rosemary smells a bit like sage… huh. Oh, and next time I want a LOT more garlic, kept in chunks somehow… it nummy when done right.

Does the Dough Like Me Yet?

It’s gone back to full indifference.