Whole Wheat Potato Bread

Potato Bread

There are few smells that can rival that of fresh bread baking in the oven. I tried my first bread with trepidation many years ago. I was afraid not because I thought it to be a daunting task, but because I had no special ingredients – just regular maida (all purpose flour) and atta, Indian whole wheat flour. All those years ago it was difficult to find even reliable yeast granules. But bread baking has been easy and frequent since my sister became the yeast supplier. Thank you, Minnie.

But, potential bakers of the land, don’t despair. That problem is history too. I recently bought an industrial size half-kilo pack of yeast manufactured and packed right here in Delhi. So, you are all set. Don’t have fancy bread flour, gluten, or KitchenAid-type equipment – neither did the people who discovered bread making. Indeed, the French are trying to move back to pre-modern ways of bread making to recapture the taste of real bread. You will need a good oven though.

The French baguette that I ate at a small decrepit Parisian bed-and-breakfast place long time ago was my first taste of real bread. The place didn’t have showers included but the baguette was. (Did you know that one can rent a hotel room in Europe and not get an attached bathroom?) I marveled at the crusty bread with the holey soft white interior. Butter was all that was needed.

While I haven’t yet come around to baking the baguette (there is a recipe I have been eyeing for years), I do bake loaves of plain, no-fuss, whole wheat bread now and then. When I prepare non-Asian food, I will often, put some fresh rolls to bake in the oven. The thing with home-made bread is that it gets noticed, and everyone will rave about it. Even picky teens. Be assured that the ones who are quiet have been rendered speechless by your obvious proficiency. You are Annapurna personified.

Pizza is an easy bread to start with – it will help you get over your fear of bread-making, if you feel any. This is a very forgiving dough. Thin-crust pizzas can be made without any leavening even.

Bagels Once, you’ve made the pizza a couple of times, you’ll be hungry for more. More kinds of bread. You can try making this dough into dinner rolls. RollsFor a more traditional loaf shape you are going to need loaf tins. If you are done experimenting with loaves and other shapes, you could try your hand at making these beautiful and bestest bagels! Make them regular size or these oh-so-cute mini sized.

Mini Bagels

These last couple of weeks I have been reading A Year in Bread, bread making adventures of Kevin, Beth, and Susan. Beth recently wrote about her Potato Bread, and mentioned that it might adapt well to a whole-wheat situation. That is right up my alley for you surely know by now that I have to replace half the all purpose flour in most recipes with good wholesome atta. Even in chocolate chip cookies! Makes you feel that much better when your kid bites into it.

Susan advises, “It is better to bake one bread twenty times than to make twenty breads one time.” By now I know my basic bread dough well. And if, as Beth suggested, the addition of mashed potatoes makes for a softer bread, then that is the tweaking my whole wheat bread could well use.

Potato Bread

So here is the standard recipe with just a few tweaks. This recipe uses no sugar and less yeast, but with my kitchen at 30 degrees centigrade, you cannot but rise quickly to the occasion. I did make a few changes to the basic method as were suggested by Beth.

And I had a fine and dandy bread. Much much softer; three hours of cooling was not enough to get great looking slices. We finished an entire loaf for dinner (4 servings). Only next morning, after overnight refrigeration, was I able to slice it properly. I couldn’t tell any difference in taste, but it made for a much softer crumb.

Whole grain breads are good, but home-made whole wheat bread is an entirely different animal. Tastes best smothered with good butter (such as Amul’s) fresh out of the oven, or toasted next day and smothered with aforementioned butter.

Potato Bread
Whole Wheat Potato Bread
Based on Beth’s Potato Bread

3 C atta (or whole wheat flour)
3+ C water
2 t yeast
2 medium potatoes (about 1 ½ C), boiled, peeled, and mashed
3 C maida (all purpose flour)
2 T oil
1 T salt
1 ½ t Italian herbs (optional)

In a large mixing bowl combine atta, yeast and as much water as needed to make a wet sponge (consistency of a thick batter). Set aside for 10 minutes so that the flour can hydrated well. You will need less water if you are using only refined white flour. Add the mashed potatoes, oil, and 2 C of all purpose flour, and mix till well combined. Add more water if you need – you should have a slightly sticky dough. Let rest for 20 min.

Flour the counter top with the remaining flour and turn the dough on to it. Sprinkle with salt and any herbs you may be using. Knead for 5 min using additional flour if required, to produce a smooth, soft, but not sticky ball of dough. Oil a bowl, put the dough into it, flip the ball of dough over so that there is a thin film of oil all around. Cover and let rise till doubled (about an hour).

Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface, lightly punch down, and divide into two. Shape dough into two loaves and put into greased loaf pans. Cover loosely and proof till doubled (about an hour and half). Whole wheat flour is heavy and allowing it to double in bulk will ensure a lighter crumb.

Bake in a pre-heated oven (375 degrees or Gas Mark 5) for 20-30 min till golden. These got done really quick this time around. My kitchen was filling up with the heavenly smell within just 10 min of baking. I checked in 20 minutes and they were ready to come out.

Cool completely, preferably overnight, before slicing. Serve with salted butter, maybe some jam, and the mandatory cup of tea. With milk and sugar.

And this I am taking to Meeta’s Birthday Bash. I know she’s got a loaded table groaning with all sorts of goodies…but I also know she likes a good loaf of bread. And this loaf is as good as it gets. There will be all the sauces from all those dishes, and what better to mop them off with! Happy Birthday, Meeta! Use the leftovers (if there are any) for breakfast next morning!

42 thoughts on “Whole Wheat Potato Bread

  1. your bread looks fabulous. i am a true convert to the idea of sneaking potato into bread – any bread. our naan recipe has it,
    and believe me, adding potato makes for the fluffiest, most flavourful naans. the potato pizza dough in rose levy berenbaum’s ‘bread bible’ is supposed to be outstanding.

    Now, I must put potato in my pizza dough and see for myself. Thanks for the tip.

  2. What an amzing co-incidence. I was wondering only recently about your bread baking…after all your post on bread that was published almost a year ago was what attracted me to your blog in the first place 🙂

    The thing is I bake the same bread again and again! But it is so good! Must get to the baguette one of these days.
    I remember that post – I enjoyed writing it!

  3. Deep bows to the breadmaster! Will you be my guru?

    It’s no big deal really. Much easier than making 50 phulkas, I will let you know. And as tasty – you try it just once and you’ll know. I will bet the whole family will love it.

  4. Oh dough-wale, these are beautiful indeed!

    Thank you, dear friend. Chocolate bagels anytime?

  5. Anita Wow it looks really soft and evenly porous! I made your whole wheat bread and understood why you call it a gorgeous taste! But shh…until I post it.

    This is Anjali’s other self speaking 😆 , the one that likes to bake! So you did get around to the whole wheat bread finally!

  6. wow, your bread looks so good, me too has this fear of baking breads… never tried it and getting inspired by your post….

    Well, come bake with me!

  7. Magical bagels…whoa! and very nice…you even have cornmeal on the bottoms! I know just how they feel, having been to the beach…

    🙂 I was using semolina, but same gritty texture.

  8. Dear Anita….this bread is something i am surely going to try…your visit and words of encouragement made me hurrah with happiness…thanks so much…

    A good beginning, Arundati. A very warm welcome to you.

  9. Anita! I am so busy right now with deadlines and all but I’ve just stopped by here and now you have me wanting to abandon all that I <i>have</i> to get done and am doing and to go make bread! Why, why would you do such a thing to a person? Why? Answer me. 😀 I love making bread and you are right, every time, every-single-time, people rave. Ah, the magic of flour, yeast and water.
    Your spread here is making me stare at this computer screen longer than is necessary. Love it all.

    True, that is the magical power of flour, yeast, and water! You might as well bake some, so that you may return to other important things! 😀

  10. So is that a yes or is that a polite no without saying anything!

    When would you like to start, dear?
    Lesson No 1: That is not the tone to take with your guru. :sweet smile:

  11. Those are the kind of words I’d like to learn…

    “…something or other and all that?” 🙂
    For that you have to live and breathe the country – live here for some time!

  12. Wow Anita, that looks wonderful! Very professional! Did you add the herbs, you mentioned it is optional. I am imagining this bread with a little rosemary and crushed garlic added to the dough….yummmm…
    I’d never attempt to make bread at home though… 🙂 I’m afraid of any recipe that requires a strict following of the instructions… I am all about mixing this and that and hoping for the best :).. So I’m just going to look at the picture and drool, and probably go to the bakery next door and pick up some good bread tomorrow 🙂

    Yes, I did add dried Italian herb mix, although fresh rosemary would have been wonderful. The garlic I was able to bring in with some garlic butter!

    Bread making is not as unforgiving as it may seem – it is not at all a strict recipe. If you check the different recipes linked here you will see how much leeway there is for every ingredient. Just throw together some yeast, water, and flour, and be amazed at ‘your’ work!
    But if you have a good bakery next door – why bother! It has been more out of necessity for me. Want bagels – gotta make them. Whole wheat bread? Bake it!

  13. I was waiting to get a Kitchen aid mixer to start making bread at home. Then I found a recipe for olive bread which included instructions for kneading with your hands. It was one of the best breads ever and I have almost entirely given up on the idea of the KitchenAid.
    There is nothing like the smell and taste of home cooked bread. And you are right, improves your standing in the household.

    Hey, Giniann. We always end up having too much kitchen equipment – now there is no room for more. I would like to have the pasta machine though – though that can also be rolled… 🙂

    That olive bread you talk about – you have the recipe on your blog?

  14. Or I have one from Turkey…uses the oil-cured ones. I’ve never heard that expression before either…”fiddlesticks”, yes…high society ladies use it as a replacement for improper 4-letter words.

    …and bobbie-pins? You came up with that?

    🙂 Are you a little annoyed then?

  15. Eh…at least this time I’m not being achaar’d or chatni’d… 😀

    Now, I would never do that. It was that girl Manisha – she wanted to pickle one of us and make chatni with the other. And what would she have done for friends then? You can’t eat your cake and have it too! 😆

  16. Hi Anita
    I chanced upon your food blog & am hooked!! Just love it!! How do you do it!! Amazing!!!!!
    I loved this recipe of potato bread…but was wondering, can it be made in a micro-oven? I dont have a traditional oven….as u can tell i am a new entrant into the wonderful world of cooking!! Please help me with that!! I would love to surprise my husband with this freshly baked bread!!
    Warm Regards

    Hi Sumita. Welcome to AMTP!

    I have never made bread in a microwave oven…but you could give it a try. Just halve or quarter the recipe and see how it turns out…You may want to check other microwave bread recipes to know on what temperature to bake and for how long.

    1. Sumita, does your microwave oven have a convection mode as well? if so then you can definitely bake bread in it using the normal recipes. All the breads on my blog have been baked in a microwave cum convection oven.
      For using the microwave to bake – I’m not sure, you would have to look up on the net

  17. Hello there! Your recipies are amazing and your breads are to die for! Please do me a favour and tell me what brand of dry yeast you used. I stay in Delhi and once upon a time there was a lovely brand called Four Seasons (God bless their soul)which made lovely yeast which gave me the most heavenly breads. However, they disappeared into the vast unknown and whichever brand of yeast I tried out since then has sadly disappointed me. I dare not venture into bread making now. Please please tell me a good brand of local yeast and where it is available!

    Hi, AJ. Welcome to A Mad Tea Party!

    That’s the brand, and it is still available! I sent a 1kg (industrial) pack to a friend in Bombay recently. I sourced it from my friendly-neighbourhood grocer who gets it from Old Delhi…He’s usually makes smaller 50gm packs for retail sale.

    E-mail your address and I can send some over… 😀

  18. Oh, I must be dull today. I don’t get Four Seasons in South Delhi anywhere! Can you tell me where to get it, please?

    I found it at my friendly neighbourhood grocer who gets the big pack from Old Delhi.

  19. I bought whole wheat potato bread with jack cheese and jalapenos from the Farmer’s Market the other day. Wow! It was terrific! Reminded me of this bread – so will prob try it as the days grow shorter and cooler.

    I was happy how soft my bread got with the addition of potato. I have been urging you to try it…and now that your oven is fixed…

  20. Anita,
    My sister has sent me a breadmaker machine- which I dont use- and some 50 packs of breadmaker yeast. Can I use the breadmaker yeast in your recipe with a traditional oven?
    Thanks, Anjali

    Not that I have used breadmaker-yeast but I would think it should work… Yeast is yeast, right? I’d go ahead and give it a try before it becomes stale. Do test it for freshness though.

  21. Hi Manisha.
    Am just starting to bake and am hooked onto making the perfect loaf of bread. Am still trying with APF ( I know its bad but it is just to get the hang of bread making till I am confident to switch to whole wheat). 🙂 Of course it is also a good excuse. I just wanted to know how do you get such a beautiful crust. I am paranoid about burning the bread so shut my oven by 35 mins. I also use a electric oven. Any tips ? My crusts are firm but they dont turn that brown.

  22. Hi Anita,
    Been a longtime reader of your blog and love your narrative style.
    I am writing today to let you know that I have tried your whole wheat potato bread a couple of times now. Today was the third attempt and it was absolutely perfect! Had some homemade butter and homemade jam to go with it. My 8 year old refuses to eat any more store bought bread. This recipe has been working really well for me, I bake one loaf and freeze one for later in the week. Very grateful for this recipe.

    Isn’t it great when we see our little ones can tell the difference between good food and poor food! Thanks for reading, Marietta!

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