While I really love and adore the French and Italian white breads, I was brought up on Danish rye bread, which, usually, uses more or less 100% rye. Now, I’m not really ready to consume rye bread again after having sworn it off once I moved away from my parents, however, I’m usually coaxed into trying different kinds of breads with whole meat wheat, maize, or in this instance, potatoes and garlic.
We oven-roasted the potatoes as per Hamelman’s directions for optimum taste in his book Bread. Now, if you make the usual metric-based recipe from Hamelman’s book, you’d wind up with 27 loaves of about 600 grams each, and while it sounds tempting I neither have space enough in my oven, nor am I able to eat all that bread before it goes stale. Now, if you did create 27 loaves, you’d be needing about 30 grams of oven roasted garlic, but when you create what corresponds to 2 loaves of 600 grams each (in reality I made 4, each being about 300 grams), you would only need 3 grams of garlic, which is about a single clove. That is just overkill to ovenroast! So I fried it in a generous amount of oil instead.
Furthermore, Hamelman makes the suggestion not to remove the peel from the potatoes when you mash them to add some colour to the consistency of the bread. I am much too lazy to hand-mash potatoes, so I tossed them into my blender along with the 3 grams of garlic and let it run for a bit. It is an extremely efficient blender, really, as there was no hint of the roughness of the peel once it had mashed everything up for a bit.
The dough is somewhat denser than for instance ciabatta dough, which is due both to the wholemeal wheat used in it, but certainly also the potatoes that don’t release their moisture until later in the process. It is, at least, a lot easier to work with than the ciabatta dough that has a tendency to try to escape from my grasp at all times.
The potatoes add a nice bit of colouring to the bread and the crumb is somewhat denser than the loose, airy crumbs that I usually prefer, but I will have to agree with Hamelman, it’s got a nice, comfy taste, and the garlic adds a nice bit of ‘kick’ to it.
What has amazed me most about this bread is its keeping time. Normally the ciabatta becomes slightly stale after just two or three days, but the potato garlic bread is still good after 4 days. Sure, the crust is getting slightly chewy, but with some liver paté (in case you are wrinkling your nose at this, it’s a Danish tradition to eat it, and unlike the rye bread, I haven’t sworn this one off just yet), the bread still has a nice taste. Good for the times where you don’t have time to bake during the week.