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Thursday, February 07, 2008
Leftover Mash = Potato Bread

After our wild night of haggis, neeps, and tatties, we had a least half a stockpot full of my husbands' famous, delicious, light and fluffy mashed potatoes. The only reason they hadn't been demolished during our Burns Night feast is because we stowed them away on top of the fridge and promptly forgot about them in our whisky-induced haze. Fortunately they were discovered before the night was over, and secured for later use.

But what do you do with all those leftover clouds of deliciousness? I have a knack for making way too much food, so this is often a question I ask myself or pose to those around me. Mostly my husband. Who agrees wholeheartedly that I like to cook for an army. Or at least a family of 10.

Anyway, faced with a giant pot of mash, I starting flipping through cookbooks and searching online, trying to think about what I could make. I mean, who isn't often left with extra mashed potatoes?

Ok, so here are some ideas I came up with:
• tattie scones (which I made from my Scots Cooking Cookbook, and were delicious)
• potato-leek soup (just add chicken broth and sauteed leeks to the mash, and warm through)
• any kind of pie with mashed potato topping: shepherd's or cottage pie, chicken pot pie, roasted root vegetable pie
• potato bread

I adapted this recipe from an old one I found by Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger. It turned out delicious. And it filled our house with that amazing home-baked smell of fresh bread.

Potato Bread

1 1/4 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup mashed potatoes, warmed
2 packages active dry yeast
5 cups bread flour

1. In a saucepan, combine the milk, butter, salt and sugar. Warm over medium heat just until steaming. Stir in the mashed potatoes, then set aside to cool to room temperature.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine the yeast with 1/3 cup warm water (about 105°F), stir, and set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes. When the potato mixture has cooled, add it to the yeast mixture.

3. Add 4 cups of the bread flour. Using an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix until the dough starts to come together (you can also use a wooden spoon and elbow grease!). Add up to 1 cup more flour, kneading with the dough hook (or your hands), until the dough is smooth, about 5 minutes.

4. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for a minute or two with your hands. Get your hands in that dough! Form the dough into a ball. Grease up the mixing bowl with butter. Place the dough into the buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in warm place (like inside your oven, but don't turn it on!) to rise about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

5. Butter two standard loaf pans. Dump the dough out of the bowl onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide it into two equal pieces. Flatten one piece into a thick even square that is as wide as your loaf pan is long. Starting at one end, tightly roll the piece of dough into a tube. Pinch the seam together and place the dough, seam side down, into the loaf pan. Repeat with the other piece of dough. Cover each loaf with plastic wrap, and let them proof (rise) until doubled, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Don't let them over-proof though, or they will collapse in the oven.

6. When the loaves are about 1/2 hour from proofing, preheat oven to 375°F. Bake the loaves for about 25 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown, and sounds hollow when you tap the top of the loaf.

This bread is the ultimate versatile white bread. Great for toast and sandwiches, and it even makes mean French toast. Oh and for those of you trying to figure out what to do with all that leftover haggis (we had not a whisper left), here are some ideas.

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