Potatoes originated in the Americas but became a worldwide obsession once discovered by European colonists. Upon the arrival of potatoes to European shores, the local populace married the New World with the Old World by incorporating potatoes into traditional recipes. One famous example is Italian gnocchi: bite-sized pasta dumplings made from flour and potato pulp. A lesser-known yet equally delicious marriage of Old and New World traditions is German Kartoffelbrot, a soft and fluffy bread with a crispy crust that brings new life to mashed potatoes.
Translated as "potato bread," Kartoffelbrot is a simple recipe that rises quickly, making it an easy bread to bake at home. A basic recipe consists of yeast, oil, and equal parts mashed potatoes and flour blended and kneaded into a boule and left to rise for two separate 30-minute periods before baking. However, some recipes swap wheat flour for spelt or rye. A German-Jewish version of Kartoffelbrot, known as Berches, twists and braids the dough before brushing it with egg wash and baking it, similar to Challah.
The mashed potatoes are key to the soft and fluffy consistency of the crumb and earthy richness of Kartoffelbrot's flavor profile. Furthermore, the water used to boil the potatoes is reserved to proof the yeast, further ensuring a soft, pillowy crumb. Unlike American potato buns or dinner rolls, Kartoffelbrot has a crisp, crunchy crust for a wonderful textural contrast.
Read more: 23 Types Of Potatoes And When To Use Them
Kartoffelbrot: Tips And Flavor Pairings
Kartoffelbrot recipes call for boiling and mashing potatoes for the dough, but leftover mashed potatoes would be a resourceful and delicious substitute. The butter and dairy in mashed potatoes would only add richness to Kartoffelbrot's flavor profile without detracting from its texture. In fact, you could create new variations of Kartoffelbrot by using flavored mashed potatoes, like sour cream and chive, roasted garlic, or cheese and bacon.
The key to achieving a crunchy exterior on your potato loaf is steam. A quick steam during the first five minutes of the baking process is all it takes, and you have two methods of execution: You can either spray the sides of your oven with water every few minutes for the first five minutes or place a pan with boiling water under the oven rack where you've placed the bread to steam for five minutes. During the remaining 40 to 45 minutes of baking, the steam reacts with the bread's yeast to create a perfectly crusty boule. Kartoffelbrot is a delicious accompaniment to stews, soups, toasts, and sandwiches. Even a simple slice with butter would make a perfect afternoon snack.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.