potato bread with rosemary



so i was in prague. and it rained. all day. from monday to friday. dont missunderstand me. prague is a nice city. i remember spending a fun holiday there with my friend christoph and we ate so many "knödels" - oh - they had to roll us back home. this time was different. i was working and doing recordings when there is a constant thunderstorm going on is kind of a pain in the back. and: the city still has a lot of charm but looks pretty much like any other shopping-crazy city in europe (again: dont missunderstand, i like shopping...). but: it was raining. and the food was just awful. so when i was back home, i was DESPERATE to bake something really, really nice. something that fills the whole house with a beautiful scent - something that just smells like home.
such a thing like a potato bread. when i was a kid, we usually had potato bread from "migros" (swiss grocery store) for tea, with some fresh butter and jam or a slice of ham. unfortunately "migros" doesnt bake this kind of bread any more. so it was about time i came up with my own recipe. since potatoes go so well with herbs, i decided to flavour the dough with some rosemary (you could use thyme, sage, cumin or really whatever is available). i was just the proudest baker in the whole wide world when this bread came out of the oven. with a wonderful crust. and amazing smell. well, really everything you need when you are happy to be back at home.

RECIPE
1kg floury potatoes
4 teaspoons of salt
about 1,25ml (or 1/2 a cup) of reserved water from boiled potatoes
20g fresh yeast
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
600g flour

wash and peel potatoes, cut in small cubes and boil until soft in a pot with salted water (use 2 of the 4 teaspoons of salt for this). when soft, drain in a colander and let rinse until potatoes are cool and dry. make sure they are dry before you continue with the recipe.
mix fresh yeast in the reserved potato water and mix until creamy. turn the potatoes into a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mash. with mixer on low speed, add yeast, olive oil, chopped rosemary and mix until incorporated.
then replace the paddle with a dough hook and add the flour & remaining 2 teaspoons of salt bit by bit until incorporated. dont be surprised if the dough looks like a big disaster in the beginning, it takes some time (about 10 - 15 minutes or so) until it comes together to a beautiful, nice dough - almost brioche-like! mix until the dough on the hook cleanes the sides of the bowl but is still pooling at the bottom.
cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for half an hour.

heat the oven to 190 c° - fill spray bottle with water.
place a linen towel on a baking sheet and rub well with flour. divide the dough in 2 pieces, form a ball, then flatten into a disk. roll the dough up into a roll (that looks a bit like a rugby ball...). place the loaves -seam side down- on the prepared towel, dust with some flour and cover with another towel. let rise for another 20 minutes.

when ready to bake, spray the oven walls with water and immediately close the open doors to trap the steam! turn breads on a sheet with baking paper and transfer to the oven. spray the oven with water again and bake breads for about 50 minutes - or until the crust has browned nicely. might be a very dark brown, dont worry!
remove the breads from oven and let cool on a rack for at least 20 minutes.

serve still warm with jam, cheese or -this is delicious! - fresh butter!