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With ginger, mashed potatoes and some of the water you used to boil the potatoes in the mix, this beautiful bread bakes up into nicely textured loaves with deep-orange hued crusts. I like to braid and curl the dough into rounds topped with little quail eggs for an Easter-y spring celebratory brunch.
The scent as they bake is divine! It’s delicious warm fresh out of the oven–equally good toasted, spread with butter or mascarpone, and perhaps a drizzle of honey .
- Makes 4 small round loaves
- 1 dozen hard boiled quail eggs
- 3 small potatoes, peeled, and cubed to make 1 cup of mashed (You will use ½ cup of the water used to cook the potatoes in the dough)
- 2 envelopes active dry yeast
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- ½ cup each whole milk and butter
- 1 tsp salt
- 6 extra-large eggs, beaten (Reserve 1 Tbsp of the beaten eggs for egg wash)
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 7 cups flour, divided
- 1 Tbsp melted butter, to brush on baked loaves, for extra sheen, if desired
- In a sauce pot over medium heat, simmer potatoes in 2 cups water until tender. Save the potato water by draining the potatoes in a colander placed over a bowl. Mash potatoes to make 1 cup mashed.
- In a large bowl, add ½ cup of the water you used to boil the potatoes. Stir in the yeast and 3 Tbsp sugar until dissolved. Add mashed potato and ginger, stir until smooth. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise until doubled in bulk.
- In a microwave at 50% power, heat milk until luke warm. Melt butter. Combine milk with salt and butter. Set aside to reach room temperature.
- Beat eggs until light. Gradually beat in 1 ½ cups sugar. Combine egg/sugar mixture yeast/potato mixture, blending well. Sift in 2 cups of the flour and mix to combine. Add the melted butter/milk mixture. Add two more cups of flour beating for five minutes. Gradually add in two more cups of flour beating until dough gathers up. On a clean work surface, sprinkle the remaining cup of flour and knead the dough for 10 minutes. Turn dough into a well-oiled large bowl, turning once to coat. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in bulk. Punch down. Place dough on floured board and divide into four parts. Working with one dough ball at a time, divide each into three parts, rolling the three pieces into long ropes. Working with three of the ropes, braid. Coil the braid, tucking ends under to make a round. Repeat to make four loaves. Coat quail egg shells with a little oil by rolling them in your palms, tuck eggs into the indents in the braids of the loaves. Cover lightly with plastic wrap you’ve sprayed with oil. Let rise until doubled in bulk. Combine reserved 1 Tbsp of beaten egg with 1 tsp of water; brush loaves, avoiding the tucked-in quail eggs. Position baking rack at center of oven; preheat to 350. Bake loaves for 35 minutes until deeply golden hued. To give the finished loaves a little extra shine, brush lightly with a tiny bit of melted butter. Serve fresh and warm, or, cool loaves, toast slices and spread with butter.
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