How to Bake the Perfect Potato Bread
As lockdowns continue and whispers spread about e-learning extending through the fall, it always helps to turn to the most basic forms of comfort known to man: food, the satisfaction of making something with your hands, and putting something up on your Insta that makes Caren White seethe with glutinous rage. With that in mind, I am happy to share the method for making my perfect (and perfectly vegan!) potato bread.
1 cup mashed russet potatoes
½ cup silken tofu
½ cup granulated sugar, divided (Note- this is a double recipe, so don’t let the amount of sugar scare you! This bread has less sugar than most loaves of white bread.)
1 tsp. salt
1 package dry yeast
½ cup hot water
4-5 cup flour
1 stick margarine, room temperature (Most margarine is vegan, but double-check that no animal products are included.)
- Throw the potatoes, tofu, ¼ cup of sugar, salt, yeast, water, and 2 cups of the flour into your standing mixer. Marvel at the simplicity of your existence while you delegate simple mixing to a household robot and wonder how long it’s going to be before you have to put on a bra again. When the slop inside forms a rough batter, cover it with plastic wrap and set it aside for 1.5 hours. That’s just long enough to fight with your kids over their schoolwork, give up on it, and send them into another room to play by promising them unlimited screen time after the bread is done.
- Cream the margarine with the remaining sugar. Beat down your dough, and stir the margarine in. Then add the rest of the flour ½ cup at a time with a wooden spoon, wondering why you don’t have a robot for this part of the process. Why did your high school cut home economics when so many critical adulthood skills in these critical years of your life amount to little more than an episode of Little House on the Prairie? Take a quick break to look on Amazon for bows and arrows and ask yourself if you have it in you to go hunt rabbits if the food supply chain completely fails. Remember you are still baking and keep stirring. The dough should be shaggy and clean the sides of your bowl. If it’s sticky, add a bit of extra flour. If it’s not, dump it onto a lightly floured surface and order the bow and arrows. They’re surprisingly affordable, and you can have fun pretending to be William Tell with the kids later. Wonder why your high school history classes never taught you what happened to William Tell’s kids.
- Knead the dough for ten minutes. Spend the entire time thinking about William Tell. Who the hell was he, anyway? How many times did he miss doing that trick? How many kids did he start out with, to get one big success story? This story sounds really American, it involves shooting and apples, and you’re pretty sure William Tell is an American-sounding name. But do you actually know ANYTHING about him? Why would you shoot an apple off somebody’s head?
- When the dough is smooth and elastic and stretches neatly between your hands, put it in the bowl, pat it down with something greasy, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and google William Tell. He was Swiss! He was a fucking assassin! You know the name “Hapsburg” looks familiar, so go down that Wikipedia rabbit hole. Then remember that you’re only supposed to let the bread do its second rise for 1.5 hours and you barely have enough time left to watch that episode of 30 Rock where Peewee Herman plays a Hapsburg prince, so you might as well watch that instead of using a timer. Glory at the comedic genius of Isabella Rossellini.
- If you poke the dough and the dent stays, it’s ready to shape. Knead it on the floured surface for a few seconds to get the extra air out, then cut it in half. Roll each half into a ball, cover them with a towel, and let them rest about three minutes. That’s long enough to wash the bowl and wooden spoon and beater, but you know you’re just going to spend it looking into Brendan Fraser’s lawsuit over the ill-fated The Legend of William Tell.
- Press each ball into a flat oval about the ledge of the bread pan. Fold each in half lengthwise, then pinch the seam tightly, and tuck the ends under. Then put them into greased 8”x4” bread pans, seams down. Cover them with wax paper and set them on the stove while you preheat the oven to 375º. It will take about 40 minutes for them to rise, which is long enough to learn everything about Brendan Fraser and all the bizarre and terrible things that happened to him after the Mummy movies, and for you to form absolutely concrete opinions on his importance as a Very Good Man Who Loves Horses and Should Be Protected.
- Bake your bread for about 40 minutes, until it’s golden brown. Use this time to write a series of tweets about how perfect and floppy Brendan Fraser’s hair is, and then delete them because your mom follows you on Twitter and you know that would get weird at the family Zoom.
- While your loaves cool on a wire rack, figure out if The Mummy is on any of your streaming services. It is, and you remember it being family-friendly, so call the kids in, slice up the first loaf and open a jar of peanut butter, and recoil in horror if your kids don’t immediately love it. Eat your feelings in the form of warm potato bread. Post pictures of your loaf on Instagram with the hashtag #freebrendanfraser. Repeat when you’re ready to watch The Mummy Returns.
Written by: Lea Grover