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How to Make Potato Bread (Flying Glass Edition)

Before you do anything
Boil 1 potato, mash with milk and butter.

Bowl 1
Mix 3/4 cup flour with 1/4 teaspoon yeast, 1 tablespoon honey, 1/2 cup lukewarm potato water.

Bowl 2
Mix 1 1/4 cup flour with 3/4 teaspoon yeast. Sprinkle over contents of Bowl 1. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let alone for 1-3 hours.

The Risening
Add the mashed potatoes in there with everything else and mix until the dough comes away from the side of the bowl. Knead for five minutes on cutting board. Let rest under inverted bowl for 20 minutes. Knead five more minutes and return to bowl. Coat dough lightly with olive oil on all sides. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise 1-3 hours.

Remove dough to cutting board, flatten slightly and form into rectangle. Fold the dough business letter-style and return to bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise 1-3 hours.

Grease a bread pan and set dough down into it. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rise 1-3 hours.

The Bakening
One hour before the bread goes in, preheat your oven to 475° and put a metal baking sheet pan in there to get warm. You will be putting the bread pan on the baking sheet when you're ready to go.

Also, you're going to want steam in the oven when you begin baking so that the bread comes out chewier in the end, and also something about the crust. This is usually accomplished by putting a cast iron pan in the oven along with the baking sheet. Then, when you put the dough in, you throw some ice cubes into the cast iron and voila!, steam.

The Glassening
Not wanting to perhaps ruin a cast iron by letting water sit in it, I decided to use a Pyrex baking dish instead. I figured, "Hey, Pyrex is durable stuff. It can withstand the heat."

My former friend.

Heat? No problem. The sudden introduction of half a tray of ice after the dish has been sitting at 475° for over an hour? Turns out that's a problem. For about two seconds I thought, "Yum! Tasty bread here I come!" That was quickly replaced by, "Oh my god there's a piece of molten glass in my foot."

Yes, in my efforts to shut off the oven after the initial explosion, I must have stepped on one of the millions of shards littering the oven and its environs. Had I been a fugitive from justice, the police could have simply followed the trail of blood and found me frantic in the bathtub trying to stop the bleeding.

In the end, Rowan cleaned up most of the glass and I had to start wearing sandals again. It's pretty much okay now, due to my Wolverine-like healing abilities, but I shan't soon forget my lesson: even Pyrex is just glass sometimes.

If you still want to make the bread
Skip the bit about slicing the underside of your foot open and bake the bread at 475° for about five minutes. Then, lower the heat to 375° and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool at least an hour. Serve with butter and/or Neosporin™.

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Copyright © 2005-2013 Graham Cranfield