Potato Bread

This is a light, smooth-textured bread which cuts well if kept for one day. Potato Bread may be used for open sandwiches or savoury gateaux. It is also delicious eaten on its own, spread with butter.

2-

2 oz. plus

1 teaspoon butter

2- oz. fresh yeast

1 tablespoon plus

½ teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons lukewarm water

3 medium-sized potatoes, cooked and mashed

10 fl. oz. m cups lukewarm milk

1 lb. flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives

Grease a 2-pound loaf tin with the tea-spoon of butter and set aside.

Crumble the yeast into a small bowl and mash in the ½ teaspoon of sugar with a kitchen fork. Add the water and cream the water and yeast together to form a smooth paste.

Place the potatoes in a warmed, large mixing bowl. Stir in the yeast mixture and 2 tablespoons of the lukewarm milk. Set the bowl aside in a warm, draught-free place for 20 minutes.

In a small saucepan, scald the remaining milk over moderately low heat (bring it to just below boiling point). Remove the pan from the heat and add the remaining butter, cut into small pieces. Stir until the butter has melted. Allow the milk and butter mixture to cool to lukewarm.

Sift the flour, the remaining sugar and the salt into the large mixing bowl. Stir in the chives. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the milk and butter mixture.

Using your fingers or a spatula, gradually draw the flour mixture into the liquid. Continue mixing until all the flour mixture is incorporated and the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn the dough out on to a floured board or marble slab and knead for about 10 minutes, reflouring the surface if the dough becomes sticky. The dough should be elastic and smooth.

Rinse, thoroughly dry and lightly grease the large mixing bowl. Shape the dough into a ball and return it to the bowl.

Cover with a clean, damp cloth. Set the bowl in a warm, draught-free place and leave it for U to 2 hours or until the dough has risen and has almost doubled in bulk.

Turn the risen dough out of the bowl on to a floured surface and knead for about 4 minutes. Roll and shape the dough into a loaf. Place the dough in the prepared tin, cover with a damp cloth and return to a warm place for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the dough has risen to the top of the tin.

Preheat the oven to very hot 450°F (Gas Mark 8, 230°C).

Place the tin in the centre of the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to fairly hot 375 °F (Gas

Mark 5, 190GC) and bake for a further 45 minutes.

After removing the bread from the oven, tip the loaf out and rap the under-side with your knuckles. If the bread sounds hollow, like a drum, it is cooked. If the bread does not sound hollow, reduce the oven temperature to moderate 350F (Gas

Mark 4, 180°C), return the loaf, upside-down, to the oven and bake for a further 10 minutes.

Place the loaf on a wire rack to cool.

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