Oats and Potatoes. Two ingredients which can evoke visions of the Emerald Isle all on their own and go together so well in this Oat & Potato Bread. I baked a loaf of this bread the other day and loved it so much I just knew I had to share it with you for St. Patrick’s Day. This bread is quite soft and moist. It is wonderful as a sandwich loaf but also toasts beautifully to serve with your Traditional Irish fry for breakfast. Now, I love Irish Brown Bread. I can’t get enough of the stuff. But I do have a good number of friends who seem to be a bit challenged by that rough, whole wheat texture. This Oat & Potato Bread is a great soft bread alternative to have on hand for those folks.
This recipe uses freshly cooked potatoes, but you can use left over mashed potatoes to make this bread if you happen to have any on hand. I’m pretty certain I never will because my husband and I both LOVE Potato Farls. I know that any leftover mashed potatoes are automatically earmarked as “farl potatoes”. We are so obsessed with Potato Farls that I will even make up a batch of mashed potatoes, not so much because I want to serve them with dinner, but just becaue I’ve noticed that we don’t have anymore of our farls in the freezer. Oh yes folks….farls freeze wonderfully. You just take them out of the freezer and pop them directly into the hot oil-preferably bacon grease-and they fry up wonderfully golden and crispy. And then there is Boxty in the Pan, another great Irish bread that is made with left over mashed potatoes. It is baked in a pan, then fried up on a griddle and drizzled with honey. Yum! But I digress….we are talking about Oat & Potato Bread now, which is so delicious that you won’t hesitate to cook some potatoes up fresh if there aren’t any leftovers around!
Unlike Irish Soda Bread and Irish Brown Bread, which use baking soda as leavener, or my Cheddar & Chive Guinness Bread which uses Guinness as a leavener, this bread does require yeast. Now don’t freak out…I can tell, you’re freaking out. I used to freak out at the mere mention of yeast. But really, there is no need. You can do this. Just make sure you plan ahead, because as with all yeast breads, there are a couple rising times involved here. It is a bit of work, but believe me, you will be thrilled with your finished loaf. Not to mention, your house will smell phenomenal! This bread will go perfectly with all of your St. Patrick’s Day dishes, especially when it is slathered with Kerrygold Irish Butter!
Oat & Potato Bread
recipe adapted from: The Complete Irish Pub Cookbook
Yield: One 5X9″ loaf
- vegetable oil, for oiling
- 2 starchy potatoes, such as russets or Yukon gold, cut into even chunks
- 3 2/3 cup white bread flour, plus extra for dusting ( I prefer King Arthur Bread Flour)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3 Tablespoons salted Irish butter, diced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, firmly packed
- 3 Tablespoons rolled oats
- 2 Tablespoons dry skim milk
- 1 cup lukewarm water (98 -105° F or 36.5 -40.5° C)
- 1 Tablespoon water
- 1 Tablespoon rolled oats
Oil a 5X9″ loaf pan. Put the potatoes in a large saucepan, add water to cover, and bring to a boil. Cook for 20-25 minutes, until tender. Drain, then mash until smooth. Let cool.
Sift the flour and salt into a warm bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips. Stir in the yeast, sugar, oats, and dry milk. Mix in the mashed potatoes, then add the water and mix to a soft dough. (Or you can follow this “High Tech. Version” -if you have a food processor and stand mixer: Place flour and salt in bowl of processor. Pulse a couple times to combine. Add butter and pulse until flour mixture resembles coarse sand. Put flour/butter mixture into bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add yeast, sugar oats and dry milk. Mix on low to combine. Add the mashed potatoes and mix on low until incorporated. Add the water and mix until you have a soft dough.)
*Note* I had to add an extra half cup of flour to get the dough to reach soft dough stage. The dough should be sticky to tacky to the touch. Sticky means if you touch the dough with a dry finger, it will stick to it. Tacky is more like a post it note where it feels like it will stick at first but you are able to peel it off easily. You can also judge the state of the dough by how it looks in the mixing bowl. If it has pulled away from the sides of the bowl and only a bit remains stuck to the bowl at the bottom, it is likely ready to be kneaded.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. (High Tech. Version: Attach the dough hook and knead on low speed for about 8 minutes, or until smooth and elastic).
Put the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
Invert the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead lgihtly. Shape into a loaf and transfer to the prepared pan.
*Note* To shape dough into a loaf, flatten it into a 5X8″ rectangle. Roll into a log starting from the 5″ end. Pinch the seam closed and gently roll the loaf back and forth on the counter to smooth it out. Place the loaf in the prepared pan with the seam side down.
Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F.
Brush the surface of the loaf with the water and carefully sprinkle oats over the top. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool slightly. Serve warm.