Tropical Storm Debby finally reached land late yesterday evening after churning in the Gulf of Mexico for 3 days, sending lots of wind and rain our way. The tides were extremely high, and that causes street flooding, which means that you don’t go anywhere unless you absolutely have to. So, the kids have not been going to camp. Dorothy was supposed to start a week of Comedy and Clowning Camp and the boys school converts into camp for the summer, so they’ve missed two days of that.For most of yesterday, the sun was shining, but the winds were still up, and the tides were really high. The storm moved incredibly slowly, it just sat there, sending bands of rain and wind (and tornados) out to our area.
This was taken on Sunday, when our dock was still in ‘good’ condition. the waves and high tide knocked David’s sunfish off the dock, and he hopped in to get it back.
The boat is (incredibly) still on the dock, but we’ve lost most of the planks–except for the ones the boat is sitting on. We’ve also lost the entire end platform of the dock. What’s left is a sad, sad carcas of a dock.
So, yesterday was the third day that we haven’t left the house. David went to work Monday and Tuesday. He left the house at about 1am on monday morning at low tide and slept the rest of the night at his office and worked all day. Monday evening he parked about a mile away from the house and walked in. Tuesday morning he walked back to the car and drove to work. Thankfully he was able to drive in last night. He grabbed some fresh fruit and milk from the hospital cafeteria for us on his way out yesterday. The kids–in all of their boredom–are eating us out of house and home.
Which brings me to this bread. We’re almost out of bread that I had (thankfully) stockpiled in the freezer when it was BOGO at Publix, and since nobody seems to know how much longer this storm will be with us, I decided to bake some bread today. I’ve always considered baking a good stormy day activity. Whenever we had snowstorms up north, I always made sure to have ingredients to bake with, and just the other day, Dorothy learned the principles of measurement when we made snickerdoodles on Sunday.
Today my sous chef was Reid. The other two were making him crazy, so he came over to help me man the Kitchenaid.
This recipe comes from James Beard’s Beard on Bread. I’ve made a few recipes from this book before. It came out in 1973, and includes lots of drawings and in-depth directions.
It came together fairly quickly and easily, once I boiled the potatoes and mashed them up. The potato water melted the butter until there were only a few bits left, and they encorporated into the dough without any difficulty. I let it rise in the refrigerator for about 6 hours. When it emerged I kneaded it into a silky and resilient dough.
I shaped it into two loaves and put them into pans. I just got these, and perhaps I should have used all three. They started out like this:
and after a long rise in my proofer (microwave with the door cracked open) they ended up like this:
Whoops! I’m sorry I don’t have a picture of what ended up hanging off the loaf. It was embarrassing. But delicious. I cut off the overhang last night to taste the bread. So, so, so good.
I like this bread, it was easy to put together, and required very little in the way of attention. And its delicious. Next time I’ll make 3 loaves
Refrigerator Potato Bread
Makes 1 round loaf or 2 or 3 regular loaves-depending on the size of your pans
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup warm water
1 cup warm milk or potato water
(the water from cooking the potatoes–this is what I used)
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened in the milk or potato water
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 cup mashed potatoes
(he instructs that instant potatoes can be used, but why would you do that?)
6 cups (approx) all purpose flour
Dissolve yeast and tablespoon of sugar in the warm water in your mixing bowl. When the yeast is active, add the warm milk or potato water, butter, sugar, salt and eggs and blend thoroughly. Then add the mashed potatoes and stir again.
Add the flour, 1 cup at a time beating well after each addition, to make a throroughly stiff dough. You may need more or less than 6 cups, depending on the conditions where you are. Today I needed more than 6 cups.
Knead (either in your kitchenaid or on a floured surface) until it is smooth and elastic
Shape into a ball, and place in oiled or buttered bowl and cover with saran wrap. Place in refrigerator and let rise overnight.
remove from refrigerator, punch down and turn out onto floured surface. let rest for 5 minutes and then knead vigorously for 4 or 5 minutes. Let rest again
Shape into two loaves and place into buttered 9x5x3 baking tins. Or form into a ball and place it in a well buttered 9 inch pie plate.
Let the dough rise until doubled in bulk (may take as long as 4 hours because of the long refrigeration)
bake at 375 for 40-45 minutes. You may want to remove the bread from its baking tin and bake for the last few minutes on the rack to crisp the crust.