The Fresh Loaf

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BBA Potato-Rosemary...with a twist

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ryeaskrye's picture
ryeaskrye

BBA Potato-Rosemary...with a twist

I have a fondness for rosemary. Having an Austrian heritage with a splash of Irish thrown in, I also have an innate predilection for potatoes.


Naturally the Potato Rosemary bread in Reinhart's BBA was a bread that had to be made. Ever the joker, and not one to follow directions without change, I decided to see what would happen if I used blue potatoes. I eagerly anticipated reactions of surprise I would get with a blue colored bread.


The dough ended up being a very weird consistency. It was extremely slack and refused to hold shape, similar to a very wet ciabatta, but somehow was not sticky. I didn't have much hope it would turn out well, but I baked it anyway. While they looked more than passable from the outside, the inside was an uneven shade with dingy gray streaks.


I was quite disappointed with how the crumb turned out...that was until I toasted some the next morning and it turned lavender. HA!


The texture of the crumb was moist, soft and consistent throughout. The flavor was exceptional, even eliciting a "best tasting loaf so far..." from a frequent devourer of my breads.


Loaves:



Before toasting:



After toasting:



 


Any chemists here who might have ideas on why the blue was heat activated?

Comments

arlo's picture
arlo

I am no chemist, but I loved the before and after pictures! That is wonderful! And the breads look great!

fairnymph's picture
fairnymph

Well, I am a biologist but with almost-chemist background. :D


I don't know exactly what compounds are in blue potatoes, but most vegetables and fruits that change colour, or that are deeply blue/red/purple coloured to begin with, contain anthocyanins.


These are pH sensitive compounds which change colour once they reach a threshold pH. In fact, most high school chemistry classes do a titration project during which two liquids are mixed, one added to the other drop by drop, until suddenly the liquid changes colour dramatically.


What I'm trying to figure out is how the heating changed the pH! I'm going to assume there is some volatile basic compound in the bread which evaporated when toasted, leaving the anthocyanin unchecked chemically and allowing it to show its true colour.

rabbitrun's picture
rabbitrun

Anthocyanins tend to become bluish at high pH. If that is the pigment here, one possibility is that toasting drives off some of the yeast-generated CO2. Losing CO2 would cause the pH to rise and the pigment to become more blue. One check of this idea would be the color of the dough before baking - this model predicts the uncooked dough, rich in carbon dioxide, should not have been blue.

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Reminds me of what walnuts do to bread especially if they have the skins.  I think the crumb looks wonderful and what a plus with the color change.  Once in a local produce market a man asked me what the purple potatoes tasted like..I didn't know..so looked it up when I got home..they are supposed to have the same flavor as the white potato...one day I'll eat some...being raised eating potatoes all my life you would think I would have tasted a purple one by now...we had potatoes at every meal or it wasn't a meal. 


Sylvia

EvaB's picture
EvaB

I grew up with them, and they are mostly the same as regular white or red potatoes, we used to keep them overwinter and they wintered the best, beautiful bakers, great deep fried, fried or boiled, doesn't matter.


I do know that if you drop iodine on a cut slice it will turn purple, more so than on any other potato, its something to do with the startch!

Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

I couldn't tell you about the chemistry involved, but that does fit with my experience of purple potatoes.  While I've never used them in the BBA Rosemary Potato Bread (one of my favorites), recently we made potato knishes partly out of purple potatoes (we were trying for a sort of marbled effect with some russets--didn't really work).  When hot and fresh, the portion of the knish with the purple potatoes was a nice lavender shade, but when the leftovers were refrigerated, the purple turned to an unappetizing mold-blue.  However, upon microwaving said leftovers, the purple potato portions mercifully resumed their violet hue.

ryeaskrye's picture
ryeaskrye

Ryan


If you (or anyone else) have baked the BBA Potato Rosemary, I am curious about your experience with the dough.


For me, while it was not super sticky, it was hard to handle and to shape. It was almost like a batter. I essentially poured it into brötforms and after proofing for 1.5 hours, retarded it in the fridge for a couple hours more hoping that would help hold the shape.


I used the water from boiling the potatoes for the full amount of water in the recipe. I suppose the starches from that and the potatoes interfere with gluten development in some manner.


John

Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

The potato breads (there's a roasted potato and onion bread in Hamelman's Bread that I've made a couple times as well) definitely have a somewhat different consistency than doughs without potatoes, but not the way you're describing.  Usually what happens is the gluten develops slowly/oddly.  Although I seem to be one of the rare home bakers who doesn't have a difficulty with the "windowpane" test, I can never get a potato dough to windowpane.  But I've never had problems with gloopiness.  I've never used the potato water for the hydration either, so that could be the issue.


Seems like it worked out though--your crumb looks great (albeit not blue at room temperature).

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

From R.L.Beranbaum 'the bread bible'.  "Potato water from boiling potatoes makes and excellent addition to bread dough.  Not only does it impart a delicious subtle flavor, it also keeps the bread moist. 


Potatoes can be over mashed or mixed and loose their flakeyness and become a sticky sort of mess..I'm not sure how you prepared your potatoes before adding them to the dough..but if overmixed they maybe had an effect on the dough.  Maybe different varieties of potatoes contain different levels of starch and the variety of potato you used might be one with to much starch..which is converted to sugars..to much sugar and affected the gluten and that affected the dough making it gloppy.  Just a thought!


Sylvia

ryeaskrye's picture
ryeaskrye

Thanks for the info Sylvia. I have always heard potato water was good for bread making.


I boiled and then mashed the potatoes specifically to get the water, some of which I then stuck in the freezer for later use. Now I wonder if I should use it or not.


I have made the same bread before with new potatoes and Yukon Golds using the same method and did not have the same issues with the dough being so bizarre. I rarely boil potatoes, preferring to pressure cook them, but do so for this bread. I did boil them a bit long as they were starting to disintegrate.


I will try again and not boil as long.


John

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

The color change with toasting is neat. You know, you could make batches of dough with different colors of potatoes then make a braided loaf. Or layer strips of them in a loaf pan to make different patterns when the loaf is sliced. Are you familiar with how the rosettes in classical guitars are made?


My mind is boggled by the concept.


David

ryeaskrye's picture
ryeaskrye

My mind has already been exploring several divergent possibilities with the coloration.


I have not seen them in awhile, but I have had bright pink, red, deep yellow and orange (not sweet) potatoes. If any show up in the store this summer, I already anticipate experimenting. I do wonder if the other colors will do the same thing or if it is unique to the anthocyanin compounds alluded to by fairnymph above.


I have a handmade guitar that has wood inlay designs, so I know what you're thinking there. I had thought of the braided loaf idea, but not creating a design that runs through the loaf. Great idea that!


John



Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

For those with the potato dough problems...  Potato water for bread is the cooking water from peeled potatoes.  It also breaks down quickly and should be used right away.  (I don't use potato water aquired in aluminum pans or from whole potatoes with skins.)  I have refrigerated the warm potato water to use the following morning.  Yes, I find it does make the dough sticky.


My neighbor sells purple potatoes.  Any particular type?


Mini


 

ryeaskrye's picture
ryeaskrye

My water came from peeled, boiled potatoes. I did boil them in glass pot, perhaps a bit too long though.


I did not use it right away, but let it cool down for a couple of hours...would that adversely affect the outcome?


What about freezing the water and then thawing out to use at a later date?


I understand most bright colored potatoes originate in South America, but I happen to know these were the 'All Blue' variety grown in the San Luis Valley in southern Colorado. There is also a 'Purple Peruvian' from the same region that is a much deeper and darker purple. I am waiting for those to reappear in the store to try out, along with the 'All Red' and the 'Huckleberry' varieties. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

"I did not use it right away, but let it cool down for a couple of hours...would that adversely affect the outcome?"


No.


Freezing should not be a problem but storing it when it is so easy just to cook up a potato seems odd to me.  If the potato seems watery, I would count it in with the liquids.  I rarely get potato water as I cook most in their skins and pitch the water.  I tend to use the micro wave oven (diced with a little water, covered) or left over potatoes for recipes.  I also add dry potato flakes, but I haven't seen them in colors yet.  


Rolled up layers might be fun too!  Only seen when toasted!  


Ever been here?  http://jsur.org/

saltandserenity's picture
saltandserenity

Your loaves are beautiful.  Did you proof them in a banneton?  That is a very cool pattern on them.  I love how they turned purple after toasting!


 


Cindy


www.saltandserenity.com