The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Marcel's Grandmother's Potato Bread (Kartoffelbrot)

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Marcel's Grandmother's Potato Bread (Kartoffelbrot)

Marcel's Grandmother's Potato Bread (Kartoffelbrot)

Marcel's Grandmother's Potato Bread (1)Marcel's Grandmother's Potato Bread (1)

Marcel's Grandmother's Potato Bread (2)Marcel's Grandmother's Potato Bread (2)

Marcel's Grandmother's Potato Bread (Kartoffelbrot)

We had a German exchange student stay with us for a couple of weeks recently. Marcel is about 17 years old, and we hit it off great. He shares an interest with me and my oldest son and daughter, who are about the same age as Marcel, in physics, math, computers, and music. He is one of the nicest, most polite young men I've met. One day I was making some sourdough bread in my kitchen, and I noticed Marcel paying very close attention to the process. He then mentioned that his grandmother, who lives with his family in Germany, frequently bakes breads, and he is a big fan of her breads. We quickly discovered that bread was another of our shared interests. He described going to a mill near his village and buying spelt flour and rye flour of a coarseness specified by his grandmother for her breads. What a difference from buying over the internet, as I tend to do here in NJ. So, I asked if he could recite some favorite recipes for me. He then got on the phone with his grandmother, and she emailed us two recipes, one of which is described here, and one will be described in a separate blog entry (spelt bread). We had quite a time translating German baking terminology into English for my use, including struggling with the word edelhefe and with correct translations of some or the names of spices. Also, there was some confusion over methods of handling the dough, but eventually, I felt I had enough information to try these recipes. When Marcel returned to Germany, he also forwarded to me some photos he took of his grandmother's process, although only for the spelt bread, and not for this potato bread recipe.

I have photos of my process for this bread and the spelt bread recipe. Since I did both at the same time, there is an intermingling of the two breads, but I hope it will be clear what is going on with each bread.

Marcel's Grandmother's Potato Bread (Kartoffelbrot) Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 400 grams whole spelt flour (I used Heartland Mills Spelt Flour)
  • 150 grams whole rye (I used KA Pumpernickel)
  • 300 grams water
  • 400 grams peeled, boiled, mashed potatoes
  • 12 grams salt
  • 25 grams butter
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1/2 tsp anise seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 3 egg yokes, stirred up
  • 1 package active dry yeast (or 1.5 tsp yeast or 30 grams fresh yeast)

Autolyse, Yeast Proof, Prepare Potatoes

Mix the flours and water aside and allow to sit for about 30 minutes (autolyse). Mix 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup water warm water, and yeast in a bowl and allow to sit until very frothy (yeast proofing), about 30 minutes. Peel and boil potatoes until soft, then drain and mash them up.

I actually had no potatoes in the pantry, so I used some potato flakes mixed with water to about the consistency of mashed potatoes. I realized later in the mixing stage this was probably too much water, though I suspect that potato bread like this should seem very wet, based on reading floydm's recipe.

Mix and Knead

Mix together the results from the autolyse, the yeast proofing, and the mashed potatoes along with the salt, spices, and butter. In this recipe, because I used mashed potatoes made from a box of potato flakes, the dough came out very, very wet. I was finding myself having more difficulty handling this dough than I normally have with my very wet miche doughs. So, I added some flour, trying to compensate for what was probably way too much water, and I ended up adding something like 1.5 cups more flour to the dough. Unfortunately, this means, it's tough for me to tell you what the consistency of the dough as specified in the actual recipe given to me by Marcel's grandmother really is, nor do I have pictures of it from her. Anyway, I worked the dough a little bit using a folding technique that one might use for a very wet dough. After about 3 or 4 minutes, it seemed to come together into a very supple but workable dough.

Bulk Fermentation (about 2 hours)

Place the dough in a rising bucket or covered bowl and allow to rise. I did the bulk fermentation above my coffee machine where the temperature is about 80F. It took a little longer than 1.5 hours to rise by double, as specified by Marcel's grandmother.

Kneading, Shaping, Final Proof (15 minutes), Preheat oven to 400F

Take the dough out of the container onto a bed of flour. Stretch and fold it a few times. Let it rest a few minutes. Stretch and fold again, and let it rest. I did this because Marcel's grandmother says to knead it with some flour a little bit. This was Marcel's translation. It seemed like the opportune moment to fold the dough, given that it had risen and still seemed fairly wet. The folding did help the dough to come back together, so I then formed two long batards. The recipe says "form two long breads", according to Marcel. I did this very similarly, once again, to JMonkey's video on shaping a whole wheat dough. However, I just made them a bit longer and skinnier, based on the instructions. Put them in a couche, similar to what one would do for baguettes and allow to rise for 15 minutes covered with towels.

Preheat oven to 400F while final proof continues. In my case the oven was already hot from the Dinkelbrot bake.

Marcel's grandmother says to let it rise 15 minutes under a towel. I realize this was just the right thing to do. However, being nervous this was not enough time, based on other breads I've made, I let them sit a few more minutes - maybe 25 minutes or so. This was a mistake, as they puffed up so quickly, that the skin on the surface was ripping slightly here and there. So, sticking to the instructions might have been perfect. Darn, but will do better next time.

Place Loaves on Peel

Place the loaves on a peel or upside down jelly roll pan on some parchment. The loaves were big and floppy, and I had let them go too long in final proof, so this was harder than it sounds. Paint the loaves with egg yoke. Slash the loaves.

I suspect the loaves were too wet and allowed to rise too long in final proof. The result is they were spreading out very quickly on the peel, and I took a little too long painting them and slashing them because I ran out of yoke and had a hard time moving the floppy loaves to the peel and whatnot. Again, will hope to do better with a little less water or real potatoes and less final proof next time.

Bake

Place loaves in oven preheated to 400F, and bake for about 30 minutes. Internal temperature was 210.

The loaves did spring a little, but mostly they spread. I guess the same notes as above apply - reduce the water to make a little bit stiffer dough and don't let it rise for long in final proof.

Cool

Place loaves on rack to cool completely before cutting into them.

Results

Like the Marcel's Grandmother's Spelt Bread, this bread tasted just great. The crust had a nice shine and color as a result of the egg yoke. Marcel says there is a particular look to these loaves, due to the egg yoke coating, that he says is typical of breads from his village in Germany. The spices add a nice touch to the already good flavor of the spelt and rye. I've decided German breads, at least the ones Marcel's grandmother makes, are wonderful after trying her dinkelbrot and kartoffelbrot recipes. Thanks to Marcel and his grandmother for sharing these recipes with me.

Comments

maggie664's picture
maggie664

This recipe looks great but what is spelt flour?

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Maggie,

Spelt is just a different type of wheat that is known as dinkel in Germany and farro in Italy. In most ways it is not different from wheat, but it does have a different flavor, that I would say is more mild than red whole wheat.

King Arthur and Bob's Red Mill have it, as does Heartland Mills. I mail ordered off the internet. I have to admit, I haven't seen spelt flour in the grocery store.

Bill

pumpkinpapa's picture
pumpkinpapa

We have spelt flour in our Canadian grocery stores, mostly the larger stores that have an organic or health section as the spelt is organic spelt. Superstore, Fortino's, etc.

I've bought Oak Manor, Hockley Farms, and directly from a farm mill as well.

Additionally spelt is older than todays wheat, has less gluten, and usually has about 17% protein.

Coincidentally, farro is Emmer wheat which like spelt is a hulled wheat grass. This page has good information on Emmer/farro

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Pumpkinpapa,

Thanks for the correction regarding farro. My information below was based on a comment out of "Bread" by Hamelman that says spelt is known as farro in Italy, but all the commentary I've seen on the internet just now seems to indicate farro is emmer, as you say, which is similar but not the same as spelt. Maybe Hamelman is still right if spelt is also sometimes called farro in Italy. Maybe someone in Italy or who lived in Italy can set us all straight on exactly what the Italian name is for spelt.

I'm not surprised that spelt would appear in the health food sections in the US and Canada, as opposed to being available at the mill near Marcel's village in Germany, where it is a commonly cultivated grain. Apparently there are some people with certain types of allergies who tolerate spelt better than wheat. Also, there are some arguments I saw that there are some nutritional benefits to spelt over wheat. All of the above is just a summary of some Google searches, not the result of any sort of careful research or personal experience.

Bill

pumpkinpapa's picture
pumpkinpapa

Bwraith, I made some dessert with farro last year and saw emmer on the package, and this piqued my interest so I spent some time researching.

I have heard of spelt's popularity with person's with gluten sensitivities but I just like the flavour of the nutty grain myself. Spelt is widely cultivated here in Ontario as a niche grain, but I would like to try emmer for bread now. That and red fife wheat too, all these different flavours are enticing!

zolablue's picture
zolablue

This is just great.  I love this site so much!   That bread looks incredible and, again, your photos and instructions are so helpful.  I also have never used spelt but have noted it in many recipes.  I guess I need to place another online order as I have never found it locally yet.

Is this bread dense and heavier or is it light?  It looks more heavy but with the potato it could be more tender dough.  I use potatoes in my grandmother's bread and my aunt's sweet dough and those are both more tender.  I do believe my other aunt uses potato flakes sometimes to make the sweet dough and I was always interested in how that compares to real potatoes.  Please report if you do this again.

I'm very interested in the farro and thanks for that link, Pumpkinpapa.  Giada has a recipe for a farro and tomato salad I've wanted to make for years now but never could find the farro and just got tired of trying to find a good source online. 

Thanks for this, Bill, and to Marcel and his wonderful grandmother for sharing such special recipes. 

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Hi Zolablue,

I am not sure exactly how it should come out. Marcel said he was going to photograph his grandmother doing this bread, so I may know better at that point. Meanwhile, the result I came up with may not have been quite as skillful as I would have hoped - it spread out a bit rather than rising up, but it was soft because of the potatoes, yet it was not as open and airy as I've achieved with mixes of white and whole grain flours. The density was a little more typical of whole grain unless you're a WW god, but it was very soft, I assume because of the potato. The bread is absolutely delicious, in any event. I had some this morning out of my freezer.

By the way, your story about Memo's bread and the posts from your aunt are just delightful and very touching. I was telling my daughter about the "grandmother breads" on the front page and had a hard time maintaining a proper fatherly composure, as I tried to describe my grandmother, who also was quite a cook and baker, and our close relationship when I was a kid.

Bill

zolablue's picture
zolablue

I don't know enough about WW breads to understand the texture differences.  I am going to start baking some WW's to see what everyone is talking about in that regard.  I can imagine this is very good tasting bread although my DH would not love caraway seeds so I'd have to leave those out.  I'm anxious to try spelt.  Does it at all have any similarity to clear flour?  I recently purchased that from KA just out of curiosity but really have no idea quite what I'll do with it.

Bill, I know what you mean about being moved by our memories.  I was just blown away when I read what Eric and you had written, needless to say, surprised enough that my aunt had actually posted.  She's such a sweet lady.  Anyway, I was trying to read the comments to my husband and I simply kept getting so choked up I could not speak.  :o)

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Hi Zolablue,

I thought I didn't like caraway seeds in bread either, but it seems to work in this bread very well. I will put them in again next time. However, you can probably choose some other "spices" for the bread, or go without them. I thought there was something important added to the flavor by the spices, though.

As far as spelt, it is a grain closely related to emmer and has similarities to regular bread wheat, like having a enough gluten to make bread. It has a hull that makes it harder to process than regular bread wheat. The flavor is a little more nutty and slightly sweet. I found it to be a good flavor addition in my miches and used it in my "recipe starter" in the more recent miche recipes I've done.

Pumpkinpapa made some comments about spelt in this thread or maybe in the other blog entry I did on "Marcel's Grandmother's Spelt Bread (Dinkelbrot)".

Dinkel is the name for spelt in Germany.

Bill

zolablue's picture
zolablue

Are you familiar with clear flour?

I did read and actually posted on that thread after Pumpkinpapa gave the farro info.  I have been looking for a source for buying farro to use in a salad recipe of Giada De Laurentiis so that was welcome info. 

I'll need to place another order with King Arthur, which I almost dread because it takes sooooooo long to receive the way they ship.

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Zolablue,

Sorry, I haven't done anything with clear flour, although your question does have me reading and trying to understand it.

Bill

maggie664's picture
maggie664

Hello,
I may have missed the relevant info. but what is 'clear flour'?

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Maggie,

Zolablue was asking the question, what is clear flour? Just to clarify, it is not part of the recipe in this blog entry, and I don't know the answer, other than what I say below based on a cursory inspection of a couple of books.

I believe clear flour is flour that is left over after "patent flour" is extracted from straight flour. Patent flour is the grade of flour that goes into typical white flours used for baking. Anatomically, clear flour is flour taken from the part of the endosperm closest to the bran. It normally would contain small amounts of germ and bran in it because of the way the filtering process works.

My understanding is that it has uses in rye breads or to make a rustic bread, since it has less refined components of the kernel than patent flour does.

What I am reporting above is only from reading a couple of explanations in some books I have. So, if this is wrong, I apologize.

If this becomes very interesting, could we create a new thread? It doesn't really fit very well in this blog entry.

Bill

maggie664's picture
maggie664

Bill, Thank you for that information. Yes, a thread covering physical and chemical properties of bread grains etc and milling would be interesting and useful. I have never heard of various references to certain grain products as I find on here. i feel that artisanal bread baking is only starting to come into its own here (N Z) although I don't mind being corrected. Are your reference books American or European? M

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Hi Maggie,

No problem at all, and no corrections intended. I'm just saying that if we want to get into a a more lengthy discussion on what clear flour is, I'd prefer to create a separate thread for that, so we don't get a long thread on clear flour here where it's not that relevant to the potato bread recipe.

The main place I went to read about clear flour was Paula Figoni's How Baking Works. Most of my references are probably American, though I have Calvel and Lepard books, too, and maybe others that aren't American.

Bill

Srishti's picture
Srishti

Me and my husband loveGerman breads and I want to try making this tomorrow :)

I have a question. You say:

 Mix 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup water warm water, and yeast in a bowl and allow to sit until very frothy (yeast proofing), about 30 minutes.

This 1/4 cup flour is a part of the 400gm spelt and 150gm rye, or is it in addition to these? If this is "Additional"  then is it spelt?

Thanks

Srishti

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Hi Srishti,

It is part of the recipe flour. Good luck. I hope the recipe comes out for you. I think I may have made the dough too wet trying to use potato flakes instead of simply peeling, boiling, and mashing some potato.

Bill

Srishti's picture
Srishti

Thanks bwraith,

The bread is sooooooo very awsome!!!!

It turned out really nice!!! I think I'll run to the kitchen and take some pics....German PotatoGerman Potato

Here it is..... It is soooo good!

Thanks so much for the recipe! I will try the other spelt recipe next time!!! This came in at the right time as I was thinking of starting to bake heavily with spelt :)

thanks

Srishti

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Hi Srishti,

That looks very similar. I'm glad it tasted good. I thought this was a delicious bread, too. Did you do it with real potatoes or potato flakes or flour? I'm just curious how that went for you. Regardless of which method you used, I'm curious about the hydration. I think my method with the potato flakes resulted in a very wet dough, but the result was delicious with a very soft crumb. Isn't the crust nice with the egg yolk coating?

Thanks for posting your results.

Bill

Srishti's picture
Srishti

Hi Bill,

I used real potatoes.

During the autolyse the dough was too stiff I had to add a handful of water.

But when I mixed everything up, due to the potatoes it was quite hard to knead as it was super sticky. So it might not have been too different than the potato flakes. But when I did the second kneading with some more flour before shaping it, it got a bit better and the loaved shaped up decently.

Yes I loved the crust it's beautiful and shiny!!!!

Thanks so much

Srishti

 

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Srishti,

I thought you might find some photos I just received from Marcel. As with the dinkelbrot, he now has photographed his grandmother's process for the kartoffelbrot. I posted them along with my own pictures of making the two breads.

Bill

Srishti's picture
Srishti

Wow,

doesn't gradma's bread look so different than we cam eup with!!! I am shocked :D

Didn't seem like there was any rising in her process as the bread didn't rise at all!!!! She just mixes up shapes and bakes.... No kneading... no rising... no benching... Very interesting!

Also seems like she added ground caraway and anise.

I tried making the dinkelbrot this weekend.Mine rose like yours as well..... :( but still it was such a dense bread... I don't know if I would want it denser than that. Both of them are awsome breads.

 

thaks so much to you , Marcel and Oma(German for Grandmother) for putting so much work into this and bringing us all these delicious bread!!! I will be making these quite often!!!

Srishti

 

Srishti's picture
Srishti

I might try it without the autolyse. Maybe that's what keeps her breads denser? Because autolyse would help the gluten formation. And maybe that's why she has denser breads...

But then maybe I like my Kartoffelbrot a bit softer and risen!!!

Definitely worth giving it a try and see hoe that turns out.

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Srishti,

Right, many thanks to Marcel and his grandmother. Both went to a lot of trouble to translate the recipes and to take all those photos.

I agree the photos looked quite different. I think you're right that no autolyse should be done. In some cases, I was just guessing, as you can tell.

Also, I suspect that she specifies a more coarse grind on her spelt flour than I am getting from either KA or Homestead Grist Mill. If you know of a spelt flour supplier who provides a coarser flour, Srishti, let me know.

As far as the spices, I believe it does specify to use some spice, according to preferences, in the dough, like anise or caraway, and I added whatever I had available at the moment. Maybe I left that out of the recipe. I'll check. Also, I don't recall that the recipe specified putting pumpkin seeds or whatever kind of seed on the crust, so that is new and different.

In my translated notes from Marcel on the recipe for the kartoffelbrot, it does seem to say to let the dough, after initially mixed, to rise by double. I don't think I see that in the pictures either, so I'll email Marcel and ask for a clarification on that.

Bill

Srishti's picture
Srishti

I buy the flour from my local health food store bulk/bagged under their own name. But now I have just started buying the grains and grinding them myself. So next time I'll try to keep it coarser. Also will try the no-autolyse.

I think it will definitely be hard to find a course spelt flour. I googled it and couldn't find any!

Thanks, will give it another try soon. :)

danpincus's picture
danpincus

Spelt, a relative of wheat, is a grain that tastes almost like wheat.  So, people who are allergic to wheat can eat all the spelt bread they like.  

kallisto's picture
kallisto (not verified)

Could you explain what "Edelhefe" means? I am from germany and have never heard this term!

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD