Inspired by Ian... Potato Cream Cheese Sourdough Rustic Buns
Ian's techniques with my antics.
It's been ages since I last tried potato in bread. But since Ian always puts it into his bread, I was inspired to make a potato bread this time. I boiled it until very tender then mashed it including the skin like what he does. Saves trouble from peeling and has added benefits too.
I found some cheap cream cheese the other day so I immediately grabbed it. I have also been wanting to try cream cheese in bread (because Ian raves about the texture and moistness it gives to breads) for a long time but I can't because it is so expensive here. The flavor has has zero difference with the expensive brand that I know! I think l see a repeat with my breads and more cheesecakes down the road.
This is again an uncharted territory for me so a lot of mishaps for this bread but it still turned out very good. First, I forgot to take into account the water of the potato and the cream cheese. It was like kneading soup, I had to rescue it with the addition of a lot of flour throwing my "mental ratios" way way off. By the end, I managed to come up with a dough and kneaded it until some sort of a windowpane.
After a one hour ferment, I found the dough lacking strength and spreading too much so I gave it a stretch and fold; the improvement in strength was very obvious. I gave it another 2 sets of S&F's, one hour apart. Bulk fermentation took 4 hours at 34°C. What started as soup ended up as a very strong and silky dough. My starter was also pretty strong, the dough doubles after each S&F.
I divided them into 4 and shaped them into boules. Because of so much activity of the dough, I refrigerated it immediately otherwise it will overproof. I think I am gaining experience of how to read the dough. The next day I cooked them using the "guo kui" method.
Then there's another problem; because of the added flour, I ended up with more dough that my pot can handle. The dough was proofed right but were very bubbly, delicate, and sticky. At the skillet, they expanded unexpectedly huge and almost stuck to each other, very difficult to deal with. Now I know why guo kui has a very low hydration. I made a decision to bake only 3 of them and keep the last one that is on the brink of overproofing in the freezer. They continued expanding in the clay pot and stuck to each other and the pebbles, I had to pry them from things they touch that's why they have this mangled appearance but I find them beautifully rustic. Baking time took 30 minutes for each batch. The last one I baked was not affected negatively and we think it is the prettiest.
Flavor is wonderfully tangy with a buttery cream cheese and potato aroma. It was quite neutral for sweet or savory combos. We ate it with peanut butter and I think it is a nice base dough for filled buns. It was a combination of a crispy caramelized crust and a very soft moist crumb. Heavenly! It is our favorite bread to date. My past enriched breads were soft but this one is just on a whole other level of softness and moistness. I don't know if it was the potato or cream cheese or both who was/were responsible for that. Ian was so right about the texture! Thanks to all bakers who experimented with cream cheese in dough but biggest thanks to Ian for always bringing it to light!