I’m on a bread kick right now. I have some nice big, fat leeks available in the hoop house, so here is today’s recipe:
- 1 large leek – not the white part, but the green part that they usually tell you to throw away. (Use the white part in a soup, stew, or omelet.)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium russet potato, peeled and sliced thin
- 1 cup water
Slice up the leek (about 2 cups) and saute in the olive oil for a bit, then put a lid on the pan and steam for several minutes. Pay attention and don’t let them burn, like I nearly did. Boil the potato in the water till soft, then remove and mash up. Save the water – you should have about 3/4 cup left. Process the leeks in a food chopper or food processor. Don’t worry if they seem fibrous, they’ll be fine in the bread.
- 1.25 cups milk or buttermilk or sour milk
- 3/4 cup potato water
- 1 Tbsp yeast
- 1 tsp sugar or honey
Add the hot potato water to the (cold) milk, then add sugar and yeast. Let it set for a few minutes for the yeast to activate. Add the mashed potato and processed leeks.
- 1 cup whole wheat atta (chapati) flour, or bread flour
- 1.5 cups regular whole wheat flour
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
Add the flours and salt gradually to the wet ingredients, first with a heavy spoon or paddle, then with your hands. I always start with the atta, then alternate with the whole wheat and all-purpose flours. Knead for about 4 to 5 minutes. If the dough is too sticky add more all-purpose flour. You want the dough to be rather soft. Let it rise in a warm (not hot) location for about an hour, covered with a damp cloth. After it has doubled in size add the olive oil and knead briefly. You may need to add a little more flour. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with your damp cloth, and let rise again for about 45 minutes. Heat oven to 400 F. Oil a cookie sheet or baking stone, and turn the dough out on it. You can shape up the loaf a bit, and slash the top if you like. Place in the oven and cook for 10 minutes at 400 F, then turn down to 350 F for about 40 minutes. Brush with olive oil or butter when you take it out and let it cool for 20 minutes before you slice it.