- 250g (9oz) desiree potatoes, peeled and cut into large 5cm chunks (older, starchy ones are perfect)
- 1tbsp dried active yeast, or 1 x 7g sachet of fast-action yeast
- 1tbsp dark brown muscadavo sugar
- 375g (13oz) strong white bread flour, plus 200g (7oz) for kneading
- 2tsp salt
- 3 springs rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped
- you will need
- 1 large baking sheet, lightly oiled
In a saucepan, cover the potatoes with cold water and bring to the boil then turn down to simmer for 15 minutes until tender. Drain the water, saving 250ml (9fl oz) for the bread mix, and mash the potatoes leaving to cool until lukewarm.
In a small bowl, mix 1tbsp of the boiling potato water with 2tbsp of cold tap water so it feels luke warm to the touch. Add the yeast and sugar to this and mix to form a smooth paste. Leave for 10 minutes to froth up whilst the potatoes are cooling.
Add the yeast mixture to the cooled mashed potato and stir to combine. In a large bowl add the flour, salt and rosemary, making a well in the middle then pour in the yeast, potato mixture along with two thirds of the potato water to make a wet dough that comes together easily when kneaded in the bowl.
Tip the dough onto a floured work surface and gradually knead in the remaining 200g (7oz) flour until you have a soft and springy dough; this takes about 15 minutes. Put the dough into an oiled bowl covered with oiled cling film and leave to rise for 1 hour to 1hour 30 minutes until doubled in size.
Tip onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly for 1 minute then shape into a smooth round loaf and transfer to an large oiled baking sheet. Leave again covered in oiled cling film for about an hour until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 220 C, 200 C fan, 425 F, gas 7 and bake for 10 minutes, turning the temperature down to 190 C, 170 C fan, 375 F, gas 5 and baking for a final 25 minutes.
If you are using fast action yeast, there is no need to mix the yeast with liquid so add it straight to the flour.