Monday, 26 November 2012

Homemade breads and a Rosemary Potato Bread

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We are a family of bread lovers.  Our breakfast at home is almost always bread, with butter and jam or cooked sausages and ham.  Sometimes lunch is also made from bread - such as toastie melts and pizza on bread, both of which i make quite often as a quick and yummy lunch on-the-go.  

For the longest time it was easy to just buy whatever bread we fancy.  But since hubby bought me a breadmaker a few months ago, it's been so much fun making my own bread, and being able to mix and match whatever ingredients and flavour i like. 

Of course the other plus points are that there are no preservatives or artificial flavours and enhancers.  In our tropical weather, homemade bread last for only 2-3 days max in room temperature.  I have found that commercial breads can still seem fresh after 6 days....

I'm no good at handmade dough.  For some strange reasons, dough making has always intimidated me.  Or maybe that's just an excuse, coz dough making can be messy..need lotsa free counter space, flour flying here and there..messy..lots of wiping..I actually am a lazy cook.

So I use the breadmaker to make all the dough.  Here's a snapshot of some breads that my breadmaker I have churned out. 

My breadmaker.  I have a soft spot for Aussie brands.

Good ol wholemeal bread

Jumbo raisins, dates and cranberries bread - yummy just on its own.

This was my most recent experiment - Banana bread. 

At first i thought this experiment bombed.  I added the mashed bananas at the beep point, but the extra moisture from the bananas affected the yeast, so the bread didn't rise as per normal height.  After proofing, it was just about 2/3 of the normal bread height.  I was like OH-OHHH.....

The colour also looked funny rite?.  The top crust looked like someone had just seen a ghost - so ghastly white! And the side crusts were holey. 

But when i sliced it and ate one piece, it tasted really nice.  Whew!  The texture was quite chewy, similar to foccacia - which i really like, and VERY moist, almost as moist as the stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth type, which I also like - sometimes!.  So the best way to eat this kind of bread is to toast it.  Toasted chewy banana bread - I like :)

If you are baking a 3/4 loaf, use the Light crust setting, and let it finish
baking on the full cycle.  This will produce a beautiful brown crust.

You know how those commercial breads are sliced so perfectly?  That was my biggest challenge - to slice each piece in equal thickness and with clean straight lines, not jagged like a drunken person trying to walk in a straight line, with the top part of the piece thinner than the bottom :p.

What's the solution? Leave the bread uncut (whole), and cut it in the morning for breakfast.

This works for me as I bake my breads after dinner (it takes about 3 hours to complete a whole baking cycle), so it's ready just before bedtime.  I take it out to let it cool completely, then keep it in the microwave (with the door closed) overnight, and then slice it in the morning.  I find that somehow the texture is just nice for me to slice it properly.

Good job I reckon!

OK, now let's get to the Rosemary and Potato Bread.  When I saw this recipe on Zoe's blog, I was very eager to try it because I love herb bread.  I also happened to have all the ingredients on hand.  The recipe is easy and straighforward.  As usual, i used my breadmaker to make the dough.  As it was being cooked in the breadmaker, the house was filled with the wonderful aroma of baked pastry and rosemary.  

Try it, this is lovely on its own as a savoury bread, or excellent as a base to make toastie melt or mini pizza. 

Rosemary and Potato Bread
Source : Bake For Happy Kids, with minor modifications

I halved the recipe for a 22x10cm loaf pan.

  • 300g plain flour, sifted
  • 1/2 tbsp dried yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 160ml warm water
  • 2.5 tbsp olive oil 
  • Olive oil, to grease
  • 2 small russet potatoes, peeled 
  • Some fresh rosemary sprigs  
  • Rock salt for sprinkling on the top

1.  Add the flour, yeast, salt and chopped rosemary in a large bowl.  Add in the water and 3 tbsp of the oil, stir until combined.  Put into the breadmaker and set to "Dough".  Let it knead for about 10min, then take out and placed in a bowl.  Cover with a clean tea towel and place in a warm, draught-free place to prove for 45 min or until the dough doubles in size.
2.  Without knocking back (deflating) the dough, place the dough into the greased pan.

3. Slice the potatoes into 20 thin slices and place in a bowl. Drizzle with some olive oil and toss to coat. Use a sharp knife to make 20 evenly spaced slits in the dough, and insert each slice of potato into each slit. Cover with the tea towel and prove for another 1 hour until the dough doubles in size again.

4. Preheat the oven to 180 Celcius. Sprinkle the top of the dough with sea salt and bake for 40 mins or until light brown.  Remove from oven, turn onto a wire rack and set aside for 10 min to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

I accidentally set the oven temperature too high and burnt the
top of the potatoes :P 


  1. Hi Esther, I also have a breadmaker and it is as important as my oven... your loaves look delicious and very tempting!

    1. Yea, now our breamaker one of the most important appliance in the house :)

  2. Esther, you made such beautiful breads (ok, the breadmaker did some work too, but so what?) and I am so inspired. I am a bread addict but knocked back to control my carbo intake. Now very tempted to buy a breadmaker but I have to pull handbrake first because my yogurt maker, juicer and salad spinner are still in the corner collecting dust :)

    1. You love bread too PH? If your family also loves it,then only worth getting the breadmaker, otherwise you will hv to finish it yourself in a short time, tough leh :p time to let your yogurt maker see the light of day first heehee

  3. Hi Esther, I really enjoyed reading this post of yours on breadmaking. It is exactly what I have experienced when I first started breadmaking and using the breadmaker. I have switched back to using a dough mixer to knead my bread dough cos' I baking for my neighbour. BTW, very lovely loaves you made.

    1. Thanks Kimmy. You bake for your neighbour too? Hw nice! They must really enjoy your baking :)

  4. all bread look so nice, Esther!
    remind me i havent used my breadmaker for sometime
    time to let it do its job again :)

  5. Esther, and you said you were not good at baking? Seems like I am alone now.. :)

    1. Alvin, its not me, its my breadmaker. You've still got company haha!

  6. Hi Esther, I love your loaves! Nicely shaped, soft, moist, crust with just nice thickness. Oh, i am really impressed with the your slicing technique, clean lines and so even. Honestly, i thought you used a bread cutter! I can never get them to look that nice :(

    1. Adeline, for a time i was reeealy tempted to hunt for a breadcutter! Was getting quite frustrated that the loaves turn out lovely but got decimated by my horrible cutting! Thankfully now i'm much better at slicing them whew.

  7. What a fun and creative idea! I love new ways to transform traditional recipes. This sounds delicious!

  8. Hi Esther,

    I'm like you baking lots of bread for the family using my bread maker. For the past 2 years, we have stopped buying bread from the supermarket and I appreciate a lot of the good ingredients that I've used for baking our breads.

    Glad that you like this bread. Yours look fabulous! I still remember how much my family was enjoying these when I bake this loaf for them :D


    1. Thanks for this recipe Zoe :) we all liked it very much. Look fwd to more lovely recipes from you.

  9. Hi Esther, I love all your bread, look so good. Very well baked, texture very soft and fluffy. Nice to go with hot coffee, wish I can have some right now. :)

    Have a lovely day ahead,regards.

  10. Your rosemary potato bread looks so pretty. Your family must be very happy to get to eat freshly baked bread everyday. I dont have a breadmaker so only make it when I have time.

    1. Yes, a breadmaker makes things so much easier, literally 5 min, then forget about it for the next 3 hours.

  11. esther, i love baking breads..and also eat bread a lot! all your loaves look wonderful, honestly! looking forward to all of your bread making and recipe sharing!

  12. Ohhhhh my god..... If I have that potato bread in front of me, I guarantee I can kill the entire loaf by myself. I have a bread maker (but much much older version) too, but because I turn into a crazy monster after bread is made, I hid it in my pantry. I'm so tempted to make this bread with rosemary and potato. Looks absolutely delicious, Esther!

    1. Hahaha you are so funny Nami! No need to turn into a monster, just take your breadmaker out of hibernation and make this bread :)


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