My second Daring Bakers' challenge! And I don't know that I'll ever make bread again. Well I'm sure one day I'll feel ready to give it another shot, but not for a long while. Anyway, I was a bit disappointed to find out that this month's challenge was savory as I really love making sweet things. But it was also a really great challenge for me because it was a real challenge. It pushed me to make something that I love but have never tried making (potato bread specifically but I've always wanted to try making bread).
I made one large loaf and 8 rolls, a few with cheese. I forgot to put the cheese on the rolls before putting them in the oven so had to grab them back out. Then regretted baking the rolls on my Silpat as I didn't want to clean melted cheese off it. I also forgot to slash my loaf before putting it in the oven so I took it out after a few minutes and did that - unsure at the time if I had messed it up as the loaf seemed to already be developing a bit of a crust. The slashed part turned out fine though, and I love how it looked.
I must've been doing something wrong because I was kneading the dough for a good 20 minutes at least. My mom and brother said that seemed like a long time, but it said to knead for 10 minutes, then add the flour 1/4 cup at a time, which means more kneading. The dough was so sticky for most of that first 10 minutes and I really extremely hated that. Is there anything I can do to avoid that? How can you even knead the dough when it's constantly sticking to your hands? Keep flouring up your hands? I ended up using about 6 1/2 cups of flour (the minimum amount) because I was scared of using too much (since it said beginners always use too much flour). And holy crap my forearms got so insanely sore from kneading for so long. I have never had such sore forearms. I must be doing it all wrong (very possible). But I'm sure it didn't help that I was kneading on a flimsy plastic cutting board that kept sliding around.
I must admit that once I smelled the potato bread/rolls baking, and saw them brown it made me really happy and excited. Not excited enough to be making bread again anytime soon though. As for how it tasted - for me, just okay. Apparently my niece really liked it though. I cooked the buns too long and they were pretty chewy unless microwaved. The loaf was soft in the middle, but didn't taste like anything special. To me this bread tasted just like regular white bread. And not very good white bread at that. I didn't taste or notice that the potato had been added (though that could be because I misread the recipe to mean only use 8 ounces of potato total, or maybe that was what I was supposed to do). I don't fault the recipe for how the bread turned out though. I'm sure many of the other Daring Bakers had beautiful delicious loaves and variations that I will be coveting.
Overall, I guess it was a successful enough first bread making experience. It was edible and not rock hard, though when I took the loaf out of the pan to cool it felt like it could be used as a weapon since the exterior was hard and it was so heavy. Throughout the bread making experience I kept thinking to myself, it's okay if it doesn't turn out, it doesn't have to, I'm challenging myself. That helped to make the pressure off my perfectionist self. I am glad that I participated in this challenge, despite all my whining! And I can't wait to find out what the next challenge is.
Check out all the other yummy potato breads made by other Daring Bakers. The recipe is on Tanna's site My Kitchen In Half Cups. Tanna did some amazing things with this bread that I can only aspire to be able to do with bread one day.