Mashed potatoes make an especially tender bread that's great for sandwiches. Make sure the potato cooking liquid is warm to the touch so it will activate the yeast. This recipe makes two loaves. Keep one of them for yourself, and wrap the other in a pretty kitchen towel secured with a ribbon or raffia.
3 cups cubed peeled baking potato (about 1 pound)
1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded extrasharp cheddar cheese
3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated Asiago cheese
How to Make It
Place potato in a saucepan, and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until tender. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1 1/4 cups cooking liquid. Cool liquid to 110°. Mash the potato with a potato masher to measure 2 cups; set aside.
Combine warm cooking liquid and yeast in a large bowl, and let stand 5 minutes. Stir in the mashed potato. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Gradually stir in 5 cups flour, salt, and pepper to form a stiff dough.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands. Gently knead in cheddar and Asiago.
Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 30 minutes or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes. Divide dough in half. Working with one portion at a time (cover the remaining dough to prevent drying), roll each portion into an 11 x 7-inch rectangle on a floured surface. Roll up each rectangle tightly, starting with a long edge, pressing firmly to eliminate air pockets, and pinch seam and ends to seal. Place dough rolls, seam sides down, in 2 (8 x 4-inch) loaf pans coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 375°.
Uncover dough; bake at 375° for 1 hour or until loaves are browned on bottom and sound hollow when tapped. Remove from pans; cool on a wire rack.