Potato Chive Bread

I’ve admired the Bread Baking Babes from afar for a while, but I just don’t have good yeast luck. The last two or three things I’ve baked with yeast just haven’t worked.

I don’t know why that is – I used to be able to bake bread just fine. I thought buying new yeast would help, but the yeast-based cake I tried with the new yeast also didn’t rise.

But I saw Cookie Baker Lynn’s post about her potato chive bread earlier this month, and I figured I’d give bread another try.

The recipe is originally from Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson. I didn’t have soy milk, so my version wasn’t vegan – I just used the 2% milk that I happened to have in the fridge. And I didn’t knead mine by hand – I used my stand mixer.

Otherwise, I followed the recipe as written. I made the potatoes the night before and put them in the fridge overnight. I should have mashed them more finely, but when I realized there were chunks, I just turned up the speed on the mixer a bit until they were pulverized out.

When it came time to let it rise, I stole an idea from a more-competent friend, who suggested preheating the oven to 200F, then turning it off, and letting the bread rise on the now-warm stovetop.

It seemed to do the trick – mine was slow to rise, but it did eventually. I suspect there may be a draft in my kitchen. Someone else suggested letting it rise in a cold oven with just the oven light on for warmth – I’ll try that next time.

It’s really great bread. We had half the first loaf with dinner, the second half of the first loaf with soup for lunch today, and the other loaf is going to turn into French Toast (yes, even with the chives – we’ll see how it turns out!) and bread pudding.

And I got this picture, which is terrible, yet amusing:

Chive Bread rising in the sun...or a rock from the next Star Trek movie?

Doesn’t that look like something you’d see on the set of a low-budget science fiction movie?

Anyway, I’m glad that my yeast problems seem to be over. At least for now.

( see the recipe )


  1. Dylan Smith
    1:05 pm on April 28th, 2010

    I don’t remember if you have what we call an airing cupboard (furnace room? place where the hot water heater lives, usually people store towels and other things in there as a supply of nice warm towels. I have an on-demand boiler so I don’t have this) but over here that’s often a good place to put bread to rise.

    Luckily my fan oven when just turned on is at the perfect temperature for a proving oven. I just turn it slightly on, and put the dough in there to rise. It rises fast. Perhaps your oven may work the same – just turn the control until you feel that it’s engaged the switch, and see what kind of warmth you get.

  2. Tina Marie
    1:12 pm on April 28th, 2010

    My water heater is in the attic. In the summer, I could skip the rising process entirely and just put the bread in the attic, where it would rise and bake at the same time. 🙂

    I don’t have a manual setting on the oven – the lowest it will go is 180F. When the oven broke down a few weeks ago, and I considered replacing it, that was one of the considerations. But that’s the only thing that annoys me about the oven, so I just got the existing one fixed.

    I hear that if you have a gas stove, the heat from the pilot light is enough to rise bread. Next time, I’m going to try it in the pantry with the door closed, to avoid any random AC/drafts on the stove.