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"frau Schmidts" Good White Bread (sponge Method) Recipe

Recipe: "Frau Schmidt's" Good White Bread (Sponge Method)

History and Fun Facts:
"Frau Schmidt's" Good White Bread is a traditional bread recipe that has been passed down through generations. It originated in a German household, where Frau Schmidt, a skilled baker, perfected the recipe using everyday ingredients. The unique aspect of this recipe is the use of potato water and mashed potatoes, which add moisture and flavor to the bread.

In the olden days, potato water was a common ingredient in bread-making as it provided additional nutrients and helped to create a soft and tender crumb. Potato water is the starchy water leftover from boiling potatoes and contains natural sugars and starch, which act as food for the yeast, aiding in fermentation.

This recipe also utilizes the sponge method, which involves preparing a pre-ferment called a "sponge" or "yeast sponge" to enhance the flavor and texture of the bread. The sponge is made by combining a small portion of the ingredients beforehand to create a starter that will ferment slowly over time. This method allows the dough to develop a greater depth of flavor and a lighter texture.

Now, let's delve into the recipe itself and learn how to make "Frau Schmidt's" Good White Bread!

Ingredients:
- 1 quart potato water (drained from boiled potatoes)
- 1/2 cup finely mashed hot potatoes
- 1 pint lukewarm potato water
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 dissolved Fleischman's yeast cake
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- Warm, well-dried flour (as needed)
- Melted lard or butter (for brushing the top of the dough)

Instructions:

1. Start by boiling potatoes for the mid-day dinner. Once the potatoes are cooked, drain them and reserve the potato water.

2. Mash about 1/2 cup of the hot potatoes finely and set them aside.

3. In the afternoon, take a bowl and combine 1 pint of lukewarm potato water, the finely mashed potatoes, 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, and the dissolved Fleischman's yeast cake. Mix everything together until well combined.

4. Cover the bowl with a cloth and let it sit in a warm place until the mixture becomes light and foamy. This allows the yeast to activate and the sponge to develop.

5. Around nine o'clock in the evening, add the remaining pint of lukewarm potato water and 1/2 tablespoon of salt to the yeast sponge. Gradually add enough warmed, well-dried flour to stiffen the mixture. Knead the dough until it becomes fine-grained and elastic.

6. To improve fermentation, cut through the dough frequently with a sharp knife. This step helps distribute the yeast evenly and release any excess gas.

7. Once the dough reaches the desired elasticity and does not stick to the molding board or hands, place it in a bowl. Brush melted lard or butter over the top of the dough to prevent a crust from forming. Cover the bowl with a cloth and allow it to stand overnight in a warm place.

8. On bake day, rise early to check the sponge. If it has fallen or becomes sour, the bread may not turn out as desired.

9. Mold the dough into four small loaves and place them in pans to rise until they double in size.

10. Before putting the loaves in the oven, make several gashes across the top of each loaf with a sharp knife. This helps the gas escape during baking.

11. Preheat the oven to the appropriate temperature and bake the bread for approximately one hour or until it is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

12. Once baked, remove the bread from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack before slicing.

"Frau Schmidt's" Good White Bread is now ready to be enjoyed! Serve it fresh with butter, use it for sandwiches, or toast it to experience its delicious flavor and fine-grained texture.

Similar recipes you may also enjoy include traditional German rye bread, French baguettes, Italian ciabatta, and Irish soda bread. These bread recipes each have their unique characteristics and regional influences, making them a delightful addition to any meal. Experimenting with different bread recipes allows you to explore various tastes, textures, and culinary traditions.

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