I didn't set out to change the recipe this time. I mean, everyone knows "Beard on Bread" is a bread baker's bible. But I'm just not organized enough to start bread rising in the refrigerator the day before I want to eat it. And I didn't realize that's what this recipe called for until the dough was mixed. So I tried a more typical double rising on the counter, and the result was a dense, low crumb bread that the kids voted the best potato bread they ever had. It was wonderful warm, with a little salted butter. But it was just as good the next morning, toasted (with a little salted butter). And in my dreams it'll make a wonderful French Toast (with a little salted butter). In fact, the next time I make mashed potatoes, I plan to set aside enough to make several loves of this bread.
1 pkg yeast
1/2 cup plus 1 T sugar
1/2 cup warm water
1 cup warm milk or potato water (I used milk this time)
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
1 1/2 T salt
1 cup mashed potatoes (I used the real thing, but the recipe says you can use prepared instant)
6 cups unbleached flour
Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water and let sit until foams, about five minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add milk/potato water, butter, salt and eggs and mix to combine. Add potatoes and flour, one cup at a time, and mix using a dough hook until forms a sticky but stiff ball of dough (alternately you can mix the ingredients together and then kneed about 10 minutes to form the dough). Shape into a ball. Coat a large clean bowl with olive oil or butter and place dough in bowl, turning to coat with oil or butter. Spray plastic wrap with cooking spray and loosely cover bowl. Allow to rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in bulk, about two hours.
Punch dough down, kneed lightly and cut into two pieces. Form into loose logs and place in a loaf pan coated in cooking spray. Cover loosely again and let rise another two hours.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Bake 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and continue baking until done, about another 15 minutes. Remove from pan, knock lightly on the bottom to make sure bread is done (it will sound hollow). Return to the oven without the loaf pan to crisp crust, about five minutes. Let cool 30 minutes before slicing.