Sunday, 17 March 2013

IRISH 'LUMPER' POTATO BREAD

Last week, I was kindly invited to a lunch in Gallagher's Boxty House, Dublin, to celebrate the reintroduction of a unique heritage potato, the ‘Irish Lumper’, into the Irish market. The 'Lumper' potato was widely grown in Ireland in the early 19th century. Potatoes became the staple diet of many Irish families at this time. Widespread crop failure of the lumper potato contributed to mass emigration from Ireland in the 1840's. 

Glens of Antrim Potatoes are celebrating the resurrection of the 'lumper' potato which has not been commercially cultivated since the potato famine of the 1840s. Specially developed and propagated from a handful of rare seedlings, the Irish Lumper, a distinctive knobbly potato, was launched into the Irish market on Monday the 11th of March. 

"Provenance is at the core of our business and five years ago we launched a variety development programme to bring back improved versions of local favourites which had been long forgotten. Following a period of heavy investment, and working closely with a specialist grower, we are now able to reintroduce a famous potato which has not been seen for over 170 years."Michael McKillop, MD of Glens Of Antrim Potatoes

To celebrate the launch of the 'lumper' potato and coinciding with St.Patrick's Day celebrations, I decided to create a recipe for Irish potato bread using the 'lumper' potato. This is an amazingly light and soft bread, delicious fresh out of the oven or toasted with poached or scrambled eggs. I hope you enjoy!



IRISH 'LUMPER' POTATO BREAD

Equipment:  1lb loaf tin  - lightly oiled with sunflower oil

INGREDIENTS:
400g lumper potatoes
(300g cooked weight)
1 tbsp butter
75ml milk, plus a little extra for brushing on the dough
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp fast action yeast
300g strong white flour
1 tsp salt

METHOD:
Preheat oven to 180C fan.

Peel the lumper potatoes and cook in a pot of boiling salted water for 20-25 minutes, or until tender.
Drain and mash with 1 tbsp butter. Leave aside for a few minutes to cool.

Meanwhile, place 75ml of milk in a small pot and heat very gently, until the milk is around body temperature. Not too hot or too cold so as not to kill the yeast. Add in the yeast and sugar, stir gently and leave for 5 minutes.

Place the flour, salt and cooled mashed potato in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Make a well in the centre and pour in the milk, sugar and yeast mixture. Turn the mixer on a low speed and allow to knead for 5-6 minutes. (You could also do this by hand, by bringing together the mixture in a large bowl, then turn out and knead on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes or so, until you have achieved a smooth, springy dough.)

Place dough in a lightly oiled, clean bowl, cover with clingfilm and place in a warm place to rise until doubled in size. This may take 1 -2 hours.

When the dough has risen, remove from the bowl and punch down to knock back. Knead gently for a minute and shape the dough to fit your bread tin. Cover loosely with clingfilm and let rise again for a second time in a warm place. When the dough has risen to the rim of the loaf tin, it is ready to bake. Do not allow it to over rise. This should take approximately 30 minutes.

Brush the dough lightly with milk and place in a preheated oven at 180C to bake for 40-50 minutes. After 35 - 40 minutes of cooking, you can remove the bread from the tin and place it upside down in the oven so it gets a lovely crisp crust. The bread is fully baked if it sounds hollow when tapped at the bottom.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before cutting.


2 comments:

  1. Hi Laura,

    To me, nothing beats the comfort of eating fresh bread plus soup... Our weather here in Australia has started to cool down and I reckon your potato bread will be a nice autumn food.

    Love all your Irish style cooking and baking. I can see lots of dedication in all your cakes. I'm now your latest follower and hope to hear from you soon.

    Zoe

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  2. Hi Zoe, lovely to hear from you! I hope the Australian summer is treating you well. My brother and his family have just returned from Sydney after spending 4 years living there! We are super happy to have them back! I'm delighted you are enjoying the blog and I look forward to hearing from you soon,

    Laura

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