I apologize for the rant, but there is something terribly wrong with the way our economy is going! I know that it is only two days after Canada Day and already I am complaining. (before anybody gets on my case, I am proud to be a Canadian and I know we have a lot of positives living in Canada...) but you really have to wonder and worry about how young kids living on their own and elderly on fixed incomes are managing with all the rising costs. It baffles me how someone who is only earning 9 something an hour can make ends meet when groceries, gasoline, and housing is all going up and up. It is a sad day when staples like milk, butter and bread are all over $5.00 each, (milk $5.69, a pound of sweet butter $5.49, a loaf of bread $4.99).
It is the cost of bread that is the inspiration for the Potato Buttermilk Rolls. Over the weekend at the market I picked up a loaf of potato-scallion (are the loafs getting smaller?). The loaf was $4.99. It is a nice soft bread that has a tendency to disappear to quickly in my house. When I wanted to make a sandwich the bread was all gone. In the fridge I had a container of buttermilk left over from the pancakes I made with it last week. I was wondering what I would make that would use up the remaining buttermilk and realized that I could probably use it to make a bread. While I didn't make the bread I did find a recipe in the Williams-Sonoma book for Potato Buttermilk Buns that used not only the buttermilk but a large russet potato. The buns are soft and slightly hearty and the buttermilk adds a faint tang that contributes to their appeal.
To begin, in a small sauce pan combine the large potato (about 1/2 lbs or 250g cubed) and bring this to a boil in 1 1/2 cup water until tender about 10 mins. Pour the cooked potato cubes and the water into a 5qt bowl of a stand mixer and mash the potato cubes with a fork. Stir in the 1 1/2 c buttermilk and let the mixture cool to warm. Into this dissolve the yeast (2pkgs or 5tsp active dry yeast), let stand for 5 mins. Add the flour (6c, 2T sugar, 1T salt, and 1/2 c soften unsalted butter). Place the bowl on the mixer, attach the dough hook and knead on low speed (by hand use a wooden spoon until a shaggy mass forms). Using a plastic pastry scraper, scrape the dough onto a floured work surface and knead for 5-10 mins. With a dough hook knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic about 5-7 mins. If the dough seems sticky dust the wok surface with a little extra flour to keep the dough from sticking.
Remove the dough from the bowl and form into a ball. Transfer it to a lightly buttered bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm draft free spot until it doubles in bulk about 1hr.
Punch down the dough and turn it onto a clean work surface. Cut the dough in half with a sharp knife. Cut each have into 8 equal pieces for rolls or 6 equal pieces for sandwich buns. Cover with a kitchen towel and let them rest for 5 mins before shaping. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll each piece of dough against the work surface into a ball. Place the balls on the prepared sheet pan spacing them evenly. Cover the rolls with a towel and let them rise in a warm spot until doubled in size 15-30 mins. If you want a lighter airier texture for sandwich buns, let the dough rise until spongy and pillow soft around 45 mins.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375F. Lightly dust the tops of the rolls with a little flour, bake the rolls until they are puffed and little browned 20-25 mins. Let rolls cool slightly before serving.
A few minutes later,a little chive cream cheese topped with a juicy tomato on a yummy soft potato-buttermilk bun.
1 lrg Russet Potato (about 1/2 lb peeled & cubed)
1 1/2 C water
1 1/2 C Buttermilk
2 pkg or 5 tsp active dry yeast
6 C flour plus extra for kneading and dusting of rolls
2 T Sugar
1 T Salt
1/2 C Unsalted butter at room temperature
(you can use yams or sweet potatoes instead of Russets for a colorful variation)
Makes 12 sandwich buns or 16 rolls