Ari's Picks

Potato Dill Bread from the Bakehouse

Midsummer super special bake coming up on August 4 & 5.


Potato dill bread from the bakehouse stacked on top of another potato dill bread.


One of my long-time favorites from the Bakehouse, Potato Dill Bread, is making a special summer appearance this coming weekend! I figured I’d give you the heads up so you can pick up a couple loaves for your house, same as I’ll be doing for ours. I just wrote about the Better Than San Francisco Sourdough last month, and that terrific bread serves as the base for this one. It’s naturally leavened—old-school, without the addition of commercial yeast, the dough takes about 18 hours to rise.

The Potato Dill Bread is enhanced with mashed roasted potatoes, then seasoned with a generous bit of fresh dill and scallions. It’s got a great lively full flavor that I like to eat ripped right off the loaf on the way home from the Bakehouse! Of course, you can also slice it and use it for toast or sandwiches. It would be great with the “Jewish Chop Suey” (read on!), with the Creamery’s Cream Cheese or Goat Cream Cheese, or just a bit of good butter. I love using it for grilled cheese too!

Here in the 21st century, potato breads of this sort can evoke images of comfort and familiarity, but a few hundred years ago the idea of putting potatoes into bread was actually rather provocative and for many uncomfortably unfamiliar. Potato breads back then were a cutting-edge culinary “innovation” being advocated by a French pharmacist and agriculturalist named Antoine-Augustin Parmentier. The anniversary of Parmentier’s birth (August 17th, 1737) makes this a particularly good month for us to celebrate this special bake and his boldness in introducing this new approach to baking. In Europe in the 18th century, potatoes were not well accepted.

Having come back from the Americas as part of the Columbian Exchange in the early 16th century, they were dismissed by scientists (who believed potatoes led to leprosy), the church (which argued potatoes provoked lust), and chefs (who thought they were bland). Parmentier became the potato’s biggest advocate in Europe. Potatoes, Parmentier preached, could help to cut costs (wheat was more costly) and add flavor. Clearly, his cutting-edge work worked out—today potato breads are staples in the cooking of Ireland, France, Germany, Scandinavia. And the Bakehouse! Swing by the Bakehouse this weekend and score a few loaves. They freeze well, so if you’re a fan, you can put a few away to break out this fall for a football game.

Pre-order for pick up at the Deli

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