Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Potato, Cheddar & Chive Torpedos: BBA

We’re almost finished with the BBA Challenge!  Forty-two breads baked, one more to go!  #42 is Potato, Cheddar & Chive Torpedos. 

These batards are made using the mixed-method which means it utilizes wild yeast spiked with commercial yeast.  I like how Peter Reinhart describes these loaves: “They pucker open with a grigne of crispy Cheddar cheese, followed by a beautiful soft cheese spiral highlighted with bits of green chives.”

I loved this bread!  It was so good.  I thought it was very fitting that Mr. Reinhart saved this bread and the next one for the end of the book.  He tells a very interesting story of Tim and Crystal Decker; then shares two of the most popular breads from their Bennett Valley Bread and Pastry Bakery.  This is one of those extraordinary breads.  Tim bakes his breads in a wood-fired oven, but I’ll have to make do with a simulated hearth oven.

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Potato, Cheddar, and Chive Torpedos

Makes: two 1 1/2-pound loaves

Adapted from: The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart


  • 1 large or 2 small unpeeled potatoes, coarsely chopped, boiled in 3 cups water until soft, and cooled. *
  • 1/2 to 1 cup potato water, lukewarm (saved from above)
  • 1 1/2 cups of mature sourdough starter
  • 4 cups unbleached bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 6 thin slices sharp cheddar cheese
  • Semolina flour or cornmeal for dusting

* Yukon Gold or regular baking potatoes will work for this recipe, depending on your preference.


Prepare the potatoes in advance and let them cool to lukewarm.  Set the potatoes and lukewarm water aside until needed.

Take the sourdough starter out of the refrigerator and measure the required amount.  Let it sit for 1 hour before making the bread to take off the chill.

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Stir together the starter, half of the flour, the yeast, cooked potatoes, and 1/2 cup of the potato water in a mixing bowl. 

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Let the mixture rest uncovered for 30 minutes. Add the rest of the flour and the salt and mix together until the ingredients form a ball.  Add as much of the remaining water as necessary.

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Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it for about 6 minutes, adding flour or water as necessary.

Add the chives and continue kneading until they are evenly distributed.  This will take about 2 minutes.

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The dough should be very tacky but not sticky.  Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it to coat it in oil.

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Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough bulk ferment at room temperature for about 90 minutes, or until the dough doubles in size.

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Transfer the dough to the counter and cut it into 2 equal pieces.

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Press each piece into the shape of a rectangle approximately 6 inches wide by 8 inches long.  Place slices of cheese on each rectangle.  You can use more cheese if you like to give it more cheese flavor.bba-potato-cheddar-chive-torpedo 016

Tightly roll up the dough, from bottom to top, jelly-roll style, creating a spiral with the cheese.

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It should look like a log.

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Seal the ends of the rolled dough into points.  This will give them a torpedo shape, plump in the center and tapered at the ends.  I’m not sure if I achieved that, but I liked the way they looked.

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Place the loaves on a sheet of parchment paper sprayed with spray oil and sprinkled with cornmeal.  Mist the tops lightly with spray oil, and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Proof at room temperature for approximately 1 hour, or until the dough nearly doubles in size.

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Prepare the oven for hearth baking by placing a steam pan in place.  Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.  Score the top of each loaf with 2 diagonal slashes, making sure to cut through to the first layer of cheese.

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Slide the loaves onto the baking stone. After 30 seconds, open the door, spray the walls with water, and close the door.

Repeat twice more at 30-second intervals, then lower the oven setting to 450 and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.  After 15 minutes, rotate the breads 180 degrees for even baking. 

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The loaves should be nicely browned all over, and sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.  The cheese will bubble out of the cuts, crisp up, and also brown.

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Transfer the baked loaves to a wire rack and cool for at least 45 minutes before slicing or serving.

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This was hard to do with this bread. It looked so good, I just wanted to eat it right when it came out of the oven, but I refrained and waited until it cooled to slice it. 

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Then I sliced it.  You can see the hole where the cheese melted through.  Yummy!

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On this one, you can actually see the cheese spiral.  And yes, I did eat both of those slices and enjoyed them immensely.  I didn’t need another taste tester for this one.

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I will definitely make this bread again.   It is a keeper for sure.

Thanks for joining us again in the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge.


These Potato, Cheddar, and Chive Torpedos have been YeastSpotted. Please visit Wild Yeast to view all of the lovely breads in the roundup.


Happy Baking!


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