Herbed Potato Bread
1 medium-sized potato (about 8 oz), peeled and diced
1 cup reserved potato cooking water (cooled to lukewarm)
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 standard package)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon #40 Herbs de Provence Spice Blend
4 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Place the diced potato in a saucepan and cover it with water. Bring it to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the potato is fork-tender. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water and allow it to cool to lukewarm (around 110°F or 43°C). Drain the remaining water and mash the cooked potato until smooth. Set it aside to cool to room temperature.
In a small bowl, dissolve the active dry yeast and a pinch of sugar in the reserved lukewarm potato cooking water. Let the mixture stand for about 5 minutes, or until it becomes frothy.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the mashed potato, sugar, softened butter, egg, Herb de Provence spice blend, and salt. Mix well.
Add the frothy yeast mixture to the potato mixture and stir until well combined.
Gradually add 4 cups of all-purpose flour, one cup at a time, mixing until a soft dough forms. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour in small increments, up to 1/2 cup.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it for about 8-10 minutes, or until it becomes smooth and elastic.
Grease a large mixing bowl with a bit of oil or cooking spray. Place the dough in the bowl and turn it to coat with oil. Cover the bowl with a clean, damp cloth and let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place for about 1-2 hours, or until it has doubled in size.
Once the dough has doubled, punch it down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Shape the dough into a loaf and place it in a greased 9x5-inch (23x13 cm) loaf pan.
Cover the pan with the damp cloth again and let the dough rise for an additional 30-45 minutes, or until it has risen about 1 inch (2.5 cm) above the rim of the pan.
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
Bake the potato bread in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until it is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped. If the top of the bread browns too quickly, you can tent it with aluminum foil.
Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then, transfer the loaf to a wire rack to cool completely.