1 large potato

water to cover

1 1/2 teaspoon dry yeast

1/3 cup molasses

1 cup rye flour

1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon caraway seeds

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon salt

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup all-purpose flour

flour for kneading

corn meal for the pan



Peel the potato and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Cover with water in a pan and cook until very soft. Strain off the cooking liquid, adding more warm water to make 2 cups total. Pour the water into a large mixing bowl and stir in the molasses. Make sure the molasses potato water is no longer hot and scatter the yeast over it.  Push the cooked potato through a ricer or a strainer (my tea strainer is old with holes the potato passes through well enough). Add 1/2 cup lump-free potato to the yeast mixture. (I thought I was going to ruin my bread because I used some barely edible potatoes my daughter-in-law gave me that had been smuggled from Peru by a colleague of hers at the U. of Oregon marine lab. They’re so starchy I think the Peruvians must grow those to make wallpaper paste! They were fine and made such a tender loaf that Valdi said they were like Icelandic potatoes and just right for bread!)


Stir in the cup of rye flour, 1 cup of the all-purpose flour and the caraway seeds, using a clockwise circular motion. Continue to beat in the same direction for 200 strokes. (This author uses the word “exactly” more than I am able to follow so I took those out, and 200 clockwise strokes or beats are nearly impossible. I did something to the dough 200 times with my right arm though.) Let this sponge rest until it starts to rise–about an hour.


Melt the butter, stir in the salt, and when it’s no longer hot, stir it into the dough along with the chopped walnuts and 1 more cup of white flour. Knead the dough on a lightly floured board until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes (5 was enough for me!). Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to lightly oil the top. Cover with a clean towel and let rise until doubled.


Shape and Bake:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a pan and dust it with corn meal. When the dough has doubled in bulk, punch it down and knead out air bubbles. Shape into a nice round loaf and place the loaf onto the pan to rise; cover with a clean towel. When the loaf has doubled in size, put it in the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until it sounds hollow when tapped. Cool before slicing.

Recipe by Karol Redfern Hamper, offered by Valdi, adapted by Eleanor