Where does potato bread come from?

Potato bread has been a staple food in Ireland for centuries, not only because of the amount of potatoes we ate before the famine, but also because Ireland wasn't a good place to grow soft wheat due to the climate. Boiled potatoes can be mixed with any flour to make a rough potato pie that can be cooked in a pan or on a stove. Brazilian potato bread is usually a light and airy bread, made in small round breads with potatoes or potato flour mixed with wheat flour, milk, eggs and yeast and then baked. It can also be found with catupiry filling and is often eaten as an appetizer throughout the country.

Peru, Ukraine and Germany have breads that originate from their country's traditional recipes that include potato-based bread. Cherokee Indians also have a bread that uses sweet potatoes instead of the standard white potato. Potato bread is popular all over the world in its many and varied forms. It's as different from one bread to another as the people who make it.

The recipe refers to yeast cake, which was not invented until 1825, but perhaps the recipe is older and has been modified. According to the wonderful Food Timeline website, potato breads have existed since the mid-18th century. Crushed or in the form of potato flour, potatoes were first added to bread when ingredients such as wheat were scarce and expensive. The bakers then realized that potatoes actually improved the flavor of the bread, making it lighter (and whiter), so they started adding the tubers of their choice.

Potato bread is commercially available in the United States as a light, airy bread very similar to regular mass-produced white bread, but with a yellow tint, a thicker texture, and a slight potato flavor. Potato farls are a large roll divided into four quadrants or square slices (usually between 0.5 and 1 cm thick) of soft potato bread, lightly sprinkled with flour and are common in Ulster, especially in Northern Ireland. Potato bread provides more fiber and protein per serving, while the rest of the nutrients and calories normally found in wheat bread are relatively the same. Recipes created specifically for use with a bread machine only require dry flakes, as the addition of mashed potatoes would create a problem in the fermentation process.

As potato has been a staple in the Irish culinary tradition, potato bread is very common and comes in many different shapes. The heaviest and most dense bread uses a recipe that requires the addition of oatmeal along with potato flour. Germany, Peru and Ukraine also have their own types of potato bread; however, the Irish variety is very popular and often turns into a variety of pastries. Potato bread is a rich and hearty type of bread that is ideal to serve at parties with different sauces or together with dinner or almost any gathering.

An average slice of potato bread will provide about 80 calories, 4 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber. In the 19th century, potatoes became a common ingredient in breads and pastries, both in Europe and in the United States, particularly where German, Irish, Scottish and Polish immigrants settled. The proportion between potato and wheat flour varies significantly from one recipe to another, as some recipes contain a majority of potatoes and others have a majority of wheat flour. To convert a basic loaf of bread into potato bread, replace a serving of wheat flour with a serving of potato flakes.

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