The black specks are caraway seeds. We are not sure if this is needed. The bread itself has nice flavors.
I slashed and sprayed with water to make "rustic" look and a good crust.
The "slashes" were supposedly to be "deep" so instead of a bread "lame", I used a kitchen knife which appeared not to cut as cleanly as it should have.
1 package of dry yeast
1/2 cup of warm water with a pinch of sugar
3 tbs of flour
Additional 3/4 cup of warm water
1/2 cup mashed potatoes (We used leftover mashed potatoes. My wife mixed in chive-and-onion cream cheese, 3/4 container for 2 large cooked russet potatoes).
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp caraway seeds
2-3 cups of bread flour
1. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water with the sugar and let it proof until bubbly.
2. In a bowl, mixed the the yeast mixture and flour. Cover with plastic wrap and then towels and let it stand for 30 minutes until the starter bubbles up (starter).
3. In a stand mixer, add the starter, water, mashed potatoes, salt and mix well using a paddle. Switch to the dough hook, add the flour one cup at a time at low speed until the dough forms and cleans the side of the bowl (in the end, we estimate we added about 2 and half cups of flour). Let the mixer knead the dough for 7 to 10 minutes.
4. Place the dough on the floured board and hand knead for a few minutes to make a tight ball.
5. In a large bowl, add a small amount of olive oil, place the dough, turn over to coat all sides and cover with a plastic wrap and then with towels and let it rise until the volume doubles (about 1 hour).
6. Punch it down and fold a few times to make a free formed round loaf.
7. Coat the wooden pizza paddle with corm meal and place the formed dough on it. Slide the dough back and forth to make sure the dough moves easily.
8. Cover the dough with a plastic wrap and then a towel and let it rise for 30-40 minutes.
9. Remove the towels and plastic wrap. Using a sharp knife, cut a deep cross on the surface of the dough.
10. Using a sprayer, spray water on the surface of the dough and slide it on the baking stone.
11. Bake at 400 F for 30-25 minutes (or until done depending on the size of the loaf).
This is a really good rustic bread. It has a nice firm consistency with crust and good flavor. We are not sure we really need Caraway seeds.
The bread is great toasted.We just ate as is with butter but this could make a good sandwich. It was a success with this modified recipe.