This one trick helps your dough achieve that light, fluffy texture you want. It’s also your solution in a pinch when that dough is just-too-sticky.
So you went out and bought a new bag of flour right after putting away the Pesach dishes. Now both you and your kitchen are ready to get back to baking challah— and just in time for Shlissel Challah Shabbos. But once you have the dough mixed, you find that it is a bit sticky and uh-oh! You only bought that one bag of flour to work with. There is no other flour in the house. Zero. Guaranteed. What do you do now?
Solution: You certainly have some potato starch left over from Pesach. Not only is that leftover potato starch a perfect substitute for the little bit of extra flour that you need to ‘un-sticky’ the dough, but it may also do more good than you think! In fact, for years, people have intentionally added ‘potato-water’ to their bread dough for a light, fluffy texture.
Potato water is just the cloudy water that’s left in the pot after you boil potatoes. It’s starchy and thicker than plain water and may have tiny bits of potato floating around in it. The reason potato water works well to help your bread rise is that it has potato starch in it! The starch encloses the gas bubbles in your dough and strengthens them. That makes your bread rise lighter and higher. Your added potato starch can have a similar effect.
If you are still left with lots of potato starch, the next time you bake, you can try replacing half a cup of flour with an equal amount of potato starch. And once you have used up all the potato starch from Pesach, make some potato water and substitute some or all of the water in your recipe with that. Just be sure to scrub those potatoes very well or peel them before boiling. Happy Baking!
Goldie Shulman, mom of 6, is the creator of the Best Dressed Bread’s Challah Dough Cover, the cloth specially designed to cover your challah dough while it’s rising. Goldie grew up baking challah with her “Bobbie.” When she was a young girl, her grandmother would always give her a smaller piece of dough so she could play and shape her own challos…and Goldie was hooked. Goldie thought that it would be nice, that instead of covering the dough with any random clean kitchen towel, that it would bring honor to the dough if there was a special cloth dedicated to the process. View her designs here.
She’s also the author of the children’s book Way Too Much Challah Dough from Hachai, now in its 7th printing, and works full-time in the Graphic Design field.