If you mention homemade Potato Bread to someone who was born here and whose Mother made her own, you will always get the story of the melting butter running down their arms as they ate it..
Mothers – or Dads – buttered a piece of potato bread straight off the griddle for an enraptured child, and allowed them to eat it as they watched the making of the next batch.. Go on – mention Potato Bread to someone of a certain age, and you’ll get the melting butter story!
This recipe has been passed down through the generations, and everyone does it slightly differently. Here’s my recipe, courtesy of my friend Muriel, who makes proper Northern Ireland Potato Bread in Australia, because you can’t buy it there.. It freezes really well, waiting to be thawed, gently fried, and served with butter.
The ‘butter running down your arms’ thing is optional, but surely has its own joy, if you’ve heard the stories as many times as I have.
Let’s go – this Ulster Fry won’t make itself you know..
- A large mixing bowl
- A knife, a fork
- A large shallow frying pan or griddle
- A weighing scales
- Cooked, cold mashed Potato. As you’ll see from my pictures, I used leftover Champ.
- Plain flour
- Finely ground Black pepper and salt
- Butter – say no more..
METHOD: I’m leaving the quantities to you, and this recipe will always work if you keep the ratio of potato-to-flour the same.
- Weigh your cold mashed potato into the mixing bowl – I had 500g yesterday
- Add Plain Flour to make up a quarter of the weight of the potatoes – so, in my case 125g of Plain flour
- A good shake of salt and pepper
- Keep the flour handy – you’re going to need it again
- Use the fork to mash up any lumps in the cold potato, and mix the flour evenly into it.
- You’ll get to a stage where the flour won’t rub in any more, so now you have to take off your jewels, wash and dry your hands, and – as Jamie says – ‘get stuck in’
- Bringing the mixture together into a solid ball is relatively easy, so just keep mixing it until that happens.
- Sprinkle a generous amount of flour onto your working surface
- Plonk the lump of Potato and flour onto the floured surface.
- Give it a few gentle pats to turn it into a nice round shape without any hard edges. turn it over once or twice to make sure it’s not sticking.
- Cut the ball into 4
- Heat the griddle/frying pan to medium-hot , and sprinkle some flour over it.
- Take one piece, and – again on the generously-floured surface -pat it into a round shape. Use a rolling pin, or your hands to flatten the potato dough into a circular shape, no more than about half a centimetre deep.
- Cut your circle of potato into 4 or 6 triangles..
- Pop the pieces onto the griddle and cook for about 3-4 minutes, then turn one piece over and if it’s a pale brown colour, flip it over to cook the other side. Turn all the other pieces over when they’re ready, reducing the heat if you think it’s browning too quickly.
- While the first batch is cooking, make up the 2nd quarter, etc .
- Put the cooked pieces onto a cooling rack, or butter a warm piece for someone you love and watch the butter get everywhere!
- Continue patting/rolling, frying, turning, and cooling or buttering, until the dough is all used up.
- To use straight away: Cook in a frying pan, with some oil or bacon fat, until a rich golden shade. Perfect as a snack, or as part of an Ulster Fry, or as a base for a couple of poached eggs.
- To Freeze: Wrap individual portions – 2-4 pieces – in baking parchment and then in a freezer bag, or suitable box until required.
- I think I’ve given you most of the notes as we’ve gone along. Muriel says the trick is to keep the Potato dough well floured so that it doesn’t stick to work surfaces, hands or frying pan.
- I used a pastry brush to dust off any truly excess flour as I went along.
- Don’t cook at too high a temperature, it needs to cook gently to get that dusty, light brown shade that we all recognise from shop-bought Potato Bread. It will get another chance to shine when you re-cook it later on.
- It’s important to remember that this is ‘dry-fried’ for its first cooking. There is no fat involved at the first stage, so don’t be tempted to add any – apart from butter at the end, obviously!