Potatoes have played a major role in the course of Irish history. In the 1840s, when a blight wiped out the crop and resulted in a severe famine, more than 1 million Irish emigrated to other countries--many to the United States.
Traditional customs, such as celebrating St. Patrick's Day, traveled with these people, and it wasn't long before friends and neighbors joined in the festivities. Today it seems everyone, whether Irish or not, participates in the annual greening of America each March 17.
Corned beef and cabbage is a typical entree served on this holiday. Accompany it with a loaf of Potato Bread, prepared with quick-rise yeast. The dough needs to rise just once, then is baked for about 25 minutes.
3 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup mashed potato, at room temperature
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 package quick-rise yeast
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 egg white
1 tablespoon cold water
Combine 2 1/2 cups flour, mashed potato, sugar, salt and yeast in large bowl.
Combine milk, 1/4 cup water and butter in saucepan. Bring to 125 to 130 degrees over low heat. Stir into dry ingredients, mixing in enough remaining 1 cup flour to make soft dough. On lightly floured surface, knead 4 minutes.
Roll dough to 16x8-inch rectangle. Roll up from long edge as for jellyroll. Seal seam and ends. Place on greased baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal and cover with towel.
Place large shallow pan on counter and fill halfway with boiling water. Place baking sheet over pan and let dough rise 20 minutes.
Cut 3 slashes in top of loaf. Beat egg white and cold water and brush loaf, then sprinkle with cornmeal. Bake at 400 degrees 25 minutes or until done. Remove from baking sheet and cool on wire rack. Makes 1 loaf.