Fendu isn’t an evil character in a James Bond movie. Nor is it a cologne or a long forgotten board game languishing on your closet shelf. It isn’t a form of self-defense or a social media tool (at least, not yet). And, it certainly wouldn’t be confused with a hot sauce for dipping food in. Fendu is a method of scoring bread. A rolling pin is placed in the center of a loaf, pushed down to the bottom, and rolled back again, creating space between the dough. After removing the rolling pin, both sides of the dough are squeezed together. The dough is proofed upside down and inverted before loading it into the oven. Flour is your friend in this process; the surface of the dough needs to be floured generously to prevent the rolling pin from getting stuck. I learned about this method as I was looking at Jeffrey Hamelman’s recipe for Roasted Potato Bread. I thought of it as another opportunity to add to my vocabulary of bread baking. When I told my wife about this technique, she replied, “You’re baking more bread? We still haven’t finished the last loaf you made!” More bread? Don’t insult me. This is roasted potato bread. Potatoes are the sirens of temptation. How could I not bake this bread? And, my dear, potatoes always seal the deal when we’re cooking for our kids.
Mash ’em, smash ’em, bash ’em, or hash ’em
Cover in foil or boil
Bake ’em or grate ’em
Roast ’em or toast ’em
Eat ’em all up so you won’t
Have to compost ’em
Fendu The Magnificent. Stand back! He’s got a rolling pin in his hand.
Jeffrey Hamelman’s Roasted Potato Bread
For the Pate Fermentée
9.6 oz. (2 1⁄4 cups) Bread Flour
6.2 oz. (3⁄4 cups) Water
.2 oz. (1 tsp.) Salt
1⁄8 tsp. Instant Yeast
Disperse yeast in water, add the flour and salt, and mix until smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic. Let stand for 12 to 16 hours, until ripe.
1 lb. 1.6 oz. (4 cups) Bread Flour
4.8 oz. (1 cup) Whole-Wheat Flour
13.3 oz. (1 5⁄8 cup) Water
.6 oz. (1 T) Salt
.13 oz. (1 1⁄4 tsp.) Instant Yeast
8 oz. (1 cup) Roasted Potatoes
1 lb. (all of above) Pate Fermentée
Add all the ingredients, including the potatoes to the mixing bowl, except the pate fermentée. Using a spiral or stand alone mixer, mix on first speed for 3 minutes to gather together all the ingredients. Add the pate fermentée in chunks. Finish mixing on second speed for 3 to 3 ½ minutes.
Ferment for 1½ hours. Fold the dough after 45 minutes.
Divide the dough into 1.5 pound pieces. Lightly pre-shape into rounds, cover with plastic and let it relax for 10 to 20 minutes. Form into round or oval loaves or shape it in the fendu style.
Final rise is approx. 1 ¼ hours.
Preheat oven to 450°. Slash loaves before loading bread into oven (fendu-style loaves do not get slashed). Pre-steam the oven, load breads into oven, and steam again. Bake at 450° degrees for approx. 40 minutes.