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Prize Winning Potato Bran Bread

4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced   1 cup lukewarm water
3 cups water   1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup oil or butter   2 tablespoons dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar   pinch of ginger
1 tablespoon salt   2 cups natural bran
1 1/2 cup buttermilk   12 cups white flour

Hint: add a pinch of ginger to the yeast mixture as Madame Benoit, Quebec's famous cook says it stimulated the yeast's activity.

Cook the potatoes in 3 cups of water until very tender. Drain off the water into a large measuring cup, adjusting the volume to 3 cups. Pour into a large bowl and set aside. To the hot potato water, add the oil, 1/2 cup sugar, salt and buttermilk. Mash the potatoes well and add to the mixture in the bowl. Cool to lukewarm.

Combine 1 cup lukewarm water, 1 teaspoon sugar, yeast and ginger and let stand 10 minutes. Add to the cooled potato mixture. Stir in the bran and 4 cups of flour and beat with an electric mixer on high speed for 1 minute. Mix in the remaining flour 1 cup at a time using a wooden spoon. You may not need all the flour. When the dough is stiff enough to be handled, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead it for 10 to 12 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. Place dough in a greased bowl, brush the top with oil and cover with waxed paper and a tea towel. Let rise in a warm place until double in bulk, about 1 hour.

Punch down. Shape into 4 double loaves and place in well-greased 9" x 5" x 3" pans. Let rise until doubled, about 50 minutes in a warm place. Bake at 425 F. for 15 minutes, reducing heat to 375F for 25 minutes or until well browned. Remove from pans at once and cool on wire racks.

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