Baked Sweet Potato Bread
I feel poorly for the lack of dessert/baked goods in my blog. I have to admit there is a problem with my obsession with pastry and sugary treats, well, a few problems. One of them is the sheer health of it all; although I do believe in "healthy" indulgences, having baked goods around the time is not conducive to my healthy lifestyle because believe me, if there are cakes, tarts, pies, and cookies around me; they will be eaten. Moderation is not my strong suit especially when it comes to dessert. Another reason is budget; which is very humble lately. I'd love to run out and buy each ingredient at the store for baking just to have on hand when inspiration sparks but I have to spend fairly frugally as of now. Third, I have no one to eat my baked goods, which makes me utterly sad. My boyfriends mother is allergic to nuts (among 100's of other things) and is fairly picky; so, she's out. My boyfriend's father is away 3 weeks out of each month for business, not at all picky and loves to eat but is not around. His sister, currently, is on a low-fat diet; enough said. As his sister, my boyfriend is routinely on a rigid "diet" as a part of his regular healthy lifestyle and will only eat my baked goods on Mondays (a.k.a "cheat day", to those in the know in the diet world). And then there was one, me, what's a girl to do?
With that said, I've been baking more bread; It is equally near and dear to my heart when it comes to baking. There are countless reasons of my love for bread that have evolved from the simple enjoyment of eating it to baking it. I could keep going on this subject but I'll save that for another time. I've always been known as the bread girl in my family and nothing has changed. Today's bread baking venture was an all day affair. I was looking forward to baking some breads with slow rises because slow rises are supposed to improve the taste and texture the bread. Being that it was a slightly chilly 30 degrees this morning - it was the perfect day. I also wanted something a bit unique but easy to work with as I ease my way back into baking.
The Baked Potato Bread, from the Fresh Loaf, looked enticing but there were no baked potatoes to be found but there were sweet potatoes. An idea was born. I loved the idea of being able to use sweet potatoes as a unique ingredient in my bread that I hadn't previously thought of as a possibility. I adapted the recipe as I desired, hoping for the best. I wanted it to be healthy, unique, but overall, just delicious.
and it was.
Baked Sweet Potato Bread
adapted from Potato Rosemary Bread from The Fresh Loaf
1 packet active dry yeast
1 cup water
1 cup mashed sweet potato, heaping (could be boiled or baked)
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. sage
Mix packet of yeast with 1/4 cup of warm water (110-115 degrees); let sit for 5 minutes.
In a large bowl mix the whole wheat flour, 2 cups of the bread flour, water, yeast mixtures, salt, pepper and sage; reserve 1/4 cup of flour. Mix until dough begins to form turn out dough on floured work surface and knead for 6-9 minutes, incorporating the remaining 1/4 cup of flour. Once dough feels "ready", place the dough in a greased bowl and cover the bowl with a moist towel until double in size, about 1 - 2 1/2 hrs (depending on temperature environment where bowl is).
Remove dough from the bowl; de-gas it and shape it. You may make a large loaf, 2 small loaves, 12 large rolls... whatever you like! Placed them on a greased baking sheet and set aside to rise again until doubled (about 1 - 1 1/2 hrs).
When ready, pre-heat oven to 500 degrees (this will give a good last rise to the bread from the heat) and put dough in oven. Bake at 500 for 5-8 minutes then drop temperature down to 375 for 15-22 minutes depending on loaf size (rolls will take less time). When rolls are done they look brown/dark brown and sound hollow when tapped. Remove rolls and allow to cool before serving (as usual, I did sample out of the oven and I would definitely recommend letting them cool before eating/serving). They keep well at room temperature for 1-2 days without any deterioration in in flavor or texture.
I created one small loaf and 5 medium sized rolls for the household. Although, the sweetness of the sweet potato did not stand out in the bread; I think it definitely enhanced the overall flavor of bread compared to a normal baked potato. The loaf had a slight peppery bite which was pleasing to all the family members, who really liked the bread. It had a wonderful dense but soft, chewy crumb. My boyfriend and I made little sandwiches with roasted chicken breast shreds and BBQ sauce... definitely perfect for sandwiches. I have to go get prepared for this evenings baking adventure!