Sweet potato gives this loaf an incredibly soft, rich texture. Enjoy it on its own cut into thick slices slathered in butter, or top with relish and cheese and grill until bubbling.
Believe it or not, this post started its life as a recipe for Thai chicken lettuce cups. However, my decision to use red cabbage instead of green resulted in neon purple mince that looked like some kind of mutant sludge. It tasted fine, but not even the most flattering lighting could make it look appetising. I still needed to photograph something, so a quick survey of the kitchen inspired me to come up with this bread made with sweet potato, herbs and garlic. The addition of sweet potato results in the softest of loaves, and gives a gorgeous golden colour to the bread.
On the topic of mutant sludge, it seems like every day a new horror leaks out of the Whitehouse. My heart breaks for the thousands of affected refugees whose already uncertain futures became even more uncertain with just a single signature. Given the current state of the world, I think there has never been a better time to learn how to make your own bread. Here’s why:
The process of kneading and nurturing bread dough is a soothing, relaxing antidote to the overwhelming panic that ensues every time you remember who currently holds the nuke codes.
If you do survive the nuclear armageddon, is a future without bread a future you really want to live in? Right now I’m Googling how to make yeast from scratch in a effort to prepare myself for the post-apocalyptic world. (You’re all welcome to join my tribe if you can bring a similarly valuable skill to the table)
In a political climate where so much of the rhetoric is centred around hate and fear, it feels good to engage in small rebellious acts of love on a daily basis. For me, baking and sharing food is one easy way to do this.
Use any combination of herbs you like, and for an even herbier hit you could also incorporate additional herbs into the dough during the kneading stage.
For a sweet loaf, double the honey in the recipe and sprinkle the dough with cinnamon and sugar before baking.
Sweet Potato Bread
- 175 ml milk
- 1 T honey
- 2 tsp instant yeast (1 sachet)
- 650 g white bread flour
- 1 t salt
- 2 eggs lightly whisked
- 240 g cooked mashed sweet potato (approx. 1 cup)
- 50 g butter softened and cubed
- 2 cloves garlic diced
- 20 g finely grated parmesan cheese
- leaves from 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary roughly chopped
- 1 T milk
- Heat the milk on the stove or microwave until lukewarm, add honey and stir until dissolved. Sprinkle yeast over the surface, and set aside for 10 minutes until yeast becomes foamy.
- In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine flour and salt. Make a well in the middle and add sweet potato, eggs and yeast mixture.
- Stir with a wooden spoon to wet the flour, then knead on a med-low speed for 10 minutes. Add more flour a tablespoon at a time if the dough is too sticky.
- Add half the softened butter, knead until it is incorporated into the dough, then add the other half. Knead for another 5 minutes on a med-low speed, again adding more flour if necessary. You want the mixture to come away from the sides of the bowl and form a smooth, glossy dough.
- Form the dough into a ball, and place in a large oiled bowl (the mixing bowl will work!). Cover, and leave to rise in a warm place for 90 minutes, or until doubled in size.
- Line two loaf tins, or cast iron casserole dishes with baking paper. After rising, punch the dough down and give a quick knead. Divide the dough in half, and make each into a ball or rectangle depending on what type of dish you're baking them in.
- Place each half into the two dishes, cover and leave to rise for another 40 minutes.
- When ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 180ºC. Mix together the garlic, parmesan and rosemary in a small bowl.
- Use a sharp knife to slash a cross in the centre of each loaf. Brush with milk and sprinkle herb mixture over top.
- Bake in the oven for 25 minutes until the crust is golden brown, and the loaf feels hollow when knocked on. If the herbs and garlic start getting too brown, drape with baking paper for the remaining cooking time.
- When done, remove from oven and leave to cool in the pan for 20mins before transferring to a cooling rack.