Sweet potato bread. Simple enough. And our local markets remain stocked with Texas sweet potatoes. The bread machine, besides performing a superior knead, makes quick work of smashing up your ‘tater. You can bake the dough in the machine as well, but with weather like this (someone please send this cold and wet Gaelic atmosphere back for a few days. I need to synthesize some vitamin D), I’d just as soon crank the oven up.
This recipe yields dough sufficient for one standard-size loaf or two smaller loaves. The smaller loaves will bake more quickly, saving you time and energy.
Check out the bunus–I mean bonus–recipe for a sweet treat to use up those cheap and juicy Texas oranges, on sale now at HEB for only $1.50 for a 4-pound bag (through February 9).
TEXAS SWEET POTATO BREAD makes one 9″ X 5″ loaf or two small 8½” X 4½” (1-quart) loaves
- 8 ounces (a scant cup) cooked Texas sweet potato, mashed. Skin-on is fine and preferable. Standard issue Texas sweet potatoes work best here. Fancier varieties such as some Japanese cultivars can be drier, and you may have to add up to ¼ cup more water to achieve an elastic dough.
- scant 1 cup local milk, scalded (and cooled off a bit if not using a bread machine). I use goat’s milk from either Swede Farm Dairy or Wateroak Farm. Way Back When sells local cow’s milk at our farmers markets.
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt. I like Real Salt.
- 1 Tablespoon local honey. I love Good Flow‘s local wildflower nectar. I buy it in bulk at Central Market and bring my own container.
- 3 Tablespoons organic butter. Organic Valley of course. Click for a coupon.
- 3 Tablespoons local and/or organic cornmeal. I usually buy Arrowhead Mills.
- 200 grams (about 1 ¾ cups) organic white whole wheat flour. Whole Foods offers the best price on King Arthur brand in the 5-pound bag.
- 250 grams (about 2 cups plus 1 Tablespoon) organic all purpose flour. Whole Foods again. Their 365 brand in the 5-pound bag is normally the best buy.
- 1 ½ teaspoons bread machine yeast (instant or rapid rise—NOT active dry)
Knead the dough how you please. For my bread machine, I simply place the ingredients into the pan in the order listed. For other mixing methods, whisk together the dry ingredients, then mix in the rest and knead until you have a smooth dough.
You can give the dough a cool rise in the garage or laundry room for several hours, depending on ambient temperature, or a colder overnight rise in the fridge, whatever suits your schedule. Be sure to cover the dough with greased plastic wrap. I have replaced most of the plastic wrap that I use with bags that I get when purchasing items in obligatory bags. I cut the bags so they lie flat and wash them expeditiously in the (clothes) washing machine.
Form a loaf or two and place the dough into well-greased pans (I like to use coconut oil for this bread), lined on the bottom with greased parchment paper (this dough can stick). Cover again with the plastic wrap and let rise until puffy. Slash each loaf with a very sharp paring knife (or razor, or a lame) lengthwise down the center for an attractive split.
Bake in a preheated 350º oven (preferably on a baking stone) for about 50 minutes for a larger loaf and about 35 minutes for the smaller breads. The loaves should be nicely browned and hollow sounding when tapped with your finger. Give the bread a minute to rest in the pan before turning it out onto a cooling rack to cool completely before slicing.
This bread enjoys the company of organic peanut butter (I use Central Market’s creamy “no-stir”) and a nummy jam. Blackberry or sweet orange marmalade would play well.
You can use this same dough to whoop up some simple cinnamon rolls. Or go all out with this bonus recipe:
TEXAS SWEET POTATO AND ORANGE STICKY BUNS makes 9 rolls
- 1 recipe Texas Sweet Potato Bread dough, through the cold rise
- 2 cups fresh squeezed Texas orange juice. Zest one before you juice it. If you have time, zest a few and save the zest in the freezer for sparkling your cooking later in the year.
- 50 grams (¼ cup) organic sugar. Central Market’s brand is a good value at $2.99 for a 2-pound bag.
- 50 grams (¼ cup) organic light brown sugar. CM again, with a 1 ½-pound bag for $2.99.
- 3 Tablespoons organic butter. See Organic Valley above.
- 50 grams (¼ cup) organic sugar
- 104 grams (½ cup) organic light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon salt. See Real Salt above.
- 2 teaspoons fresh orange zest from your Texas oranges
- 1 Tablespoon organic butter, melted
Press the dough down and let it rise at warmish room temperature while you work on the glaze and filling. The cold dough can take more than two hours to come around (and you’ll need some time to juice all those oranges), so you may even have a chance to load the dishwasher.
Reduce the juice in the microwave to ½ cup. I use a 1-quart Pyrex measuring cup and start with a little over a cup of juice. Nuke it for 10 minutes on HIGH. Add the rest of the OJ to the cup and continue to cook on HIGH for at least another 12 minutes. Do watch carefully. If you get distracted for too long with a dirty diaper or fussy baby you can wind up with just a couple tablespoons of burnt caramel.
Pour the reduced orange juice into a small (8″) non-stick or enameled skillet. Add the sugars and butter (the three Tablespoons) and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is thickened and syrupy. Pour the glaze into a (greased) foil-lined 10″ square pan. Let cool for at least 20 minutes to firm up while you continue with the rest of the recipe.
Combine the filling ingredients (sugars, spices and 1 Tablespoon butter). I use the hot syrup skillet and still-hot electric burner to melt the butter without additional electricity. Roll the dough out to a 12″ X 10″ rectangle—a nonstick mat really helps here. Cover the dough with the filling, spreading it to within ½ inch of the border. Roll the dough up into a tight log, starting with a long end, and pinch the seam closed. Using a large, sharp knife, cut the log into 9 equalish slices—not quite 1½” wide. Place each slice—spirals up—into the glaze-lined pan. Cover with the plastic again and let rise until puffy, about an hour, maybe a little longer if the house is cold.
Bake at 350º for about 35 minutes, until very well-risen, lightly browned and feeling “set” when tapped in the center. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes before unmolding onto a heat proof platter. Quickly scrape all the glaze onto the buns. Let cool for at least another 10 minutes before digging in.