Bread: Sweet Potato Rye

After salvaging five sweet potatoes from the dying produce section of Berkeley Bowl (for a total cost of 49 cents!) I naturally found myself in possession of an abundant amount of sweet potatoes. In trying to decide what to do with them (they really were on the verge of dying, action needed to be taken) I naturally tossed then in a pot of water to boil. And after they were boiled, I decided to invent a Rye bread recipe based on sweet potatoes, naturally.

This was to be the first bread recipe I had invented on my own. Standing at the threshold of my kitchen, I felt a surge of reckless adventure, as if I was sailing out into uncharted waters (aboard a viking ship, of course, since it was to be rye bread that involves boiled potatoes). Oh, the sagas of bread-making.

Here is what I came up with: IMG_2850

Indeed, the image is sideways and blurry. But you get the idea, right? I have gotten requests for more description of the bread-making process, so here goes:

Here’s what I used:
1 Medium Sweet potato
1 ½ tablespoon dry yeast
3 cups lukewarm water
¼-1/2 cup sugar (maybe add more or use brown sugar!)

¼ cup Molasses

1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cardamom

1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 cups rye flour
4+ cups whole wheat flour
extra water and flour for kneading

and here’s how you make it:

Start that potato a-boiling. let it boil until it is soft all the way through. When it is done, you should be able to pull it out, scrape the skin off easily, and mash it up. But leave a few small unmashed chunks in there, they are rather nice in the bread.

In a large bowl, dissolve the dry yeast in the 3 cups of lukewarm water. Don’t use water that is too hot, or else you’ll kill the little yeast-ies that are at work in there. Let the mixture sit for around five minutes until there are little bubbles in it. At this point, add the sugar (you may want to add more if you want sweeter bread, but I prefer it not too sweet) molasses and cocoa and spices. Mix well until all of these delicious ingredients  have combined. Add the mashed Sweet potato, and combine ingredients.  Next, add the two cups of rye flour. Stir with a wooden spoon. Yes it must be a wooden spoon. don’t ask me why, that is simply the rule. Continue to add in the 4+ cups of Whole Wheat flour (you can used all-puporpuse if you desire, but when making bread in general I usually prefer WW flour). You may need to add more flour in order to allow the mixture to form a soft dough. At this point you should use you hands to mix the dough. Really, it is the best way. When you can form it into a small round ball, do so. Place it back in the bowl, cover it with a cloth, and set it in a warm (but not hot!) place to rise for about 45 min to one hour. Use that hour to read twelve pages of “The Brothers Karamazov”. Yes, it very well may take you that long.

After the hour has passed, return to your bread. It should have grown a bit bigger, noticeably so, but nothing too dramatic. Spread out some flour on a flat clean surface, and plop the bread dough down on it. Add a half a cup of WW flour here and there, depending on how much the dough will take. It seems to vary every time. Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes. Return to the bowl and let it rise again, this time 30-45 minutes. Read six pages of Dostoevsky.

Return to your bread. It is time to shape the loaf, my favorite part! The way I personally did it was by rolling out the dough, separating into three strands, braiding then and the fitting the whole thing into a loaf pan. This makes a coherent loaf with a top that has a pull-apart quality. But you can do it however you want. If you are using a loaf pan, don’t forget to put some sort of anti-sticky agent (read: butter or PAM) in the pan. You won’t regret it. Bake at 350 for 50 min to one hour, until the top of the loaf is just slightly browner than the rest of it. Let it cool off (or eat it right away, which it what i usually do. That usually lands me with a burnt tongue.)

Enjoy with butter, peanut butter (highly recommended, by the way) or chocolate. I may also one day try this with raisins baked inside of it. Yum. Happy baking.

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One Response to “Bread: Sweet Potato Rye”

  1. Anna Says:

    Neat! I love your creativity!

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