Sunday, January 24, 2016

Sweet Potato Loaf Roundup

Photo by Nancy at Bread & Cake & More

As each month goes by, I marvel at the way each bread baker approaches the bread recipe and understands the technical relationship between gluten, and proofing and flavour development. Everyone who made this bread felt it was a worthy recipe and enjoyed the addition of sweet potato to this otherwise white sandwich loaf.

Nancy dove into the Sweet Potato Bread recipe and applied her expertise to create a loaf of bread that looks great. The dough performed beautifully; or as per Nancy’s opinion, it over performed. Based on the large air pockets in the crumb, it had her thinking that maybe her techniques needed adjustment, which sent her to the internet to research. An over-sized air pocket or two didn't stop her from enjoying it with a bowl of black-eyed pea stew with andouille and collards, and liked it equally as toast. Then she took the left over sweet potato and made the Sweet Potato Biscuits from the Bread Bible—Biscuits that look completely wonderful.

I chose this Sweet Potato Loaf because I was curious about the way potato makes bread moist and tender. Much like the Banana Feather Loaf that derives its moisture and gentle sweetness from the banana, this loaf does the same with the sweet potato, and I am always eager to experiment with ingredients that I’ve never used before.

I think Elle feels the same as I do. In fact, she says that “what [she] like[s] most about this bake-along is that [she] learn[s] something new every time. Whether it’s how to do a cold rise, a four-strand braid, adding exotic (for bread) ingredients, or just making a habit of weighing my ingredients.” After baking this loaf, she's added a ricer on her Amazon wish list because she thought if she had one, her bread would have been perfect. But for her (and me too) this project was a success because she got a great loaf—a loaf that included a new ingredient for bread, the sweet potato.

Marie W made this bread 10 years ago and got the same results today as she did back then. Then she considered that this recipe would make great hamburger buns, and she still agrees with herself today! Once the loaf had cooled, she sliced herself a piece and thought it “tasted like an old-fashioned, State Fair medal-winning white bread, except that it had a more complex flavor (and it wasn't white).” Now that’s a testament to this Sweet Potato Loaf.  

Catherine really liked the taste of the Sweet Potato Loaf but was unhappy with the texture, as it was crumbly, meaning it fell apart quite easily even though it cut well. She sussed out the reasons for this kind of texture and felt that she had either over-proofed it or she hadn’t kneaded it enough, so that the gluten hadn’t developed properly. Going forward, she’ll pay better attention and do the “windowpane test” to ensure the gluten is sufficiently developed. No matter, she felt it made tasty toast.

Kristina recognized that the Sweet Potato Loaf is practically the same recipe as Rose’s White Sandwich Bread, and felt very comfortable with the process. She is so efficient at making this loaf of bread that at the same time, she also made Butter Tarts—a time-honoured Canadian standard. Both turned out beautifully. She didn’t feel the sweet potato had any discernible flavour, but rather tinted the bread a  slight “surreal” orange. The loaf turned into a perfect foil for melted cheese and a bowl of soup.

Vicki thought the bread was amazing, and couldn’t wait to cut into it. She spread Lyle’s Golden Syrup on it.

Next month we will be baking the Pretzel Bread on page 171. Keep in mind that this recipe calls for malt powder (non-diastatic, I believe). It's available through King Arthur. Also, for an authentic pretzel crust, this recipe calls for lye, which should be available at hardware or plumbing supply stores. Also note that there are corrections for this recipe.


  1. Sorry I missed this one, but hope to be on board for next one. I love pretzels! Thanks for the heads up on the special ingredients needed:)

    1. I love pretzels too. Look forward to making them, and I look forward to reading your post as well.

  2. Pretzel bread will be another first for me! Nice round-up Kimberlie, you captured our collective musings on the trials of bread-making well.

    1. Pretzel Bread will be a first for me too! I'm so happy you liked this month's roundup. I enjoy writing them.