Sunday for me means: bread baking day. Nothing beats getting my ingredients neatly lined up, preparing the yeast, making a huge mess with flour, waiting for the bread to rise and then watching it bake in the oven.
Come to think of it, there aren't many things I love more.
This post was actually requested by a close friend of mine in Canada. She knows all about my bold breadventures. According to her, "bread is art". Alright, I agree.
This one's for you, sister.
Before you start, please consider that bread needs time. It's not in the combining or the kneading, it's in the rising. So, if you truly want to savor the joy of baking, make sure you have about 4 hours to spare. Don't let this scare you! The reward is more than worth it.
Alright, let's start with the ingredients, you'll need:
* This can be divided into: 100 gr. gluten-free flour, 150 gr. wholemeal flour, 250 gr. spelt or white flour.
** Fresh yeast is kept in the fridge. You can also use instant yeast, which doesn't need to be activated.
Start with turning on the oven to 200°C. Take the sweet potato, clean it and pierce it a couple of times with a fork. There's no need to peel it, I always keep the skin on when roasting. Place it on an ovenproof dish and put it in the oven for about 40 minutes.
Whilst the sweet potato's roasting, sift the flours into a large mixing bowl. You can either use whatever you find in your cupboard, or go for the low-gluten combination suggested above. If you're a first-time baker, I'd advise you to increase the amount of spelt flour. It's easier to work with and rises quicker.
Add the sunflower oil and combine. The structure should resemble small breadcrumbs. Now, add the teaspoon of salt and either 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary or 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary. Combine with the other ingredients.
Put the bowl aside and turn on the kettle. It's time to take a moment and relax with a nice cup of tea and the sweet smells from the oven. Ah, bliss...
To check whether the potato's cooked, gently try to push it down with the back of a fork, there should be no resistance. It should also be oozing sweet, sticky syrup.
When it's ready, take it out of the oven, let it cool down for a few minutes and then scrape the insides into a bowl to cool further.
PS: Don't discard the skin, eat it! It's sweet, crunchy and super healthy.
If you're using fresh yeast, add a small amount of lukewarm water (approx. 150 ml.) to an ovenproof bowl. Make sure the water isn't too hot, because this will kill the yeast. Ideally, it should be close to body temperature.
Break the yeast into the water and put the bowl somewhere warm for 10 minutes. It should have a slightly frothy consistency when it's ready.
First knead the sweet potato into the flour mixture and then add the yeast & water. Combine all ingredients until you have a soft, non-sticky, malleable dough. If it's too dry, add some cold water. If it's too sticky, add some flour.
When it's of good consistency, take the dough out of the bowl and knead for 10 minutes on a floured surface. Kneading is important, because it helps your bread rise. Just close your eyes and consider it a massage ;)
Now, put the dough back into the bowl, cover it with a moist tea towel and put it somewhere warm. I suggest the (still warm) oven - make sure it's not too hot though! It'll need to rise for about 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
Once your bread has proudly risen to capacity, you'll have to punch it down and briefly knead it again. Why? You're basically giving the yeast another chance to do it's magic. Letting it rise once more is good for the texture, the taste and the eventual consistency of your bread.
This time, you'll want to knead it to the shape of your loaf. I suggest dividing the dough in two, and making two small loafs. This always works best for me, because if the loaf is too big, it's harder to get it completely cooked.
Make small incisions in the loafs, dust them with some flour and cover them with a moist tea towel to let them rise once more.
You can turn the oven on to 180°C as your loafs are rising - this should take about 30 - 40 minutes.
When they've doubled in size, put them into the oven and enjoy watching them bake. They'll be ready in about 45 minutes, but make sure to keep an eye on them. You can check if they're done by taking out a loaf, turning it over and tapping it on the bottom. It should make a hollow sound.
Is it done? Congratulations you starbar! You did it! But wait, don't wolf down the bread yet. Give it some time to cool down first. It'll be easier to cut and it'll keep better that way.
Here's a photo of my well-deserved lunch :)
Eager to try this? Don't hold back! Get your hands dirty, your elbows even, and do send me a picture while you're at it!
Warning: sweet potato bread is highly addictive. Proceed at your own risk.
PS: Like this recipe? Please share it with your friends on facebook, pinterest or twitter! Use the share buttons below. Thanks!
PPS: This recipe was inspired by "Cornucopia at home, The Cookbook". Check it out, it's awesome!
With soulcandy love,
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