SWEET POTATO LOAF

 

February 1, 2015

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One afternoon I was munching on a baguette that I had just bought from a huge chain boulangerie here in Montreal—a boulangerie that presents itself as being authentically French. I noticed an oily residue on my fingers and in my mouth, and it was odd because French bread should not be like this. So I spoke to the Head Baker and I asked him if he added oil to the baguette. He said: “of course, Madame (with an emphasis on the “dame”). How else will the bread be moist?” I thought: This guy is a perfect example of how arrogance causes ignorance, and I never bought another loaf of bread from this bakery again. Even I know, as an amateur baker, that oil is not the only ingredient that produces moisture.

This encounter made me only more curious about what makes bread moist and tender. This is why the Sweet Potato Loaf intrigued me. Not only does it contain potato (a moisture rich ingredient), but it calls for sweet potato. 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.

Overall, the Sweet Potato Loaf was delicious. Really truly. Yes, the bread was sweetened, but in a natural way, thus I didn’t feel as though I was indulging. It was as light as air (maybe it should have been named Sweet Potato Feather Loaf). I tasted a definite sour tone—a sourness that came from leaving the dough starter in the fridge overnight, but it was enjoyable, as it balanced out some of the sweetness of the potato.

In conclusion, I found the loaf too light in texture. It was so so tender, that I could hardly cut an straight slice without it compressing and collapsing under the motion of the knife. I think in part, it's because I over-proofed it. Also it's a testament to the potato and dry milk, I think. Still, I prefer a toothier texture, but that’s not to say this Sweet Potato Loaf isn’t delightful. It is, and I’m very happy to have made it.

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Instructions

DOUGH STARTER AND FLOUR MIXTURE

  • This is a standard process for me by now. The only thing I changed was that I let the dough starter sit for an hour at room temperature and then refrigerated it overnight. I just ran out of time to see the loaf through to the end.

Making the dough starter.
Making the dough starter.

MIXING THE DOUGH

  • Feeling stubborn, I chose to make this bread by hand. So I pulled out my huge bread bowl.

The sweet potato and butter going into the dough starter and flour mix.
The sweet potato and butter going into the dough starter and flour mix.

  • Certainly, the initial mixture was very rough and the sweet potato and butter sat chunky in the dough.

Mixing the dough with the dough whisk.
Mixing the dough with the dough whisk.Leaning into it with my hands.
Leaning into it with my hands.

  • The first 5 minutes of kneading was very sticky (not my favourite experience)

The dough after 5 minutes of kneading.
The dough after 5 minutes of kneading.

  • But after letting the dough rest for 20 minutes, it transformed into a beautiful bread dough. The second 5 minutes of kneading made the dough sticky again, but a little flour smoothed it out.

You can see how the texture really changed.
You can see how the texture really changed.

LET THE DOUGH RISE

  • On the first rise, the dough took a good 2 hours to double.

The dough after its first rise.
The dough after its first rise.
After the first biz two biz folds.
After the first biz two biz folds.

  • On the second rise, it took another 2 hours to double.

SHAPING THE LOAF

  • By this time, the dough was soft and supple. I made two more biz folds easily and dropped it into the loaf pan. At this point, I was anticipating a delicious loaf of bread.

The dough shaped into a loaf and ready for its last rise.
The dough shaped into a loaf and ready for its last rise.It rose beautifully. Maybe too much.
It rose beautifully. Maybe too much.

BAKING THE LOAF

  • The bread baked very quickly. Well before the time was up, the internal temperature was just over 200F. I didn’t have any trouble with the top over browning.

Just out of the oven.
Just out of the oven.

  • As you can see in the finished shot, the bread rose too much, as evidenced by the keyhole in the centre of the loaf and around the edges. Next time, I n need to be more mindful of the rising time.

Sweet Potato Loaf, The Finer Cookie.
Sweet Potato Loaf, The Finer Cookie.

  • WHAT ARE THE ALPHA BAKERS? : Here's how it works: once a month, for the next two years, 25 Alpha Bakers commit to baking their way through every recipe of Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Bread Bible. Each month we post our experiences on our blog sites: our successes, our failures, our like and dislikes . The recipes are scheduled in advance so that everyone is baking the same recipe at the same time. No recipes can be shared in my Alpha Bakers Bread Bible posts due to publishing restrictions enforced by the publisher, but if you love to bake bread, this is a must-have book. You can see other tutorials for the same recipe at the following link The Bread Bible Alpha Bakers at http://breadbiblealphabakers.blogspot.ca/
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Comments

1 Comments

Rick   2017-01-08

Feather lite is right. Delishous and moist. Makes great toast with jam or peanut butter. I think I'm eating the load all by myself.

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SWEET POTATO LOAF

Ingredients
Instructions

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