It feels odd to have not shared this recipe with you yet because I have been baking it all month long.
Seventeen total loaves to be exact.
20 pounds of sweet potatoes, 20 pounds of flour, four pounds of butter, a gallon of milk, and a whole jar of yeast has passed through my kitchen in the past few weeks to make those loaves.
It was worth it. I love this recipe! It was what I chose to gift to everybody this year.
I first saw the bread on Sophia's blog, shared from The Kitchn (in roll form). I'll share mine below for convenience, and since I made a few alterations.
3/4 cup warm water
1 scant Tbsp active dry yeast
1 heaping cup mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup milk (I used skim)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter (I used salted)
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp kosher salt (*see Note below)
4 cups all purpose flour
Begin by scrubbing your sweet potatoes and baking them in a 350° oven until soft. Wait a few minutes to cool, peel off the skin, and mash.
Use a very large bowl and add the warm water and yeast in the bottom. Let it sit a few minutes to dissolve while you set up the other ingredients and prepare things, such as melting the butter. (*Note: I do not buy unsalted butter. It falls under the non-alcoholic beer category for me - what is the point? If the extra salt bothers you, simply omit one of the teaspoons of kosher salt.)
Combine the rest of the ingredients except the flour in the bowl, stirring with a large wooden spoon (Any other people out there from an Italian household that grew up with a deep fear of wooden spoons?) until fully incorporated. Add the flour and begin working with the spoon, using your muscles. It will seem like too much flour and you'll wonder how you will get it all mixed - but trust me, it will eventually come together.
Spray another large bowl with non-stick spray and plop the dough into it. Let rise until doubled - about two hours. (Tip: I have two favorite methods for letting my dough rise. The first is in a warmed microwave. Our microwave is right above our oven, so it conveniently was warm from baking the potatoes beforehand. Another great place to let dough rise is in your kitchen sink with the drain plugged and a few inches of hot water in the bottom.) After two hours, transfer the dough to a greased loaf pan. Bake at 400° for approximately 40-45 minutes.
This really is a beautiful bread. It's not like a sweet, desserty bread you'd expect from the name. Instead, it's more savory with a hint of sweetness. The crust gets a delicious crunchy exterior, while the inside remains moist and fluffy.
My favorite way to eat it is toasted with a drizzle of honey.
And that is exactly how I finished a whole loaf.
In three days.