Saturday, September 04, 2010

Sweet Potato Rolls

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2.5 tsp (8 g) Active dry yeast
1/2 c. Warm water
4 tbsp Brown sugar, unpacked
1 small sweet potato
3 tbsp Butter, softened
1 tsp Salt
2 Eggs, beaten
3-4 c. Flour

Cook the the sweet potato in the microwave on high (about 2-3 minute).  Peel and mash.  Set aside 1/2 cup.

Dissolve 1 tsp of brown sugar in warm water.  Stir in the yeast and let stand for 5 min.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and the remaining sugar.  Stir in the mashed sweet potato, eggs and salt.  Add the yeast mixture.

Slowly add the flour, about 1 cup at a time, and mix with a wooden spoon.  As the mixture turn dough-y, switch to kneading with your hands.  Continue to add the flour until the dough is soft but not sticky.

Grease another large mixing bowl lightly with cooking spray.  Shape the dough into a ball and place it into the greased bowl.  Cover with a towel and let the dough rise for about 1.5 hours.  The dough should double in size.

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On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into 15 pieces.  Roll each piece into a ball and place it on a baking sheet lined with a Silpat (or any silicone mat or parchment paper), spacing the balls 1" apart.  Cover with a towel and let the dough rest for another 15 min.

Pre-heat oven to 375°F.  Bake the rolls for approximately 15 min or until the top is golden brown.

Cool slightly before serving.

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My comments:

I have never baked bread before but I've always wanted to try.  I was told it's not hard and the secret to successful bread baking is fresh yeast.  So when I stumbled across Cate's Sweet Potato Rolls recipe that promised good results with minimal kneading and rising time, I was inspired to embark on a new baking adventure.

I didn't have the knowledge base to make a lot of changes to the recipe.  I wanted the rolls to be at least edible so that I will try baking homemade bread again in the future.  I must admit, I do like these rolls and my mom gives them two thumbs up!!  We taste-tested them while they were still warm and with a little slab of butter, we decided that I will most definitely make them again.  :)

As a novice breadmaker, I found the following tricks useful:

  • Flour a knife and use it to divide the dough instead of your fingers.  Cutting the dough into small pieces first made it much easier (and less sticky) to work with the dough.
  • When the recipe said "lightly floured surface", it really meant Lightly.  I used way too much flour and the dough did not absorb the flour while it was resting.  So my rolls looked a bit floury.  I think it still tasted ok; they just don't look at tastey as Cate's.
  • It helps if you know how to knead properly.  I didn't and Hubby had to instruct me on the basics.  Incorporating flour into the dough went much smoother once I mastered the art of dough kneading.
  • Use fresh sweet potatoes.  Mine was a bit old and therefore dry.  It didn't mash very well.
  • To prepare the yeast mixture, dissolve the sugar in hot water before mixing with a little bit of cold.
  • The rolls do not "spread" like cookies!!  So they did not expand to touch each other while baking. My bread all came out as individual rolls and they were perfect!!  :)

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I think I will buy 2 more sweet potatoes this week.  I have enough yeast to make this again, double-batch.  I think these rolls will freeze very well.  Perhaps I'll freeze a dozen or so in preparation of the lil babe's arrival in the next few weeks.  I don't expect I'll have to a lot of time to bake once the little one is here. 

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