Sweet Potato Bread
1/2 cup roasted sweet potato
1 cup uncooked oats
1 to 2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups hot water
1 tablespoon yeast
2 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups white flour
herbs or spices if you so desire
large mixing bowl, wooden spoon, 2 loaf pans
First I roasted a sweet potato in a 350 degree oven for almost an hour and a half. Let it go until it's soft; if you're struggling to peel it, let it cook longer. Then pack a half cup measure with potato. Put it into a large bowl with the oats and salt. Add 2 cups water (I use the hottest water I can get out of the tap). Next add the honey, estimating a teaspoon or two. Anyone who has ever measured honey in a spoon knows that it is like tasting bittersweet chocolate (you only try it once!).
Let sweet potato, oats, salt, water, and honey sit out on the counter overnight, uncovered. This allows it to pick up wild yeast from the air and also gives the oats a chance to soften.
When you are ready to proceed, stir the yeast into the mixture. Let rest for ten minutes. Add five cups of flour, one cup at a time, and carefully stir it in. I like a mixture of white and wheat flour and recommend against using all of one kind. Add herbs/spices at this point.
Clean a spot on the counter where you can scrape out the contents of the bowl. Begin to knead, adding more flour as necessary to prevent sticking. Really fold the dough over onto it itself, press down and slide it. Dough will tear. When it stretches, from sufficiently working the gluten, you can stop (may take fifteen minutes of kneading).
Put a drop of oil in bowl. Roll dough in oil and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for 2 hours, preferably in a mildly warm place. At this point, I like to get out my loaf pans and put a dab of butter in the bottom of each to soften.
After 2 hours, punch down dough ball and let sit for another hour. After a total of three hours, return dough to counter. Cut in half into 2 equal pieces. Now is a good time to smear the butter into the bottom of the loaf pans (non-stick spray works well too). Knead each piece separately and form a nice ball. Place into pans and cover with plastic wrap. Allow loaves to rise for 45 minutes.
While they are rising, preheat oven to 365 degrees. Check that oven rack is in the middle position and there are no other racks above. After the 45 minutes, remove plastic wrap and gently transfer the loaves to oven. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from pans and let cool on wire rack.
Also: bread recipe using sprouted whole grain wheat flour