sweet-potato-breadThe year is on the turn. My walk home smells like pine and dusty earth. For some reason it makes me think more of america than england. It’s drier here than normal but autumn clothes hang like leaves from the rails in the shops. I know in my body that autumn is here. My boyfriend laughed at me because I was sad I would miss most of it. “You’ll be in Tanzania. That’s going to be must more exciting.” I didn’t reply because I can’t put into words the sort of love and want so deep in my gut it makes me feel almost sick. The only word that feels really right for this time of year is mellow. It’s the image of a low mist hanging over a field on a bruise-blue morning; the first chill in the air; the first time you pull on a sweater; it’s the idea of the night around a camp fire. Not so long ago, autumn meant harvest time for most and that was a time of plenty but those people depended on that to see them through the winter. There would be celebrations of a successful harvest and they would be all the more meaningful because it was the ending of the warmth before a hard winter set in. Though we live in a time of plenty where imminent winter is no longer likely to bring the risk of illness and starvation, I still feel some sense of urgency in my will to enjoy the weather. Part of my love is a fear for how soon it will be over.

For all my ramblings, I have a recipe to help celebrate my love of this time of year. Cake is wonderful for celebrating but honestly, I think I prefer the wholesomeness of bread. This is soft, sweet and delicious. It is bread to make your mouth water and your house smell divine.

sweet-potato-bread-ingredients

Ingredients
For the sweet potato puree – 
150g sweet potato
50ml milk

For the dark dough –
125g plain flour
100g wholemeal self-raising flour
10g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
seeds of 5 cardamom pods, roughly chopped
25g margarine
1 tsp yeast
90ml warm water
pinch of salt

For the light dough –
225g plain flour
10g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
seeds of 5 cardamom pods, roughly chopped
25g margarine
1 tsp yeast
75ml warm water
pinch of salt

Roughly chop the sweet potato into slices of about 1cm. Place in a heatproof bowl and microwave for 4-5 minutes until soft. Add milk and sweet potato to a food processor and blend into a puree.

Place all the ingredients for the dark dough into one large bowl and all those for the light dough into another. Add half of the sweet potato puree to each. Mix, then knead each dough into a ball of smooth, elastic dough.

Place a clean tea towel over each and leave at room temperature to rise for an hour.
After an hour, knead each again a little then roll out into a sausage shape the length of the loaf tin. I use a 2lb loaf tin 21cm/8 inches long. Twist the two doughs together and roll a little on the board until they for a single sausage shape. Place this in a lightly greased tin. Place the tea towel over the top and leave at room temperature for a further 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200°C / 392°F.
Bake the loaf for 30 minutes. Cover the top in tin foil if it is browning too quickly and check it is done by tapping the bottom and checking it sounds hollow (all ovens are different).

I hope you love it as much as I do!

sweet-potato-bread-2

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