Our vacation in Napa and Sonoma was a blast. Everything was superb from the weather, food, to the time spent with friends. Of course wine was the star attraction. It was day after day of visiting wineries and tastings galore. Yes, I was in paradise. Then it was time to come home and get back to the usual routine. Baking was at the top of the to-do list. Sweet Potato Monkey Bread filled my home with the scent of cinnamon, spice, and all things nice.
There was a reason for the urgency of baking. I received some sad news while we were away. My friend Donna’s husband suddenly passed. Donna is a fellow food blogger and someone I have admired ever since I met her online. Her husband had a life-threatening illness three years ago. The way she talked about him and their relationship during that crisis sounded like how I feel about my husband. So when I read the news of her husband’s passing, I could imagine what terrible heartbreak she is having. To lose a true soulmate and someone who makes you smile every single day is devastating.
Donna is also a cookbook author. Her love of bread baking shines through in her Cookistry blog. Because of it, she had the opportunity to take her knowledge and recipes from digital to print. Last year her book was published. Because I pre-ordered, I got a hot off the press copy of Make Ahead Bread (Amazon affiliate link). You can read my review of it in my post on Buttermilk Rolls. Or you can simply take my word for it and order the book. I truly enjoy having in my collection.
How is Sweet Potato Monkey Bread? Well, first it highlights sweet potatoes, a personal favorite of mine. Then there is cinnamon, a winning flavor combo with sweet potatoes. The bread is light, airy, and has a touch of moistness. Pull off a chunk and devour. Or bump it up with a slather of honey butter.
Some notes on making the bread: I had to add more flour during the kneading process to get the dough to pull together. It was because the potatoes I used had a high moisture content. So if the sweet potatoes you use are rather “wet” then you may need to do the same. Also, it took several hours for the dough to rise until doubled. Be sure you allow for some extra time in case you also have a slow rise.
Do you enjoy sweet potatoes and bread? If so, make this monkey bread. Also take a look at my Sweet Potato Casserole and then make Sweet Potato Casserole Muffins with the leftovers. Oh, and remember to get Donna’s cookbook. I know the sales of it would make her smile. Click on the link to it above or the photo of the book (Amazon affiliate links):
Sweet Potato Monkey Bread
For the dough:
- 1/2 cup cooked sweet potato flesh
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup room temperature water
- 2 1/2 cups bread flour 11 1/4 ounces
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
For the coating:
- 3 tablespoons hazelnut meal or almond meal
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
On prep day:
Combine all of the dough ingredients and knead by hand (mix first in a large bowl, then turn out to knead) or in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, until the dough is elastic.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour in a warm room.
Divide the dough into at least 24 pieces. They don't all need to be the same size, and in fact I encourage you to make them random. Cut more than 24 pieces if you like.
Spray an 8-inch round or square baking pan with baking spray.
Combine the coating ingredients in a small shallow bowl or plate and roll each piece of dough in the coating, then pile them into the prepared baking pan. You don't need to make an even layer, and you don't need them to go all the way to the edges of the pan - this is supposed to be a bumpy-lumpy interesting-looking bread.
Cover the pan with plastic wrap or place it in a large plastic bag and tie the open end closed. Place the pan in the refrigerator overnight or up to 24 hours.
On baking day:
Remove the pan from the refrigerator and heat the oven to 325°F.
Remove the plastic and bake the bread until it is nicely browned and the internal temperature registers 190°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 45 minutes. Let the bread cool in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool for another 20 minutes or so before serving.
Prep time stated does not include time for rising until doubled or chilling overnight.
Recipe © copyright Donnie Currie 2014 from the Make Ahead Bread cookbook. Used with permission.
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