Friday, May 23, 2014

Purple Sweet Potato Bread

These pull-apart rolls are so fluffy soft, the kinda bread that most Asians prefer. This bread uses a pre-ferment starter ;  that is left to ferment for 17 hours in the refrigerator. The pre-ferment dough is added to the rest of the ingredients the next day to knead into a dough, following the usual process of making a bread. It may sound like a long process, but kneading the dough for the pre-ferment takes only about 10 minutes, when using the stand mixer. The kneaded dough is then placed in a bowl, cover with cling wrap and left in the refrigerator for a minimum of 17 hours. I left mine for about 19-20 hours. The dough will rise only about 20-30%, and is used cold, directly from the fridge.

Purple sweet potato gives a beautiful, attractive colour to the bread. The sweet potatoes are first steamed, peeled and mashed. Some of it, is used in the dough, and the balance as a filling for the buns. For the filling, I've left the sweet potatoes a little chunky with bits of pieces still visible. I've used Japanese sweet potatoes, purple and white variety.The recipe did not mention about the total amount of uncooked sweet potatoes needed, I find that I did not have enough of the purple sweet potatoes and mix with some white ones. I've reserved the purple ones for the dough and for the filling, a mixture of purple and white. These sweet potatoes are really sweet, and there's really no need for any sugar at all for the filling. You would need about 1.2kg (unpeeled weight) of sweet potatoes in total. Any extras, is great for snacking, really sweet.

Purple Sweet Potato Bread

The author uses chiffon cake pan to bake the bread, and did not specify the size of the pan. Guessing that a 20cm pan would be suitable, I've used that. Since I have only one, I have used another 20cm (8") round cake pan to bake the other half of the dough. The ones in the chiffon pan has the purple sweet potato as the filling.

I've left the other half of the dough plain, with no filling.
These two pans are baked in a preheated oven at 175C for 40 minutes.

The ones with the sweet potato filling. Really nice.

The plain bun. I like the lovely colour of the purple sweet potatoes. The buns are really fluffy soft, so good. They are good eaten on its own with a cup of hot coffee. Makes a very nice breakfast and tea-time snack.

(note :  my changes in blue)
Purple Sweet Potato Bread
(adapted from "Natural Breads Made Easy", Kin Chan)
Pre-ferment dough :
377gm bread flour
216gm water
11gm fresh yeast (I use 4gm instant yeast)
5gm sea salt
11gm skim milk powder

Dissolve the yeast in water. Add bread flour, sea salt, skim milk powder and knead until soft. Cover the dough in cling wrap. Refrigerate to let it prove for 17 hours.
(I mixed the instant yeast with all the ingredients)

The dough :
162gm bread flour
16gm skim milk powder
5gm sea salt (omit salt as I've used salted butter)
65gm sugar
135gm water
5gm fresh yeast (I use 2gm instant yeast)
43gm unsalted butter (use salted butter)
269gm mashed purple sweet potato

For the filling :
mashed purple sweet potato

Preparation :
Cut the pre-ferment dough into small pieces.
Steam the purple sweet potato with skin on. Peel and mash it. Save some for filling.
(You will need about 1.2 kg of purple sweet potato, unpeeled)

  1. Knead all ingredients of dough together (except the butter). Add pre-ferment dough piece by piece. Knead after each addition until soft and smooth. Add butter. Knead until stretchable consistency. (I used the stand mixer to knead the dough, speed 2 for about 10 minutes, after adding the butter).
  2. Put the dough into a big bowl. Cover with a cling wrap. Let it prove for about 25-30 minutes.
  3. Divide the dough into sixteen small equal portions and round them. Set aside to rest for about 20 minutes. (dough is a little sticky, dust with a light sprinkling of flour).
  4. Flatten each piece of dough with your hands to release air. Round them again. Press flat. Stuff them with mashed sweet potato. Make into rounds again. Place eight pieces of dough into one mould. Cover with cling wrap. (though the book did not mention the size of the pan, but the bread was baked in 2 chiffon cake pans. I used one 20cm (8") chiffon cake pan and one 20cm (8") round cake pan, which work out fine).
  5. Let it prove for about 45 minutes or until the dough has risen to 80% of the depth of the mould. Brush the top with egg wash. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 170-180C for about 30-35 minutes.

  • Once the breads are done baking, remove from the pans immediately and let cool on wire rack.
  • The author recommends if using instant yeast, use only one third of the amount of fresh yeast listed in the recipe.


I am linking this post to Little Thumbs Up event, ingredient for this month is Milk, organised by Zoe of Bake For Happy Kids, Doreen of My Favourite D.I.Y., hosted by Tze of Awayofmind Bakery House.


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  1. Wow! I love this purple colour,and so sweet !

  2. Lovely and colorful sweet potato bread with purple color. Wonderfully prepared.

  3. Oh why love the colour. how do you get your bread so light and soft, mine always end up dry and hard.

  4. Oh this bread look so pretty! I think I would like the one with filling better hehe... Have a great weekend Joyce :-)

  5. i have printed these out almost immediately after seeing your pictures!! gonna make these for sure

  6. Hi Joyce! I always love the purple colour of the purple sweet potatoes. I reckon this bread would also taste good without the filling.

  7. Loving that beautiful color and the texture is too good..

  8. Oooo the purple colour from the sweet potatoes makes this bread look so enticing!

  9. I love this sweet potato bread with filling some more....what a romantic purple colour!

  10. Hi Joyce, nice color and fluffy soft buns. Yummy!

  11. I already love sweet potato bread and much more now this has extra filling in it. So great to have healthy homemade bread!

  12. Purple sweet potatoes bread, nice! I love almost everything with sweet potatoes.

  13. That's what I don't like about bilingual cookbook , most of the time they left something out and it's up to you to figure it out :P Yeah , I borrowed this book last time and I think your bread looks way better than the one in the book ;D

  14. Hi Joyce, your purple sweet potatoes bread look lovely and romantic ! :)

  15. Looks so soft and fluffy and yes, I love the purple dough too! Beautiful!

  16. i read before that this 17hrs bread really gives good results, would love to try this method some day..i ve been saying want to try this method since last year..oops..haha! actually lots of bread recipes i 'm keen to try too..slowly...slowly...:D

  17. Hi Joyce,

    I have been looking around for purple sweet potatoes and can't find any... Sad! Seeing your beautiful bread, I feel even sadder :p


  18. It's so pretty! Thanks for sharing this in LTU! :)

  19. Joyce, your purple sweet potato bread look so pretty in that colour! And the bread looked so soft! Love the one with filling in there!

  20. WOW! LCantik nye the natural color of this delicious bread ! Looks so fluffy & soft like cottony ! Love it ;)

  21. what a beautiful color and it's so obvious how soft and fluffy it is!

  22. Hi Joyce, after kneading for more than 10 mins, its still very watery and sticky. May I know where went wrong?

    1. Hi Melinda,
      The dough is a little sticky due to the sweet potato, but definitely not watery. You may try to add some amount of bread flour, and if possible, use the stand mixer to do the kneading. Usually after the first rise, the stickiness will be reduced. I assume that you have weigh the ingredients correctly, and that your weighing scale is accurate, so have no idea why it is watery. If you intend to make this again, try using half of the water indicated and add on as needed to produce a soft dough. I hope it works for you as this is one soft fluffy bread.