Warm Comfort Bread
Inspired by Farine's beautiful Sweet Potato Bread, I made a few adjustments and am calling this bread, "Warm Comfort Bread."
I made this a couple weeks ago when it was 1 degree outside. Yes, 1. Super cold and snowy. Perfect weather for this bread with a hint of cumin and the taste of sweet potato. I'm normally not a huge fan of cumin, and so when I saw this as an ingredient I considered omitting it altogether. Instead, I decreased the amount to 1 gram. I was glad I included it because it gave the bread such a great taste- something you can't quite identify, but warm. Yeah, it sounds funny, but the bread actually "tasted" and felt warm- not temperature wise, but in the combination of flavors and I think the cumin contributes a lot to that. And it's surprising how just one gram can compliment the flavor of the sweet potato so nicely.
My formula for this bread: (modified from Farine's original Sweet Potato Bread recipe)
230g 100% hydration starter
*you could use your white starter here, I used a 50% white/rye starter and liked the little bit of rye flavor it added. If you don't have a rye starter you may want to add a little rye flour along with your white and whole wheat flours for added flavor.
510g unbleached ap flour
200g whole wheat flour (I used a combination of freshly-milled white and red wheats)
350g cold water (or use all or part cooled sweet potato water depending on how much you have left from boiling the potato)
280g sweet potato puree
35g wheat germ
1 to 1.5g ground cumin
16g sea salt* (original recipe is for 18g, but I chose to decrease the salt)
*be sure to decrease the % of salt if you are using salted sweet potatoes left over from dinner
1. Bake or boil sweet potatoes, mash, cool and set aside. Save sweet potato water (if desired) for use as all or part of the water.
2. Mix everything but salt in the bowl of a mixer on first speed until all ingredients are incorporated. Cover and rest 10 minutes. Add salt, then mix until medium gluten development- another 5 minutes or so.
3. Remove dough from bowl, knead it for a minute by hand and then place it in an oiled, covered container.
4. Ferment at room temp for one hour, fold dough and put back in container.
5. Place container in the fridge and retard overnight.
The next day:
1. Turn out dough and divide into three pieces (or into 2 as I did). Preshape into boules or batards. Rest 15 minutes.
2. Shape into tight boules or batards, place int brotforms and retard in the refrigerator again for 6- 10 hours.
3. Preheat oven to 500f. Pull out loaves from the fridge and set on counter while oven preheats.
4. Load breads in the oven with steam (I left the steam pan in for 7 minutes then removed)
5. Reduce oven temp to 450 and bake for 35 minutes. I then left the loaves in the turned-off oven for 5 minutes with the door open.
6. Cool completely.
I enjoyed this bread with a cup of coffee, looking out the window and watching it snow. In front of a fireplace would be good too :-)