The Fresh Loaf

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Warm Comfort Bread

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inlovewbread's picture

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 :-)





Floydm's picture


milwaukeecooking's picture

Great crumb.  I love adding spices to breads.  I have used cumin in breads and it adds enough subtle flavor that you dont' want to top it with anything. 

It looks like you had adequate hydration, judging your crumb, but where did the extra hydration come from?  You have 47% hyrdration just looking at your flour and water ratio.  Was there enough water in your starter to get you up to, I'm totally guessing, 60-65% hydration?  Was there water/milk added to your potato puree?  When I have made potato bread before I did not add water to my potatoes.  

inlovewbread's picture

Maybe I was a bit too vague on the hydration that I had adjusted! I went back to my notes on this formula and saw that on my first attempt at this recipe, I had used 125g firm starter and added 180g water. I corrected the starter and water amounts for use with 100% hydration starter- making it much simpler.

Thanks for catching this- I should be more precise in future posts :-)

(sorry about all the edits too- just trying to simplify the overall formula)

Marni's picture

That looks delicious!


milwaukeecooking's picture

Thanks for posting a response so quickly.  I appreciate your explanation.  Now the hydration makes sense. 

dmsnyder's picture


ehanner's picture

They look perfect!


hansjoakim's picture

Beautiful! Perfect loaves :)

Nathan's picture

Nice write up.


ques2008's picture

I have been to farine's site and yes, she does have beautiful creations.  for the French-speaking members, she also has "bombance", and you get more delights in that site.  she's a gem.

thanks for posting step-by-step instructions, much appreciated.

saraugie's picture

I halved the recipe, except for the salt (my error sis not do on purpose).  I estimate I put in about 13 gr, instead of the 9.  I used a starter that I had built about 3 months ago and have tended every once and a while.  I am supposed to add 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water, removing same amount, once a week and I average about once every three weeks.  Still its appropriate smelling and bubbly when left out a bit.

I did not think it was rising enough in the fridge so I took it out and it stood at room temp for about 5 hours.  During this time, I stretched and folder some sugar in, hoping to counteract the salt.  Then did the same with a bit of instant yeast and let it sit about 2 hours that way.

By the time I put it in the oven, I notice some bubbling on the skin.  I was fully prepared for it to come out as a door stop.

But you know what ?  It tastes GREAT LOL.  I don't know why it burned though, there were 3 burned areas on the skin, but just on the skin.