The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sweet Potato Maple Pecan Rolls

isand66's picture

Sweet Potato Maple Pecan Rolls

  I was asked to make some rolls for Thanksgiving again this year so I decided to try to turn my Sweet Potato Maple Pecan bread into rolls.  In the original bake I had discovered that I used way too high of a hydration in the dough so this time since I was making rolls I cut down on the hydration considerably.  My calculations say 53% total dough hydration and 78% with the add-ins but since the sweet potato variety I used this time was a red variety with white flesh I think the moisture content of the potatoes may have been less than calculated.

I decided to add some cranberries to go along with the holiday theme which definitely added a nice tough to these rolls.  I also used milk instead of water this time to try to make the crumb a little softer which I stole from Janet Cook's recipe here.  She also used butter in her bread which I decided not to borrow in this version, but may try adding in the next go around.

I also used some fall themed cookie cutters to try to make them pretty, but for some reason it didn't really work very well and the rolls ended up a bit misshapen on the top.


The end result of this experiment was a tasty roll which didn't have the orange color I would have preferred or sweetness due to the variety of sweet potato but still tasted like a nice holiday roll worth of a Thanksgiving feast.  For the next go around I will use the correct variety of potato and also increase the hydration just a bit.  Using some Yeast Water couldn't hurt either.




Levain Directions

Build 1

Mix all the levain ingredients together for about 1 minute and cover with plastic wrap.  Let it sit at room temperature for around 7-8 hours or until the starter has doubled. I used my proofer set at 83 degrees F. and it took around 5 hours.

Build 2

Add the stage 2 ingredients to the first Build (add 50 grams of mashed sweet potatoes) and mix thoroughly until incorporated.  Cover and let sit at room temperature or in your proofer if you have one.  In my proofer it took around 4 hours to double.  You can either use it immediately in the main dough or put it in the refrigerator overnight and use the next day.

 Main Dough Procedure

Mix the flours, and the milk together in your mixer or by hand until it just starts to come together, maybe about 1 minute.  Let it rest in your work bowl covered for 20-30 minutes.  Next add the salt, starter, balsamic and sweet potatoes and mix on low for 6 minutes.  Add the pecan pieces and cranberries and mix for an additional minute to incorporate them evenly.  Remove the dough from your bowl and place it in a lightly oiled bowl or work surface and do several stretch and folds.  Let it rest covered for 10-15 minutes and then do another stretch and fold.  Let it rest another 10-15 minutes and do one additional stretch and fold.  Since this dough is so wet I did a total of 5 stretch and folds but if you adjust the hydration you won't need to do this.  After a total of 2 hours place your covered bowl in the refrigerator and let it rest for 12 to 24 hours.

When you are ready to bake remove the bowl from the refrigerator and let it set out at room temperature still covered for 1.5 to 2 hours.  Remove the dough and divide into pieces.    Shape into rolls and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and cover with a moist tea towel or plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray.


The dough will take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your room temperature.  Let the dough dictate when it is read to bake not the clock.

Around 45 minutes before ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 500 degrees F. and prepare it for steam.  I have a heavy-duty baking pan on the bottom rack of my oven with 1 baking stone on above the pan and one on the top shelf.  I pour 1 cup of boiling water in the pan right after I place the dough in the oven.

Right before you are ready to put them in the oven, score as desired and then add 1 cup of boiling water to your steam pan or follow your own steam procedure.

After 1 minute lower the temperature to 425 degrees.  Bake for 35 minutes or until the rolls are nice and brown on the top and reach an internal temperature of 210 degrees.

Take the bread out of the oven when done and let it cool on a bakers rack  for at least 2 hours before eating.




trailrunner's picture

Holiday buns . Nice !  I made the mistake of buying the Japanese white fleshed sweet potato.We didn't care for them…they are indeed much starchier and dryer. I read that they are often substituted for chestnut puree so you might want to try that. I shall look forward to your next iteration of sweet potato roll .  These look very yummy. I think YW would definitely be a great addition. c

isand66's picture

Thank you for your kind words.  When I make them for the holiday in a few weeks I'm sure my final adjustments will pay off even though these still taste pretty good.


Janetcook's picture

I see you are well on your way here with the rolls.  Looks like your hydration level is better than last, but with the oats, I can understand why you want to increase it a bit.

I noticed your addition of cranberries….I toyed with that idea too but opted not it add them in my last bake….now for future bakes I just might have to reconsider since they do fit in with the season :)

THanks for the post and photos.

Take Care,


isand66's picture

Thank you Janet.

Do add the cranberries as I really found them to compliment this type of recipe and I'm sure your friends and family won't be disappointed.



dabrownman's picture

baked these off to see how they hit your perfection scale that will be needed for Thanksgiving guests!  You seem to have gotten way more than half way to perfect with this bake and found out what direction you want the rexcipe next to make them better - Stil, these have to be pretty taasty rolls and the color of the crust is unique and a keeper in my book. 

Happy baking Ian

isand66's picture

Thanks DA.  Max gave these a thumbs up but was upset I didn't use the doggie cookie cutter to make a Max roll.

I'm heading over to your post now to  check out your latest bake.


Mebake's picture

Lovely job, Ian!


isand66's picture

Thank you Khalid.  I think the next version will be even better now that I know what I need to adjust.

Look forward to your next bake.

Hope your back is holding up well for you.


Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

This shows you are a well rounded baker that can do many different breads!  Something to aspire to for sure.

Great job man.


isand66's picture

Thanks for the kind words John.  You're not too far behind yourself.  I look forward to seeing some of your future SD bakes now that hopefully you will have a little more time especially with the cold winter fast approaching.

I have one I'm about to take out of the oven I think you will like and DA as well.  Lots of whole grain goodness..Hopefully it will taste as good as it smells.

Look forward to your next post.