This is one of our family’s favorite breads. It is adapted from a recipe found in the late Bill Neal’s book “Biscuits, Spoonbread and Sweet Potato Pie.” It looks beautiful and would make a great addition to your Thanksgiving feast.
This recipe does take some time. You can roast your yams the day before and chill them. If well-wrapped, this bread also freezes. Be sure to read the recipe carefully and assemble all your ingredients before you begin. I have a large silpat mat for rolling out pie crusts and dough and it is ideal for this recipe because you don’t have to scrape sticky dough off your counter. If you are looking for a nice holiday gift for a food lover, the large silpat mat is very useful. It is one of my favorite accessories in our kitchen.
Spiced Sweet Potato Challah Bread
2 Tbsp. yeast
1/4 c. warm water
1 c. milk
1/2 c. white sugar
1/4 c. golden brown sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 c. unsalted butter, melted
1-1/2 c. roasted and mashed yams, chilled
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 c. oats
4-1/2-5 c. flour
1 egg beaten with a pinch of salt
Wash and prick 2 large yams. Place on a baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees for 1-1/2 hours until very soft. Chill until cold. For the bread dough: Dissolve yeast in warm water for 5 minutes until foamy. Set aside. Combine milk, white sugar and salt in a 2 cup glass measuring cup. Heat in the microwave until warm and sugar is dissolved – about 1 minute. Let cool slightly. In a mixer combine yams and melted butter and mix until well blended. Add eggs, brown sugar, yeast, milk mixture, and spices. Beat until well combined. Add oats, then flour 1 cup at a time until you have a soft but somewhat sticky dough. Resist the urge to add too much flour. Place dough in a large buttered bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a warm place 1-1/2 hours until doubled in bulk. Cut risen dough in half. Take one half and place it on a well-floured flat surface. Cut the dough into 3 sections. Roll each section into a rope and form into a braided loaf. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover with a tea towel and let rise 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Make an egg wash by beating an egg with a pinch of salt. Brush over risen braided loaves. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is dark and the interior is baked. Cool on rack. Makes 2 large braided loaves. Serves 20 people.