Bread Baking: Maple and Sweet Potato Buns

[Photograph: Donna Currie]

Sweet potatoes are a perfect fall food. The gorgeous color is reminiscent of fall leaves. They can be used for sweet or savory dishes. They're filling and comforting and full of healthy stuff. And did I mention the color is really pretty?

The last time I made sweet potato buns, I used a sweet potato flour. Nothing wrong with that except it's a little hard to find and can be pricey. Sweet potatoes are very cheap in comparison.

You can cook sweet potatoes specifically for this recipe or just use leftovers. If you do use leftovers, keep in mind that whatever flavors you've added to the potatoes will also be in the bread. And, if you've added a lot of butter to the potatoes, you might want to cut back on the amount in the bread dough.

So there I was with sweet potatoes and thinking that I wanted to add one more flavor. I considered walnuts. I considered bacon. But I didn't want anything quite that assertive. I wanted buns that were a little different, but that wouldn't clash with other foods.

Finally, I settled on maple. Not a lot; just enough to accent flavors rather than take over. And to boost the maple flavor—because, let's face it, a couple tablespoons of maple syrup isn't going to add that much flavor—I added maple extract as well.

These buns are sweet from the potatoes, but not too sweet. It's not like they're breakfast buns. They'd make great dinner rolls, particularly one involving ham. Or to make ham sandwiches from the leftovers.

About the author: Donna Currie has been cooking for fun and writing for pay since the days when typewritten articles traveled by snail mail. When she combined those talents in a food column for a newspaper in her area, she realized that writing about food is almost as much fun as eating. You can find her on her blog, Cookistry or follow her on Twitter at @dbcurrie or @cookistry.

Bread Baking: Maple and Sweet Potato Buns

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About This Recipe

Yield:Makes 15 buns
Active time:25 minutes
Total time:3 hours
Rated:

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 cups (13 1/2 ounces) bread flour
  • 1 cup mashed sweet potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon maple extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Procedures

  1. 1

    Combine the yeast, water, and maple syrup and 2 cups of flour in the bowl of your stand mixer. Stir to combine and set aside for 10 minutes to get bubbly. Add the remaining bread flour, sweet potatoes, and maple extract. Knead with the dough hook until you have a smooth, elastic dough. Add the salt and the butter and continue kneading until both are incorporated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside until the dough has doubled in size - about an hour and 15 minutes.

  2. 2

    Flour your work surface, line a baking sheet with a sheet of parchment, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Turn out the dough and divide it into 15 pieces. Form each into a ball and place it on the prepared baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside until the rolls are doubled in size, about 40 minutes.

  3. 3

    Remove the plastic wrap and bake at 350 degrees until the buns are nicely browned, about 30 minutes. Place the buns on a rack to cool.

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