Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sweet Potato and Spelt Bread

Sweet Potato and Spelt Bread

Our first assignment for the mid-February baking project is Red Beet Buns. Although people were making them and commenting how much they liked them, I just couldn't get myself to touch a beet! In addition, I knew my husband wouldn't eat them. We just don't eat beets, peas, or liver in this house. "House rules."

I have never worked with spelt before. I have been anxious to try using it. I bought both regular and white spelt at EarthFare (like Whole Foods).

After posting to the group list and even asking the authors for a substitution, I found this alternate spelt recipe. Sweet potatoes? Yeah, I know that my hubby doesn't like sweet potatoes. But I might be able to disguise that better than beets.

I decided to make half a recipe.

Here's a picture of the shredding of the sweet potato:

I was grateful that I didn't have to peel the sweet potato. For some reason, it wouldn't grate in my Black and Decker food processor. I didn't want to drag out my Cuisinart and make more stuff to wash after that. So I switched to the old fashioned way.

For some reason, this dough just didn't rise. I decided to check the yeast, and it was ok. So I figured that I would try adding 1/2 cup of lukewarm water plus more yeast and maybe it would rise after that. I had to adjust by adding more flour. I added bread flour because it had higher gluten. The dough still didn't rise.

I formed the loaves, and they didn't rise. Boy, this recipe felt doomed! It didn't rise, and my kitchen was a mess of dishes/food processor to wash. I baked it anyways, and got a nice flatbread.

I was concerned how it would taste, because I was serving it for our special Friday night dinner. With four baking assignments per month, I've abandoned also making challah for Friday night.

It was pretty good. My hubby gave it a 9!

I might take the second loaf to my yoga class. Or, I might just bake the extra dough in a loaf pan. When I added flour to the dough after adding the extra yeast and water, it seems I added enough flour to make an extra loaf! If I bake it in a loaf pan, I'll post it here.

I'll definitely try this bread again, but maybe with a new container of yeast. I was getting to the end of my prior bag. Maybe it had lost it's "punch."



I had about ½ pound of this dough left, because I had to add more flour to adjust for the extra yeast. This time, I decided to bake it in a mini loaf pan. I put it in the microwave oven to proof, after heating ½ cup of water in it to make some steam. Here’s how it looked when it was done rising:

Remember when I said I thought this recipe was doomed (kind of how I can't get these fonts to work ok!)? I found I now had problems with my oven. Darn those Thermador ovens! I had just gotten a new computer circuit board for it 2 years ago! I found out this model of that oven goes through circuit boards pretty often. And they aren’t cheap! We inherited this oven when we moved in here.

Is this baking project jinxed?

My oven never did get hot enough to bake this right. And it was getting late! Look at the time--9:21p.m.! By the way, I took a better picture of the time/temp. But it had a reflection of my messy kitchen...

We couldn’t bake the mini pizzas we wanted to make for dinner, either. I thought I would use my toaster oven to bake the pizzas. That’s when I found out my old toaster oven doesn’t really cook at 450 degrees, like it says!

Well, I baked the loaf until it measured 190 degrees +. Pretty to look at, but I found that the top became hard as a rock!

I took the loaf into my yoga class for taste testing. I explained about my baking problems, and we didn’t eat the top.

We LOVED it! They said comments like "perfect," "great," "love the sweet potato addition." Almost everyone was trying spelt for the first time. The one person who had eaten spelt before said she did so to reduce her gluten; she liked this combination also.

The all loved this bread, but they really love the garlic bread I made for them last time. I think I'll make that next time I bake, but with whole wheat olive oil dough. If my oven ever gets fixed.

Wow, the repair guys came pretty quickly! Here they are, checking out my oven. It turns out I need a new heating element. That's Anthony and Brian (new trainee, looking from above) from Mr. Appliance. I learned that Bosch makes Thermador and that this can happen over time. I bake a lot, so we use the oven a lot.

The part should be here early next week. I hope it's installed soon! I think I am hooked on baking, and I can't wait to make some garlic loaves again!

If you would like to see the other recipes made by other people in this group, just click on this link:

HBinFive is hosted by Michelle
of Big Black


  1. So many members had problems with yeast rising this time. And I can't seem to get a handle on what is wrong. Maybe it's just one of those things.

    I would like to try sweet potato in this bread because I really did like the spelt flour!

  2. a 9 out of ten with no rise sounds like still a pretty good turnout! Glad to hear you let the "no beets" houserule not deter you from making it anyhow with a substitution

  3. A 9, that's pretty good. It does sound like you're having some yeast problems. I think sweet potato is a great substitute for the beets.

  4. A NINE is good. I love sweet potatoes and I will try them. I use them in a muffin that I like a lot. Don't you hate it when the bread just doesn't rise no matter what you do. It sounds like you really made "lemonade out of lemons" with this one.

  5. I love sweet potates, what a great idea to use it in this bread. I would love to see what the crumb looked like- any pictures of that?

  6. So strange about the yeast. Did you tell your husband there were sweet potatoes in the bread? :p

    I don't really like beets either but honestly I loved the bread. I think I used more onion than the recipe called for, however, and so the onion kind of canceled out the beet flavor.

    The bread looks quite good though! I love sweet potatoes so I'll have to try this version.

  7. sweet potatoes...AWESOME idea!! Wish I would've done that.

  8. Nope, Joanne, I didn't tell my DH (darling hubby) that there are sweet potatoes in the bread.

  9. Sweet potatoes sound great. Other than your yeast issues and the compensating for that, did you just swap the amount of beets in the recipe for the same amount of sweet potatoes?

  10. I'm not a beet person either, but I actually liked them. However, I think sweet potatoes would be good as well.

  11. I love sweet potatoes and almost wigh I had made it with that instead. Maybe someday!

  12. I'm not sure. I think my recipe is very different. With so many recipes in the book, it's hard to know what similar recipes might be there. This recipe is also in the book, so I made that.

    Thanks for coming to see it!

  13. I'm glad you had such great results with the sweet potatoes despite the oven problem. I will have to try that!

  14. Actually I don't think it was a problem with the yeast: spelt just doesn't have as much gluten, which makes the bread rise, as wheat flour, so it's always going to be more dense. Some good advice here:

    I love the idea of adding sweet potatoes!

  15. Great article, Rhona! Thanks so very much for your comments and the article information. I printed off the article, too!

    I don't think I had much oven spring with my oven on the fritz. But I was lucky--many oven elements explode when they go bad!

    I really appreciate your comments. THANKS