Sweet Potato Bread

Sweet Potato Bread

Sweet Potato Bread

I stumbled upon this recipe in an old book on bread-making from the late Victorian era - there were a few treasures focussed on adding nutrition and flavour to bread - a somewhat new-fangled idea at the time. 


As bread-making is of my key areas of development, I set myself the task of making this unusual sounding bread.  It is flavoursome and nutty, the taste is something between a pumpkin scone and regular bread, lovely with butter, or cheese and chutney (of course).  I love to serve this with a bowl of raspberry vinegar and macadamia oil for dipping - not very in-keeping with Victorian sensibilities, I know, but tasty!


I have amended the original recipe a little, as I found it too salty and a little heavy with the lard.  I have also made it with added nuts - walnuts or pecans are great.  If making into individual buns, allow a little extra rising time to allow them to be as fluffy as possible.  I am yet to attempt the purple sweet potato in this loaf – I will be sure to add pictures if I do! 


For the sweet potatoes: bake whole in a hot oven until very soft.  Allow to cool to handling temperature while preparing the other ingredients.


3Sweet Potato Bread50 grams cooked, mashed sweet golden potato

2 flat tablespoons of yeast

¾ cup warm milk or buttermilk

2 cups 00 bakers flour, spelt flour or 50/50 wholemeal flour

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon orange zest

2 tablespoons of oil, butter or lard (if wanting a savoury loaf – the lard is better) 

A generous pinch each of dried ginger, cumin, fennel and carraway seeds 

Pinch of salt


Pre-heat oven to 200°C



In a large mixing bowl, add the flour and the honey, yeast, spices and salt, then add the fat, cutting it through with a butter knife. I prefer to use macadamia oil with this bread as it has a subtle flavour I like, without being overly oily or heavy like the lard (as used in the original Victorian recipe).


Cut the sweet potato through the mix, then add about three quaters of the milk and work into a dough. 

If the dough is stiff add the remaining milk, otherwise discard – it is difficult to know how moist each batch is going to be.


Bring the dough together on a floured work surface and knead for about 10 minutes, or until it is very pliant and stretchy.  This dough really does need to be worked to incorporate the sweet potato.


Return the dough to the mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave to prove for at least an hour, until doubled in size.


Once the dough has risen, knead for another 3-5 minutes then divide into buns or small loaves, marking a deep X into the top of each loaf.  Place on lined baking sheet and dust with a little rock salt, cornmeal or seeds.   

I like to add a few sage leaves to my bread, it flavours the loaf lightly and looks rather pretty. 

Leave to rise for a further 30 minutes - the loaf will spread so leave plenty of room on the tray.


Bake for about 35 minutes for a larger loaf, and only 20 minutes for smaller buns.  Bread should be well browned and sound hollow when tapped at the base. 

Allow to cool completely before serving.