The Fresh Loaf

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Purple Sweet Potato Sourdough

sadkitchenkid's picture

Purple Sweet Potato Sourdough

I've been wanting to make a purple sweet potato loaf for a while now because purple sweet potato is my favorite kind of potato. In this bread, I used a TON of potato puree and a lot of cornmeal, and it gave me a really beautiful loaf. The oven spring on this loaf was amazing, but the crumb is dense and cake-like. The purple sweet potato gives off a really nice floral taste and the texture of the crumb is almost creamy. Tastes even nicer the next day.


I cut into while it was still a little hot, which disturbed the crumb pattern in this picture, but look at this color!



400g bread flour

150g blue cornmeal

50g wholewheat flour

600g water

350g mashed purple sweet potato* 

120g starter (I used 100% rye at 80% hydration)

11g salt 

*the texture of purple sweet potatoes really varies from potato to potato. Some are starchy and crumbly/dry on the inside where they're cooked, and some are soft and a bit more moist. The large sweet potato I used happened to be very dry, so when I mashed it had the texture of wet sand almost so in my baker's percentage, I counted it as a dry ingredient, which is why I have so much water listed in the recipe. My original notes called for 420g water but when I made the dough it was SO dry I had to add an extra 160g water. 

I put 200g of the sweet potato in the blender with 420g of the water, and added it to the flour during the autolyse stage. Then I added the remaining 150g in after two stretch and folds so that little lumps of potato would be running through the loaf. 

This dough was a little difficult to work with and shape because of the relatively low gluten content (lots of potato, lots of cornmeal), but I loved making this loaf because of how beautiful all the colors were. 

*Edited: Decided to add some extra steps that I think were important to this bake!

1) Mix together water, flour, half of the cornmeal, and blended potato mixture mentioned above. Set aside for about an hour.

2) Add the starter and do slap and folds for about five minutes. Because of the little amount of gluten, during the mixing stage, the dough became very loose and slimy. Usually if a dough is super wet after slap and fold, it pulls itself back together if I let it sit for a few minutes to reabsorb, but this dough didn't do that as much, however, after a few stretch and folds over the course of four hours, it became firm enough to handle. I don't have a video for this specific dough, but on my channel, there is a video for a Carrot Sourdough which was about as wet as this one (also because of the disrupted gluten formation), and in that video, i demonstrate basically how I dealt with this dough and how I shaped it.  

3) Place the dough into a clean bowl and rest for thirty minutes before mixing in the salt and the remaining cornmeal. 

4) After 45 minutes, begin with stretch and folds over the coarse of three and a half hours. Before the 2nd stretch and fold, mix in the remaining mashed sweet potato. I did 1 stretch and fold every 45 minutes. By the third fold, the dough had nearly doubled, and it was relatively cold in my kitchen, so like any dough, keep your eye on the dough and not the clock. 

5) Pre-round the dough and let sit on the counter uncovered for 20 minutes. Dust with flour (I used coarse rye) and shape tightly. Place in a banneton and let proof. This loaf only needed about an hour and a half before it was ready. Since it was proofed before I was ready, I popped the banneton in the freezer for twenty minutes to give my oven some extra time to heat up. 

6) score and bake at 500F covered/steamed for 22 minutes then bring the temperature down to 450F and bake uncovered for 25 minutes. Let cool completely, maybe even wait till the next day before cutting into it.

Good luck and enjoy!

Happy baking!


Danni3ll3's picture

but then again there are purple regular potatoes and there are purple carrots so why not purple sweet potatoes. Your loaf looks fabulous! I just love the colour. How does it taste?

sadkitchenkid's picture

I only learned of them a couple of years ago. They are a bit denser and much sweeter than regular sweet potatoes. They also taste a little floral. This loaf tasted almost like sweet potato pie and when I cut myself another slice the next day, the cornmeal flavor came through even more so it tasted like corn flakes and pie haha which is such a weird combination, I know, but very good. 

Floydm's picture

Wow, that is awesome and sounds delicious. Would you mind if I featured this on the homepage for a bit?

sadkitchenkid's picture

I'd be honored! thank you!

Danni3ll3's picture

You totally deserve the front page! I love your innovation!

sadkitchenkid's picture

thank you!

leslieruf's picture

well done


Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

That is so beautiful! Both the colour and the usual 'bread things' (crust, crumb, spring, etc.). I have tried to make bread with beets (beetroot) and the colour, though fabulous in the wet dough, disappears in the baked bread. This one is amazing!

Well done for persevering through the initial difficult stages of developing this dough. Just goes to show you never know at the beginning what the finished bread will be like when baked!

bread1965's picture

I love the look of that bread.. and the idea of using something so non-traditional in bread. But I'm not exactly sure how I'd feel about eating it. Just seems so wrong.. but looks so right! Well done!! Wow..

dabrownman's picture

much corn and potato in the mix. The spring and bloom say it all the crumb looks terrific to me.  It has to taste even better.  That color is to die for and it didn't fade away like beet color can.  This is one fine signature oaf and with a front age any day!  Way to go and 
happy baking 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I would predict that this loaf would be a hit in Southeast Asia (and Hawaii) where purple yams and such are popular and used in many foods.  Your bread (fantastic colour) would make a great stepping stone (as strange as this sounds) from boxed type sandwich loaves toward free form loaves.  Exposing the crumb, would be the crowd pleaser!

I can imagine the loaf as raisin bread too.  Or the inclusion of little bits of candied pineapple.

Dixongexpat's picture


jclarkereiter's picture

Your bread looks fabulous and I'll add your recipe to the top of my "To Do" list. Question: If I can't find purple sweet potatoes, will regular yams work? 

sadkitchenkid's picture

For sure. Again, as mentioned in the post, the consistency of purple yam specifically, really varies. Some can be very crumbly and some can have the same consistency as a regular sweet potato. So a normal sweet potato will be inherently more moist, so keep this in mind while mixing the ingredients! 

loydb's picture

Not strictly bread related -- but I parboiled a bunch of purple sweet potatoes the other day prior to roasting them, and saved the stock to incorporate into a pot of vegetable soup the next night, and it added an amazing sweet flavor, as well as turning everything purple :)]

loydb's picture

How did you score that to get the center without any of the banneton flour? It's gorgeous!


crustncrumb's picture

My guess is that the dough was scored only once in the center, top to bottom.  They had fantastic oven spring resulting in such a beautiful opening up of the crumb.  I have never seen that much oven rise.  Normally with substantial oven rise, my bread just cracks at one end.  This loaf had some strength to it.

doctordough92's picture

I'm a new baker and have mastered the white loaf so far. I would love to try this - could I adapt it to my Saturday white recipe and not use the sourdough starter (too advanced for me still haha)? I'm guessing I'd need to adjust the water content since the starter is very wet. Any help would be awesome! Thanks. 

sadkitchenkid's picture

You can make a poolish (equal parts flour+water with a bit of yeast) and use in place of (and the same amount) as the starter! The dough will the develop much faster than it would if it were sourdough, so shorten the times between stretch and folds and the proofing stage!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Boiling up purple potatoes from market.  Cute little things.  The potatoes while peeling and cooking give off aromas of rose!  

Edit:  rose.  its a light taste too, pleasant and not overpowering.  I only used 170g of cooked potato To 580g white wheat flours.   Seems stronger in crust where it browned.    I don't remember this aroma in the dried flour.

StarbucksRedx's picture

Hi! I would really love to try this! But I only have a pure bread flour starter and a Whole wheat-Bread flour hybrid starter. How can I adjust the recipe for this? Thank you so much! 

dablues's picture

None of the photos show up.  Anyone else having this problem, or is it just me?  Will try this recipe

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

of the finished loaf.  

The score looks like it was made in one straight line slightly off center (or down the middle) perpendicular to the surface, shallow almost the length of the loaf.  The oven heat made it "bloom" or open up to expose an unfloured surface which browned nicely.  The skin touching the banneton and therefore dryer and tighter, has done a great job holding up the sides while the loaf expanded in the heat.  A combination of good shaping, fermentation and steam adds to the total effect.  A proud loaf!

Lumn8tion's picture

I was really hoping to see what this looked like but there appear to be 2 missing photos. Any chance you still have them sadkitchenkid?