Light and Lovely Purple Sweet Potato Rolls

January 13, 2013

As I passed the potato section on a recent grocery shopping trip, I saw one lone purple sweet potato, and it reminded me of the purple sweet potato rolls that we’ve had on our vacations in Hawaii. Although it was the last of its kind (in the store – that wasn’t supposed to sound like it was an endangered species of vegetation or something), it looked like it was in good shape, so I added it to our cart.

Unpeeled Purple Sweet Potato

Unpeeled Purple Sweet Potato

Since my plan was to make rolls with it, I did a bit of research online for potato bread recipes, and they pretty much all either used mashed potatoes or potato flakes. (Potato flakes? Really? That just sounds so industrial food service!) So I set about peeling, cutting up and boiling the potato so I could mash it. I was pretty amazed at how purple-red it was on the inside.

Peeled and Cut Purple Sweet Potato

Peeled and Cut Purple Sweet Potato

But that was nothing compared to after it was cooked and mashed. It was so purple it pretty much looked like Play-Doh! (Oh, how I love purple food!)

Mashed Purple Sweet Potatoes

Mashed Purple Sweet Potato

I decided to go all out and do the whole kneading and two-rise bread making routine, as well as using some white flour in addition to the King Arthur white whole wheat I normally bake with. And the results were definitely very pleasing. The texture of the rolls was really light and soft (pretty reminiscent of how they were in Hawaii, actually). They weren’t really that sweet, despite the mashed potato (which was fairly sweet), but the color and the light texture that resulted was definitely worth its inclusion. You could easily substitute white or yellow sweet potatoes for the purple.

Purple Sweet Potato Rolls
makes 18 rolls

1/2 cup warm water
1 pkg active dry yeast
2/3 cup mashed sweet potatoes (purple if you can find it, white or yellow otherwise)
2+1/2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 egg
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 cups white flour*

* I used 1 cup King Arthur white whole wheat and 1 cup white

Combine water and yeast and let stand 5 minutes, until bubbly. In a large bowl, combine water and yeast with mashed sweet potatoes, butter, egg, sugar and salt, and mix well. Add flour in three batches, mixing until all flour is incorporated. Knead on a floured surface for about 10 minutes. Place in a bowl sprayed with cooking spray (or greased), turn to coat dough, and cover with a slightly damp towel. Let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Punch dough down, and knead briefly to release gas bubbles. Divide into 18 even pieces. Form ball shapes by pulling dough from the top around to the bottom on all sizes, pinching together at the bottom. Place on a sprayed (or greased) baking sheet, and cover with a slightly damp towel. Let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, until doubled in size.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned. (I cut one open at that point to make sure it was sufficiently baked). Remove and place on a cooling rack.

Purple Sweet Potato Rolls

Purple Sweet Potato Rolls


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