You know those times when you’re just really irrationally in love with something that doesn’t love you back? Like maybe that new pair of boots or the fresh tube of lipstick, or a loaf of Orange Sweet Potato Bread? Yeah, it happened; I fell in love with a loaf of bread. The favor isn’t exactly being returned in the usual ways, but believe me, the love is still real.
After dinner a few nights ago, Kev and I took a stroll to our library a few blocks away and got Austin library cards. **Reading Power!!** When we left I had 3 of the biggest cookbooks you might have ever seen in your life, as well as Harry Potter 6, which isn’t small either. Kev had nothing, thank goodness, so he helped me carry mine back. Note to self, next time bring a backpack…
One of the cookbooks that immediately caught my eye was Back in the Day Baker, Made with Love by Cheryl and Griffith Day who own a bakery in Savannah, Georgia. I absolutely love this cookbook because the Days make baking easy for a girl who often seems to have various issues with it. The photos are beautiful, the directions are clear, and the narratives throughout are just perfect
I started the dough yesterday afternoon and gave it plenty of time to rise, then baked it at about 9pm last night. There’s no better smell in the whole entire world than freshly baked bread, and it’s hard not to feel like a kid on Christmas morning while waiting for it to come out of the oven!
I ended up using a mixture of mashed sweet potato and pumpkin, because I didn’t have enough of either, and it turned out beautifully. It’s such a soft bread and so delicately flavored with the notes of orange zest, that it pairs quite nicely with both a sweet jam or something savory. We used it for Eggs-in-the-Hole this morning, I spread it with a Raspberry Jalapeno jam this afternoon, and tonight I’m thinking BLT’s. Now I’m starting to realize why it’s good I don’t make homemade bread all the time, because it’s looking like it won’t last more than 2 days before getting gobbled up!
- 5 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- ½ cup fine yellow cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
- 1 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 cup mashed baked sweet potato (pumpkin puree works as well)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 ¼ cups room temperature water
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten for egg wash
- In a large mixing bowl, preferably with a stand mixer fitted with dough hook, combine flour, brown sugar, cornmeal, salt, orange zest, and yeast. Mix to blend.
- Add eggs and sweet potato. Mix to combine on low speed. Add water and mix on low speed for 3-5 minutes. It may be necessary to scrape the edges of the bowl until dough starts to come together. Turn mixer up to medium speed, and continue to mix for 7 more minutes.
- On a lightly floured board, knead dough for about a minute, or until it is smooth and elastic. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a lightly buttered large bowl, turning once to coat the dough.
- Cover the bowl with a cloth or plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise until double, about 2 hours.
- Grease two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans with butter on bottom and edges.
- Separate the dough into 2 pieces then roll each piece into an 8 x 10 inch rectangle. Starting from the short side, roll each rectangle into a log and place with the seam down in the loaf pans. Cover each pan with a cloth or plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Brush the tops of the loaves with whisked egg wash and bake for 30 minutes, until crust is a golden brown. Remove bread from pans and place on a wire rack to cool.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.