If I have to give one compelling reason to not own a bread machine, it has to be the freedom to shape my own bread. But that is only because my KitchenAid mixer did most part of the hard work: the kneading process. This horse shoe shaped bread was inspired by a modern bakery from Taiwan. After making some mental notes on the ingredient permutations (they even kimchi!) and some interesting scoring patterns, I decided to bake my next day’s breakfast loaf using a familiar recipe but shaped it like a horse shoe, just like those ‘artisan-looking’ breads on the bakery’s shelves.
I used a Wilton heating core to hold the bread dough in a semi circle shape, even after a pretty dramatic final proof.
As usual, with one sweet potato, the recipe produced a super duper soft bread texture, without any need for chemically derived bread improver. I can’t help doing one or two “bread-yoga-poses” to illustrate my point.
SWEET POTATO WALNUT HONEY BREAD
adapted from here 93g cooked+mashed sweet potato 175g bread flour/ plain flour 2 tablespoons honey 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 tablespoon instant yeast 1/2 egg 40g water 35g cold unsalted butter, cubed 40g walnut, roughly chopped
*After many rounds of baking breads with tubers, I think that the amount of sweet potatoes added does not have to be as accurate as the recipe. To avoid food waste, I simply eyeball one that would roughly give me around 70g-100g of potato after peeling, and use up the entire cooked potato for the bread, instead of leaving behind small chunks just to adhere strictly to the amount the recipe had called for. However, as the additional potatoes contains water, the amount of liquid added to the dough subsequently need to be adjusted; just enough for the ingredients to come to a ball.
In a mixing bowl, combine flour, mashed sweet potatoes , honey, salt, yeast and beaten egg. With a dough hook, knead the ingredients on low speed, nothing much would happen now as most of the ingredients are dry, slowly drizzle water from a pouring cup and stop when the ingredients start to gather into a ball. You may like to use the starchy water left behind from boiling the sweet potatoes with, just return them to room temperature.
If you have time, leave this dough aside for 15minutes to allow the flour to absorb the liquid properly. Otherwise, add cubed butter one by one, till they are mixed completely into the dough and there are no sight of butter left. Continue kneading this dough to window pane stage, the dough should look really smooth and elastic. Finally, add the roughly chopped walnuts and let the mixer incorporate the nuts into the dough, takes about 1 minute.
Place dough in a greased bowl, cover and let it rise for an hour. Punch dough down to deflate it and transfer to a clean worktop. Shape to desire, in my case, I flatten the dough on the worktop with a rolling pin and push out all trapped air bubbles, then I roll up the dough, longer side facing me, swiss roll style. Pinch the open ends to seal them firmly. With seams facing downwards, place the dough on a greased baking tray and wrap it around a greased Heating Core (totally optional, if you don’t have this, just roughly bend the dough into horse shoe shape on the baking tray). Leave it covered, place in a draft free place, and let it rise for 45min to 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 170C and bake the bread for 25 to 30 minutes, till golden brown. Lightly mist the bread with water before putting it into the oven. I learned this trick when baking sourdough style bread, and have since adopted this habit with all of my breads, somewhat like my “lucky charm” for a successful bake. Try this with your next homemade bread, and see if it works for you too!
When the baking is done, remove heating core and transfer the bread to a wire rack to let it cool completely before slicing/ serving.