Difficulty Level Easy
Last week I wrote about the increasing cost of bread and the decision to take up my daughter's challenge to bake my own bread for a month. Together we have successfully baked our way through the first week. We have made whole-wheat bread, potato bread, potato rosemary focaccia, steamed pork buns, and the hands-down winner, sweet potato rolls. I learned a couple of important things this week. It really is significantly cheaper to bake your own bread, and you are much less likely to waste any of it because it is the product of your own hands.
Our efforts yielded three loaves of bread, one focaccia, 12 pork buns, and 16 rolls. If I had purchased those, I estimate it would have cost just shy of $50.00. I spent $6 on unbleached all-purpose flour, about 50 cents on a sweet potatoes, and $9 on a pork loin, which stretched to a dinner for three; the pork buns which provided two lunches. Everything else I had on hand already. So my total expenditure for all that bread was only $11. Even if I had to buy the whole-wheat flour, the potatoes and the yeast, it still would have been less than half of what the store-bought bread would cost. The heel ends of the bread went into the freezer for future use as croutons or bread crumbs, and there were no leftovers of anything else.
On top of the cost benefit, I knew that there were no preservatives in my bread and that my flour hadn't been chemically treated to whiten it. It also was a lot of fun. My daughter was treated to the comical sight of me struggling to knead the potato dough so sticky that my hands virtually disappeared into it. That dough rose so much that it poured over the sides of the bread pan and looked like an episode from I Love Lucy. It also was really delicious. The sweet potato rolls were not only fabulous the first day, but they also made wonderful toast. We agreed that this is a recipe we would go back to again and again.
|3/4 lb||sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks (1 large)|
|1 tsp||active dry yeast|
|1/4 cup||packed light brown sugar|
|3 1/2 to 4 1/2 cups||unbleached all-purpose flour|
|2 tbsp||unsalted butter, softened|
|2||large or extra-large eggs|
|1||egg, whisked, for egg wash|
From Home Baking by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid