Sunday, April 15, 2007

A Full Moon Bread

For years, on and off, I've baked bread. It's sort of soothing to mix up the batter, knead it, smell that fresh yeasty smell, and be pleased when it rises, then rises again, and again when it is baked.

Andrew of Spitoon Extra is hosting Waiter, There's Something In My...Bread this month and I've had a lot of fun looking through various cookbooks getting ideas for a bread to bake. Today I came upon a bread I'd never heard of in Monday Night at Narsai's by Narsai David and Doris Muscatine. It's Sweet Potato and Garlic Bread and you bake it in a skillet, so it makes a lovely golden loaf that looks like a full moon in the autumn.

I used yams instead of sweet potatoes, since that is what I had in the pantry, and that worked just fine. The yeast got 'proofed' in a little of the water that the yams were cooked in because I wasn't sure if it was too old or not. Because of that I added some extra flour during the last part of the machine mixing to make up for the extra liquid. Otherwise I followed the directions given.

The garlic taste here is mild but present and the yams give it a faint sweetness as well as the mellow color. Yams are also fairly healthy with lots of fiber and vitamin A and beta carotene. The crumb of this bread is tender and moist and the crust is thin but crisp. This is a great bread to go with soup.

Yam and Garlic Bread
Narsai David

1 cup warm water (preferably the water the yams were boiled in)
1 cup mashed yams (boil until tender, then peel and mash)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 package yeast, or 1 tablespoon dry yeast
2 small cloves garlic, crushed
3 cups white bread or all-purpose flour (about)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, softened or salad oil

Place the water, sweet potatoes sugar, and yeast in a mixing bowl. Let rest for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, flour and salt. Mix well with a dough hook or heavy paddle. The dough will be quite soft and sticky. If using a dough hook, you may need to add a little more to keep the dough around the hook. Continue mixing for 2-3 minutes if you are using a mixing machine, 3 to 4 minutes by hand. Spread 1 tablespoon of butter or oil over the dough.

Place the dough in a warm plate to rise, covered with a dish towel. When the dough has doubled in volume, anywhere between 1 and 2 hours, turn it out onto a floured surface and punch it down to get out the air that has inflated it. Kneading a few times also helps in this step. Shape the deflated dough into a ball. This is a very soft dough, so handle it gently and use plenty of flour to keep it from sticking to the board.

Butter or oil a 10-inch skillet. Put the dough in the skillet, and set aside, uncovered, in a warm place until double in volume.

About halfway throught the rising, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

When the dough has doubled, bake for 35 to 40 minutes to brown well. Turn out onto a rack to cool.
Makes 1 round loaf.


  1. This is really interesting, I have been thinking about making bread with potatoes for such a long time now and I have several skillets perfect for this-do I have a choice anymore? Thanks!

  2. When there is bread like this, I really do think we could live by bread alone! This is why I find bread so wonderfully divine. Beautiful Moon, I don't think it could stay full long!

  3. I love baking bread too - this is wonderful!

  4. What an interesting bread! I have absolutly no luck with yeast, but I think I must try this, it sounds too good!

  5. Anonymous10:07 AM

    Hi Elle - this sounds lovely! I've tried making biscuits with sweet potatos before, but never bread... and never with garlic. It sounds like a delicious paring!

  6. I love any bread fresh out of the oven, this looks great!

  7. Ilva, let me know how it turns out, OK?

    Tanna, it didn't stay full very long at all. As a matter of fact, I cut it while it was too warm to give Sweetie a piece and mashed it a bit. Still tasty!

    Patricia, me too.

    Sara, proof the yeast in some of the potato water that has cooled to just warm. If it gets active (bubbly-fuzzy), you'll do fine. The only thing that kills yeast is too much heat, so rising in a warm place can be someplace like the top of the refrigerator. Once it has risen twice, is will look and taste great once baked. Try it!

    Gilly, the sweet potatoes go really well with the garlic.

    Brilynn, isn't fresh bread irresistable?

  8. Anonymous7:31 PM

    That is a beautiful loaf of bread! What a great recipe and a great photo.

  9. What an interesting bread, a great entry. Many thanks for taking part in waiter

  10. Kristen, thank you for the compliments.

    Andrew, thanks for hosting such a great event.

  11. Yams and using a skillet? I'm just starting with bread so this may take me a while to work up to, but I like the idea. Was it a cast-iron skillet, or did it matter?

  12. I did a bread with potatoes years ago, and still remember its very special taste.