Well, the title sweet potato soda bread doesn’t really cover the load, since the bread is also stuffed with cheese. And thyme.
Now I’ll be the first to admit that soda bread is an acquired taste. I’ve always been a big fan of it. The Irish are taking over! Yes, yes, I’ve heard it… world domination, one bread product at a time (winks at Donal and Machroi).
But imagine my surprise when I happened upon a recipe in a magazine that appeared to be an amazing soda bread. Unlike anything I’ve seen before. Suffice to say I had to try it. The outcome was so very good, that I’ll make this one again for sure! And again. And again.
Here’s what I did with the flour I bought at the flour mill.
1 cup mashed sweet potatoes
3 cups flour
1 1/4 cup self-rising flour
1 large egg
1/2 stick butter (60 grams)
1 cup + 3 tbsp buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp fresh thyme
1/2 cup grated cheese (aged)
4 oz feta
You’ll need 1 cup (mashed) sweet potatoes. Doesn’t matter if they’re leftovers as long as they don’t have anything added to them. I didn’t have any, but since I spike my son’s burgers, pancakes, pasta sauces and grilled cheese sandwiches with mashed vegetables, I usually make a lot. I’ll cook/bake them, mash them and then freeze small portions.
My preferred method for sweet potatoes is using my oven. I give the potatoes a really good scrub and pinch them several times with a fork. Really digging the fork deep into the potatoes. Then I place them on a baking sheet (put some baking paper on it first).
I give them about 75 minutes at 400F (200C). My potatoes were very large, so I gave them an extra 15 minutes. The baking paper keeps your sheet clean, because the potatoes tend to ‘bleed’ a little when baked, for lack of a better word.
I scoop out the gorgeous orange sweetness: mash it, take out 1 cup and put the rest in the freezer.
You’ll also need 1/2 cup of grated cheese. Or even a full cup if you want to intensify the cheese flavor. I’m using aged Gouda, but use whatever you like and can get your hands on. Parmesan or sharp cheddar will work beautifully as well. There are no hard and fast rules in most recipes, really.
Use a cookie/baking sheet and place some baking paper on top—I have a sillicone baking sheet—and sprinkle some flour all over.
I’m mixing the gouda cheese with feta cheese. This stuff is absolutely divine! If you can’t buy feta cheese or it’s too expensive where you are, just replace it with more regular grated cheese. Or goat cheese.
I’ve crumbled 4 oz of feta. It was so smooth and creamy. Amazing stuff, even I get hungry seeing this again and I was the one who ate it!
You’ll need 1/2 a stick butter (1/4 cup, I believe). About 60 grams. It has to be melted but it can not be warm. I usually pop it in the microwave and then set it aside to let it cool off.
The flour I bought at the mill. It’s the real deal!
Sieve 3 cups of flour, and 1 + 1/4 cup of self-rising flour.
Add 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp sugar, 1 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp nutmeg to the bowl and mix it with the flour.
Another thing that’ll add loads of flavor to the bread is thyme. Use fresh thyme if you can. I went for 4 tbsp thyme leaves, and it was exactly right; you’ll taste the thyme but it won’t be overpowering. Mix the thyme with the flour.
Now add the grated/crumbled cheese to the flour as well and give everything a good stir.
Pour 1 cup + 3 tbsp buttermilk in a separate bowl.
Break an egg, pour in the butter (my butter was so yellow it looked like orange juice), whisk it and stir in your 1 cup of sweet potatoes.
You can do this with your hands, of course; I prefer using my hands but I can’t do that when I have to operate my camera as well. I’m using the dough hooks in my hand-mixer this time. Don’t over mix, though. Just until things are combined.
Kinda like this. So you’ll still see sweet potato flakes, crumbled feta cheese etc. Chances are you’ll have to add a few tbsp extra flour if the dough is too sticky, but it’s supposed to be slightly sticky, keep that in mind.
Flour your hands and place the dough, or batter if you will, on top of the baking paper. Form it into a large round. Sieve some flour on top and deeply score the dough using the blunt side of a knife.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll always end up having to shape up the edges of the bread. I’ve had that all my life, can still hear my teachers telling me to shape up or ship out.
Bake the bread at 350F (175C) for about an hour. Until a cake tester or skewer stuck into the center comes out clean. Here’s what mine looked like straight out of the oven.
I served it with grilled chicken and a green salad with the leftover feta. I’m not even going to try and describe just how good it was. Simply can’t be done.