May 7, 2009

Sweet Potato Soda Bread


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.

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    1. 1

      Ooh I got a mention! How chuffed am I? :-)

      This looks so good – as you know I also am a big fan of the original soda bread, seeing as I was practically raised on soda farls and other various Irish bread products. I am going to make this, that’s for sure.

      Can I also say that you’ve inspired me to finally get my behind in gear and finally get my own blog up and running? So thanks for that.

      World domination? Pffftt. Now, where’s my elephant and hordes of Carthaginians…

      Diane (@machroi) on May 7, 2009 @ 11:45 am Reply
    2. 2

      Hi Kay,
      I have been looking at your blog for some time now and it is just gorgeous.
      Just wanted to say that I tasted some of your wonderful Dutch food last week on a trip to amsterdam. hmmm I had pancakes for breakfast four days in a row! And your tulip fields – the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen!

      Monika on May 7, 2009 @ 2:25 pm Reply
    3. 3


      Great idea, I should make a few photos of our tulip fields!

      Congratulazioni on the piccolo bambino :)

      Kay on May 7, 2009 @ 3:49 pm Reply
    4. 4

      That looks SO good. Can’t wait to try it.

      Sfrancisk on May 7, 2009 @ 4:15 pm Reply
    5. 5

      DAt ziet er echt heel goed uit zeg! Verrukkelijk! Ik kom uit het zuiden en ik denk dat ik toch maar binnenkort een dagje naar Gouda ga…ziet er zo schattig uit!

      bar on May 7, 2009 @ 6:47 pm Reply
    6. 6

      Oh man! I used to make Soda Bread ALL-THE-TIME. Then, I stopped for some reason. I know not why. I’ll have to make some of this… looks SO good!

      naomig on May 7, 2009 @ 7:43 pm Reply
    7. 7

      Where do you buy your Sweet Potatoes? I have finally found some at the local C1000 but they are white and taste nothing like what I am used to. Their flavor is non exsistent. I have tried AH but nothing. I think I live in the wrong

      Sonya on May 7, 2009 @ 7:51 pm Reply
    8. 8


      Sonya, I always buy mine at the market. The same stand I buy my fresh garlic and all sorts of great foods that are hard to come by in other stores. It’s top quality what they sell there.

      Kay on May 7, 2009 @ 8:10 pm Reply
    9. 9

      Thank you for the tip! We have a market here in town on tuesdays and saturdays. Im going to go and see if I can find some there:)

      Sonya on May 7, 2009 @ 11:51 pm Reply
    10. 10

      OH MY!!! Where were you when I was learning to cook. You made a statement “There are no hard and fast rules in most recipes, really.” I never knew that. I cooked for 20 years believing that things couldn’t be changed. If you ran out of cheddar you couldn’t use swiss or if your recipie called for semi-sweet chocolate you couldn’t substitute Milk chocolate. I was too afraid to try. Then I recieved a cookbook called the baker’s Bible. None of the recipies are hard and fast and the author suggests you try different flavors and even suggests that maybe you’d prefer less sugar or more flour in this recipie or that. That single statement freed my cooking and made me a better cook.

      susan in FL on May 8, 2009 @ 4:10 am Reply
    11. 11

      This bread looks delicious! I think it would be good with pork chops or ham too. In the United States, you can get sweet potatoes (also marked “yams”) fresh in the produce section or frozen already mashed in the frozen vegetables section of any chain grocery store. Thanks for the wonderful recipe, Kay.

      Debbie in AZ (USA) on May 8, 2009 @ 6:30 am Reply
    12. 12

      I meant to say that in Australia these are called Kumara. Our sweet potatoes are purple-skinned, and not as tasty.

      I’m working at setting up my blog at the moment (why is it SO hard to find a template I like? :-) ) and I’ll put my treacle bread recipe on there for you. :-)

      Diane (@machroi) on May 8, 2009 @ 6:39 am Reply
    13. 13

      @Diane (@machroi):

      Because it’s really hard to find that one template that suits all your needs.

      I had to switch in about 2 hours. But I think I’ll start building my own template now.

      Please do! I love making new stuff.

      Kay on May 8, 2009 @ 10:15 pm Reply
    14. 14

      @susan in FL:

      Only when I bake I usually stick to a recipe, because bad things happen if I don’t. I’m the worst baker. But when I cook … I seldom to never follow a recipe. I use what I have on hand and just try and tweak until I get it right.

      Kay on May 8, 2009 @ 10:17 pm Reply
    15. 15

      This looks lovely…nothing like the brown soda bread we grew up on in Ireland (I am not in domination requires us to travel..LOL) We have tried to get my mum’s recipe but she uses a handful of this and a handful of that…and it is all by feel. Maybe I’ll stand by her when I go home next time and see if she can make it one more time for me to measure out as she grabs the handfuls ..LOL

      I think you are using when we call Yams here. I will have to try this. I am also not sure that we have self-raising flour here in N.America…so will try to work that out.

      Thanks you for inspiring me….I am cooking so many new things since I discovered you and PW! Even bought a Kitchen Aid!!!

      Sue on May 9, 2009 @ 8:57 am Reply
    16. 16

      LOL…Um..I meant to write…NOW in Canada..not NOT in Canada Duh!

      Sue on May 9, 2009 @ 8:58 am Reply
    17. 17

      Adding roasted sweet potatoes and two types of cheese to a soda bread sounds great!

      Kevin on May 30, 2009 @ 9:27 pm Reply
    18. 18

      Found your weblog only last week, and spent the entire weekend reading every single post. I just popped my sodabread out of the oven and was seriously impressed with myself! Never imagined I would we able to bake such a great loaf of bread, tasting great,and looking all professional, wow!

      Tomorrow I’ll try you Kaytucky chicken, your bacon and parmesan wedges will be on monday’s menu!

      Leonoor on Jun 6, 2009 @ 6:15 pm Reply
    19. 19

      What a gorgeous loaf! I’ve never had sweet potato soda bread, but its now certainly on my must-bake list! You have a lovely blog.

      sharon on Jun 7, 2009 @ 11:27 pm Reply
    20. 20

      I have made your soda bread several times now for friends…as gifts…
      packed in a lovely basket. It is a treat any time with melted buter of course!
      My last loaf went to a friend in chemo. She had complained about being so hungry but nothing tasted good to her…except this bread! Thank you so much for the recipe.

      Andree on Aug 25, 2009 @ 2:20 am Reply
    21. 21

      Looking forward to trying this out but have a question – I usually like to work with organic flours but the only ones available here at the moment are stoneground. Beautiful flour and lovely taste but somewhat heavier than your standard flours. Would a soda bread work just as well with heavy flour like this? In the past when I’ve made fresh yeast breads, they are a bit hit and miss with the stoneground flours but I would love to find a recipe for a bread that would be successful more often than not. And certainly adding something delicious like kumera would be a fantastic way to fill the teenagers’ hollow legs! I’m growing some purple maori potatoes (similar to these kumera but dark purple right the way through) so I’d love to try this recipe with them as well.

      Thanks again for your blog. Some great new ideas to treat the family with!

      Jo on Nov 16, 2009 @ 11:41 pm Reply

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