Discover how to create a comforting braided loaf of sweet potato bread that’s perfect for any occasion. This homemade sweet potato bread recipe is both simple and scrumptious, with its moist texture and warm, comforting flavors. In just a few easy steps, you’ll have a fragrant loaf ready to enjoy.
Easy to Make Sweet Potato Bread
This old-fashioned sweet potato bread recipe is perfect for your next brunch or breakfast. It has a soft and pillowy texture that pairs well with any breakfast fare. The earthy, sweet flavor of the sweet potato is combined with warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg for a heavenly combination.
Like sweet potato biscuits, the mashed sweet potatoes provide a moist and fluffy texture, you might think it would make the bread heavy but it does just the opposite.
Sweet potato bread is easy to make and only needs a few ingredients. Everything comes together in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, and this recipe makes enough dough for two loaves. One for now and one for later or to share with a friend.
You can braid the loaves for a beautiful presentation or keep things simple and bake them in loaf pans. Either way, you’ll have a soft, chewy, and overall fabulous bread with a unique sweet potato flavor.
For the ultimate brunch spread, serve the sweet potato bread along with some simple egg cups, candied bacon, and fresh fruit. It’s neutral enough that you can pair it with almost any breakfast or brunch food.
Sweet potatoes are one of those Southern staples, they are always available and fantastic baked into a casserole. However, we don’t reserve them just for holiday casseroles, but for making sweet pies, biscuits, sticky buns, muffins, chili and just about anything you can think of.
What’s the best way to cook sweet potatoes for old fashioned sweet potato bread?
I find the simplest way to prepare sweet potatoes for this recipe is to microwave them whole before mashing them. There’s no mess or chopping needed while they’re whole and tough to cut, plus their flavor intensifies rather than getting watered down like they would if you boiled them. It only takes a couple of minutes.
Check out some tips for cooking sweet potatoes in the microwave.
How do I know if my yeast is active?
The first step is checking the expiration date on the package of yeast. If it is past its best-by date, then there’s a good chance the yeast is dead. You can test it by adding some yeast to a little bit of warm (not hot) water with a sprinkle of sugar. If it foams up and smells like yeast, then it’s viable.
If nothing happens, your yeast is dead, and you’ll need to buy fresh yeast. Always test your yeast before you bake with it so you don’t waste your time and end up with a flat loaf of bread.
Why You’ll Love Sweet Potato Bread
- Easy to make: With the help of a stand mixer and a dough hook, this bread comes together in just a few steps.
- Crowd-pleasing: Whether you’re hosting a brunch or just want something special for you family, sweet potato bread is fabulous choice.
- Enjoy alone toasted: Enjoy the bread warm out of the oven, slathered with honey butter or jam, it’s even better when toasted.
What do sweet potatoes add to bread?
Using sweet potatoes in this bread gives the bread moisture so that you end up with a chewy texture that is also still soft and fluffy. It also adds some natural sweetness.
Sweet Potato Bread Recipe Ingredients
- Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes provides both sweetness and moisture to the bread. You can cook them in advance and store them in the fridge or freezer until you’re ready to make the bread.
- Yeast: You can use active or instant rise yeast.
- Milk: Whole milk will add the most richness but you can get buy with 2%.
- Cinnamon and Nutmeg: These warming spices complement the sweet potatoes perfectly.
- Old Fashioned Oatmeal: Adds a nice textural contrast and a subtle nutty flavor.
- Pantry staples: sugar, salt, butter, eggs, flour and warm water.
How to mash sweet potatoes when making bread
You don’t want lumps of sweet potato in the bread but simple mashing the cooked sweet potato with a fork in a bowl should remove any lumps and make them easy to incorporate into the dough.
How To Make Pillowy Sweet Potato Bread
Step 1: Prepare the yeast.
Combine yeast with warm water.
Step 2: Mix the wet ingredients and the dry ingredients
Warm the milk, salt, and sugar in the microwave. Whisk together the dry ingredients.
Step 3: Make the dough.
Add softened butter and mashed sweet potatoes to a stand mixer and beat until smooth. Add the milk mixture and then the dry ingredients and knead the dough until it’s smooth and elastic.
Step 4: Rise the dough.
Allow the dough to rest in a warm place until doubled in size.
Step 5: Form the loaves and bake the bread.
Punch down the dough and divide it into six equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 10-inch rope. With three pieces at a time, braid the dough together. Place the bread on a baking sheet and cover them for a second rise.
Once the loaves are doubled in size, brush them with an egg wash and bake until golden brown.
Tips for Making the Best Sweet Potato Bread
- Make sure the yeast is activated and frothy before adding it to the other ingredients.
- Allow the bread to rise in a warm place this will give you the fluffiest bread.
- Use the microwave to cook the sweet potatoes, it only takes a couple of minutes.
How to Store Sweet Potato Bread
At room temperature: Store the Sweet Potato Bread in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
In the freezer: To freeze, wrap the bread tightly in plastic wrap and store it in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.
What’s the best way to make sweet potato bread ahead of time?
If you want to enjoy fresh, warm bread early in the morning, the best way to make it ahead of time is to make the dough into braids and let it rise overnight in the refrigerator. Then, in the morning, take the bread out of the fridge and bake as usual.
If you want to enjoy the bread at a later time, the best way to keep it is to complete the recipe and allow the bread to cool thoroughly. Then, place it into a freezer bag and remove as much air as possible. Freeze the loaf for up to three months. When you’re ready to enjoy your sweet potato bread, you can thaw it on the counter overnight.
Questions About Sweet Potato Bread
Can I use canned sweet potatoes instead of fresh?
Canned sweet potatoes will have too much moisture for this bread. You will need to use fresh sweet potatoes.
Can I make sweet potato bread without yeast?
This recipe is for yeasted bread. The yeast is what gives the bread its chewy, fluffy texture. If you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to let a yeasted bread rise, try a quick bread like pumpkin apple bread or banana zucchini bread, which are made with baking powder and don’t need any time to rise.
Can I use pumpkin pie spice instead of cinnamon and nutmeg?
Pumpkin pie spice would definitely work for this recipe since it includes both cinnamon and nutmeg, along with other warming spices.
Can I add raisins or dried fruit to the dough?
Feel free to add your favorite dried fruits like raisins, dried cranberries or blueberries, or chopped dried apricots for a fruity twist.
More Homemade Bread Recipes You’ll Love
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Braided Sweet Potato Bread
- 5.5 teaspoons dry yeast 2 packages
- ¼ cup warm water
- 1 cup milk
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ½ cup butter room temperature
- 1 ½ cups sweet potatoes mashed, 1-2 potatoes
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 4 ½ cups flour
- 1 cup old fashioned oatmeal
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons milk
- In a small bowl combine yeast with ¼ cup warm water. Let it sit for 5 minutes until it is frothy.
- Add milk, sugar and salt to a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30-60 seconds until the sugar has dissolved. Let cool to room temperature.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and oats.
- Add cooked sweet potatoes and butter to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until smooth. Add the dissolved heat and milk mixture, mix to combine.
- With the dough hook in a stand mixer add the dry ingredients, kneading until smooth and satiny, about 5 minutes.
- Place in an oiled boil, cover and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour until double in size. Punch down and divide in two.
- Cut each half into 3 equal pieces and roll into a 10 inch rope. Braid and tuck the ends under the braid. Cover and let rise until double, about an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 400º. Place rolls on a baking sheet covered with parchment. Bake for 20 minutes, remove and brush with a mixture of 1 egg and 2 tablespoons milk. Continue to bake for 10 minutes for a total of 30 minutes.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- Make sure the yeast is activated and frothy before adding it to the other ingredients.
- Allow the milk to cool down so that it doesn’t kill the yeast.
- Allow the bread to rise in a warm place until just doubled in size.
- Try microwaving the sweet potatoes.