Growing up, our family dinners ALWAYS included one thing: bread. Or carbs, as some call it. Bread, dinner rolls, popovers, etc were a staple in our family since my birth and I’m pretty sure it’s part of our DNA. I looooooove love love it. In fact, I never even started using butter until a few years ago. I like bread so much I prefer to eat it plain. And if a dinner doesn’t include bread, my stomach shrinks into nothing and I pretty much die of hunger afterwards.
But, the real star amongst all of the dinner rolls/breads/popovers in our family has been my mom’s sweet potato rolls. Every Thanksgiving, we had these. So I had to continue the tradition and include them in my Thanksgiving dinner this year as well.
Now, when I asked my mom if these were hard she replied, ‘No! Really easy!!.’ I was thrilled, it seemed too good to be true. And it was. Not that these are necessarily super difficult, but when she sent me the recipe the generational difference was glaringly obvious. To me, ‘really easy’ means 3 ingredients, no mixer, no rising, and under 20 minutes. Maybe even the inclusion of some kind of pre-made mix. To my mom, I think ‘really easy’ must mean no grinding your own grain and churning your own butter.
These are not ‘really easy!’ . They’re not hard, either, but they’re not ‘really easy.’ Love this recipe all the same and will make them forever.
- 1 1/4 cups sweet potatoes, peeled, cooked and mashed
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1 package active dry yeast
- Pinch of sugar for yeast
- 6-7 tablespoons sugar for dough
- 1 cup milk, warmed/room temp
- 1.5 sticks softened butter
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 eggs, beaten
- ~5 cups flour
- 3 tablespoons melted butter to brush dough with
Cook sweet potatoes. I just microwave them – about 5-8 minutes depending on size (be sure to stab them a few times first). Peel and mash. You can do this a day ahead, then just slightly warm them in the microwave prior to making the bread dough.
Using a standing mixer, whisk together the water, yeast and pinch of sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes (if the yeast doesn’t get foamy, it might be old and the dough will not rise). Mix in the potatoes, milk, 1.5 sticks butter, sugar, and salt. Mix in the eggs. Slowly mix in the flour to create a slightly sticky dough. Transfer dough to a large buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until it doubles in size – about 2 hours. Tip here- we usually keep our kitchen at around 70 degrees. I find the dough takes a reeeeally long time to rise at this temp. The dough works best at about 75+ degrees, so I set my bowl near a sunny/warm window which helps a lot.
Preheat the oven to 375. Punch the dough down, and line several large baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough into 2-3 inch balls and drop on the baking sheets. Brush with remaining melted butter. Cover with plastic wrap or towel and let rise for another 30 minutes. Remove the plastic wrap and bake until golden brown, about 17 minutes.