Sweet potatoes bring natural sweetness to these fluffy dinner rolls or burger buns, and melted butter gives the crust a delicate crunch.
- 1 medium to large sweet potato (8 oz.)
- 2 1/4 t (1 envelope) active dry yeast
- 1/2 C warm (110 degrees F) water
- 1/4 C granulated sugar, divided
- 4 T unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
- 1 1/4 t kosher salt (plus more, or sea salt, for tops)
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 t vegetable oil
- 3 3/4 C all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for work surface
- 1 1/2 t sesame seeds, optional
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees (F). Scrub and dry sweet potato and pierce skin in 6 to 8 places with the tip of a paring knife. Bake in a foil-lined pan until easily pierced to the middle, almost an hour. Halve lengthwise and, when cool enough to handle, scrape out flesh. Puree in a food processor or blender. Measure 1/2 cup of puree for the rolls and save leftovers.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together yeast, 1 tablespoon sugar, and warm water with a spoon. Let stand 5 minutes, or until the yeast looks noticeably bubbly and smells “yeasty” (difficult to describe, easy to detect). Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment.
- To the yeast mixture, add 3 tablespoons sugar, the half cup mashed sweet potato, 3 tablespoons butter, the salt, 1/4 cup flour, and both eggs. Whisk on low until well combined (butter should be broken up).
- Add 3 1/4 cups flour and mix with the dough hook on low speed until all the dough is wrapped around the hook in a smooth mass (about 2 to 4 minutes). If some flour settles in the bottom of the bowl, stop and stir, and continue mixing so it incorporates. Pinch the dough with your thumb and a couple fingers. If it’s very sticky and stays on your finger (or if it won’t form a mass around the hook on low speed), add 1/4 cup flour and mix again until the dough is smooth (I usually add the extra flour). Gently scrape the dough off the hook. Pour vegetable oil down the side of the bowl near the bottom, then turn dough with your hands or a rubber spatula to coat the ball. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled (60 to 90 minutes).
- Punch the dough down once (firmly, with a fist, but not like you’re trying to knock it out). Let rest 2 minutes while you lightly grease a 9 by 13 inch pan with 1/2 tablespoon butter. Turn dough onto a lightly floured cutting board or countertop. Cut into 12 approximately equal pieces and pat each into a ball, then use the pinky edge of both hands to pull the sides down and tuck them under the bottom, creating a smoother top of the roll. Arrange balls in rows in the pan, cover with a dry dish towel, and let rise again in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375.
- Melt remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter and brush a thin coat over the risen, unbaked rolls. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and sea salt, then bake until light golden and crusty on the outside, about 16 to 18 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Rolls keep, sealed in a plastic bag, a day at room temperature and another 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator (although don’t plan to pass them off as fresh! They become slightly more dry and chewy, which can be disguised if toasted.).
Active prep time is about 45 to 50 minutes.
Baking versus boiling (or another cooking method) the potatoes affects the moisture content. To keep quantities of other ingredients the same, do not boil or otherwise cook the potatoes, and, once cooled, remove skin and mash immediately. This allows steam (i.e., moisture) to escape.
To speed up the process, prepare the sweet potatoes in advance and refrigerate until needed. Bringing the sweet potato puree closer to room temperature will encourage faster proofing (rising) of the dough.
Got left over sweet potato? It’s excellent for the next day’s lunch, warmed up and mixed with a good amount of salt, plus butter, olive oil, avocado, or sour cream. Some lime juice is also a good addition to offset the sweetness.
If water is too warm, it can “kill” the yeast. If you don’t have a thermometer, err on the side of just more than lukewarm. Worst case scenario, the yeast takes a little longer than prescribed to activate, but it should still happen if you’re patient.
- Prep Time: 2 hours 20 mins
- Cook Time: 45 mins
- Category: Bread
- Cuisine: Side Dish