Purple Sweet Potato Super-Soft Rolls

purple sweet potato rolls

I have been wanting to try purple sweet potatoes since reading about the Okinawa people. In this little Japanese island, there wasn’t a big variety of food and locals mostly ate purple sweet potatoes, complemented with rice and legumes and very little more. They have estimated that animal proteins altogether contributed slightly above 1% of the total calorie intake of this population, making them 99% vegetarian.

What made the Okinawan famous, though, was their longevity and the virtual absence of disease up to a very old age. Ever heard of the Blue Zones? It is a list of places in the world where the highest proportions of very old folks can be found. Okinawa is one of them.

It has been said that the very high daily intake of purple sweet potato was one of the reasons for the incredible good health of Okinawans. This interesting tuber, which is used as a coloring agent in some places (South America), owes its color to the massive presence of powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins. Anthocyanins offer protection against liver injuries, significant reduction of blood pressure, improvement of eyesight, strong anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activities, inhibition of mutations caused by mutagens from cooked food, and suppression of proliferation of human cancer cells. Not bad?

To me these interesting tubers have an extra charm: they can naturally color bread. Here my first try, with a potato roll that was already in my repertoire and which was very easy to adapt. The good thing of potato rolls in general is that you can achieve that soft bun consistency you may like without adding fat, milk or eggs. So here you, go, a light and soft bread roll loaded with antioxidant (and it’s even vegan!).

purple sweet potato

PURPLE SWEET POTATO SUPER-SOFT ROLLS

225 g 100% hydration wheat starter
500 g wheat flour
350 g purple sweet potatoes
150 g water (plus more if needed)
1 and 1/2 tea-spoon marine salt

1) Wash the sweet potatoes and boil them in abundant salted water with their peel on.
2) When the potatoes are tender but not too soft, drain them.
3) Peel the sweet potatoes while still warm, then, mash them.
4) Combine the starter with the water and the flour and start mixing at low speed or do a series of stretch and folds if you don’t fancy using a mixer.
5) Add the sweet potato and then the salt last. Check if more water needs to be added. The dough should be rather firm, but not dry.
6) Mix (or stretch and fold) until you reach good gluten net development.
7) Let the dough rest until it has risen 1/2 in volume.
8) Transfer the dough to a working surface and shape as round rolls.
9) Let proof, covered, until the dough, when pressed with your fingertip, bounces back slowly.
10) Bake at 225 degrees (Celsius) for the first 15 minutes with steam, then release the steam and lower to 190 degrees (Celsius) and bake until done (I checked internal temperature and I extracted at 98 degrees).

Note: To obtain a more “rustic” effect, you could press the rolls slightly with the tip of your fingers before baking them.

purple sweet potato rolls

purple sweet potato rolls

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Barbara Elisi

Hi there! I am the "soul" behind Bread & Companatico. My main interest is the preservation of bread tradition and craft, with an eye to health. I hope you are having a good time reading this blog, and please don't be shy to connect with me through comments or emails and do keep on bread-ing! 🙂

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14 replies
  1. Martin Prior
    Martin Prior says:

    Thank you Barabara for this. I shall give them a try. Unfortunately I have to use Organic ingredients and we only have the Yellow Sweet Potatoes. Maybe I will try to add some Organic Beetroot. 🙂

    Reply
    • Barbara Elisi
      Barbara Elisi says:

      hi there Martin!
      Good luck with the try! The color won’t be the same, but sweet potatoes are healthy in general (and these buns are delicious).

      Reply
      • Ana
        Ana says:

        Happy to find you talking about this beautiful potatoes and beets. Can you tell me why “beet bread” gets some strange color and potato keeps its beautiful purple tone? I tried both with the same dough at the same time and got disapointed with the beets. Is it oxidation? Is it acidity?

        Reply
        • Barbara Elisi
          Barbara Elisi says:

          Hi Ana! Yes, it is oxidation and also low acidity. These potatoes are full of antioxidants and are very acidic.

          Reply
  2. Maria Teresa
    Maria Teresa says:

    Stupendi Barbara, una tonalità intensa e particolare. E mantiene bene in cottura senza aggiungere acido citrico!
    Peccato che siano difficili da trovare le patate viola.
    Complimenti, bravissima come sempre, buona domenica 😊

    Reply
    • Barbara Elisi
      Barbara Elisi says:

      niente acido citrico, quel viola li’ non lo togli neanche con la candeggina 🙂 vedrai che arriveranno anche in Italia… grazie per i complimenti xxx

      Reply
  3. Karin Anderson
    Karin Anderson says:

    Woohoo! A new post by the Queen of Holes – and Colors! What an amazing hue these buns have. So far, I haven’t seen any purple sweet potatoes in our supermarket, but I will keep my eyes open.
    Have a nice Sunday!

    Reply
    • Barbara Elisi
      Barbara Elisi says:

      eh… queen of my boots (regina dei miei stivali) 🙂 where is my kingdom? where my castle? have a great rest of the week and thanks a lot for commenting (I have to get back into it, too). xxx

      Reply
  4. narf7
    narf7 says:

    What amazing colour and texture in those lovely buns. I am going to have to hunt out some purple sweet potatoes now. I can get taro frozen in bags here, maybe that would do? Thank you for this excellent recipe 🙂

    Reply
    • Barbara Elisi
      Barbara Elisi says:

      hi there! how long not “seeing” you! had to google taro 🙂 it should do for the color, have no idea about the rest. thanks for stopping by and happy you liked my recipe. so long not posting a recipe…

      Reply
  5. Janina
    Janina says:

    This is awesome, thanks so much for sharing this recipe and information. I can’t wait to try these. How about Purple Sweet Potato Gnocchi, can you make those next?

    Reply
    • Barbara Elisi
      Barbara Elisi says:

      that would be cool to try. but I have to double check with my little gnocchi eater. she is the one who decides food at home 🙂

      Reply

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