Why Bread is the Best Vehicle for Sweet Potatoes

November  8, 2015

Posie Harwood, who finds the best back-of-the-box recipes in the grocery store, discovers a better way to eat your mashed potatoes this year.

Let's talk about mashed potatoes. Specifically, let's talk about mashed sweet potatoes. What if, instead of eating your vegetables with a fork, you ate them in the form of a light, airy, squishy roll?

Shop the Story

I've heard there is an ongoing struggle with parents about how to disguise vegetables so that children will eat them. Not having children myself (and having been a child who truly loved broccoli from the get-go), I can only imagine how difficult this makes dinnertime.

Luckily, the world is full of clever ways to consume vegetables: Turn butternut squash into a vibrant pasta dish! Put kale in your scones! Top your potatoes with sweet sugared streusel

Here's the thing to keep in mind: These sweet potato rolls aren't good even though they're a vehicle for vegetables—they're good because of it. Potato breads are notoriously delicious little devils, impossible to stop eating and solely responsible for the success of many a burger

Why is that? Mashed potatoes lend a moist, soft texture to bread—which is what I call the "squish factor." Consider a store-bought hot dog bun: Though light and fluffy, it collapses into a squashed doughy bite when you squish it between your fingertips. (N.B.: This is a good thing.)

These sweet potato rolls are all of that, in a dinner roll: airy, delicate, and tender. They have a slight sweetness that absolutely begs for a schmear of butter and a sprinkling of sea salt. I suspect they'd be very good dunked in gravy

If you're already making mashed sweet potatoes for your Thanksgiving casseroles, make some extra and whip them into buns. In a mere twenty minutes, I pulled together the dough and started the first rise. To shape them, you just roll the dough into balls and toss them into a greased pan. Let them rise again, then bake.

Alternatively, use your leftover mashed sweet potatoes and bake these the day after Thanksgiving. I can't imagine a more perfect vehicle for slider-style day-after-Thanksgiving sandwiches layered with cranberry sauce, roast turkey, lettuce, and mayonnaise.

Sweet Potato Rolls

Adapted from Fleischmann's Yeast

Makes 12 rolls

1 cup milk
package active dry yeast
3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 cup cooked sweet potatoes, mashed well

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Second photo by Mark Weinberg; all other photos by Posie Harwood 

52 Days of Thanksgiving
Check It Out
52 Days of Thanksgiving

Top-notch recipes, expert tips, and all the tools to pull off the year’s most memorable feast.

Check It Out

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

I like warm homemade bread slathered with fresh raw milk butter, ice cream in all seasons, the smell of garlic in olive oil, and sugar snap peas fresh off the vine.