When it comes to baking (esp yeast bread), are there differences between sweet and white potatoes?

I made a fabulous potato bread last week using small white potatoes from my husband's farm (!!) and now I want to try the same recipe but sub sweet potatoes. Is there anything I should take into account? Do I need to make adjustments? Thanks!

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6 Comments

boulangere November 7, 2019
My go-to potato bread recipe for years has been the Rustic Potato Bread from Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan. And yes, I've subbed sweet potatoes now and then, especially around Thanksgiving. The secret to using either potato is to break them up into even smaller pieces once cooked, and spread them out on a baking sheet or platter, then refrigerate them for at least an hour. Two are better. (During cold weather I've been known to use my garage, or even back patio - as long as the dogs are inside - both of which I refer to as walk-out cold storage.) Refrigeration - or any temperature below 40 degrees - is a naturally dehydrating process which causes starch molecules to begin to break down and release some of their water. The bread will mix much more easily as a result, and you'll find that you can resist the urge to dump additional flour into the dough. That's a good thing.
 
boulangere November 7, 2019
P.S. I'm fond of adding fresh dill to the white potato version and fresh rosemary or thyme to the one with sweet potatoes.
 
Nancy November 8, 2019
Good tips.
I also like James Beard's recipe for Refrigerator Potato Bread.
 
AntoniaJames November 8, 2019
Nancy, my mother's holiday special rolls were quite similar to JB's potato bread recipe, and were my introduction to the magic of potato in yeast breads. I just took a look at my mother's recipe (typed by her on a Selectric those many decades ago, scanned and uploaded by me a few decades later) and see now why we loved it so much. All that butter! All that sugar! (Like JB's) All that potato - plus potato water!! -- to make them even more luscious. We called them "featherbeds" - and we only had them on special holidays, though when I was a bit older, I helped my mother by making them for extended family dinner parties. ;o)
 
AntoniaJames November 8, 2019
Dill, yes, especially in an enriched dough (sour cream, anyone?) though dill is so hard to find, even in the stores, this time of year. I had armloads of it this summer from my garden . . . . This is inspiring me to find a way to grow herbs indoors during the winter (I'm in CO now where the tremendous convenience of "outdoor cold storage" as you so aptly name it comes at the price of a short growing season). ;o)
 
AntoniaJames November 6, 2019
The starches, texture, moisture and density of sweet potato are different, which will affect the texture, rise, etc., of the finished loaf.
I have used sweet potatoes in yeast breads before, and they don't add that much flavor. The amount of potato relative to the other ingredients is small enough that one doesn't really notice the sweet potato that much, except that it changes to color of the bread, somewhat, and may make it a bit more sweeter.

Of course, go ahead and try, if you want. I'm guessing that the bread won't be as good as that made with the small white potatoes - but of course, I could be wrong. Let us know, either way, please. ;o)
 
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