Purple Sweet Potato Sourdough

The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight. 

-M.F.K. Fisher 

Over the past year or so I've started to bake Sourdough bread and I can't quite say I've learnt the ropes well but I've certainly learnt a lot more- how to judge when the starter is ready, how to work with high hydration dough, how to do stretch and folds, how to slash and bake a little better. I am still very much a beginner, but I feel more comfortable baking, mixing, and handling the dough- it all feels like second nature, and somehow baking and watching the dough bubble up in all sorts of ways ignites a spark that was somewhat hidden inside me, like a desire for going back to basics, to do something with my hands, and to create something from scratch - something the technology of today can't quite replicate. 

This particular loaf is quite exciting to make- the deep, rich purple the sweet potatoes lend to the dough is mesmerising and just so beautiful. The colour is so intense you wouldn't believe it's not from the icky bottle of food colouring stuck in the back of your cupboard. It's a reminder that sometimes the best of things are the real, unadulterated stuff and that there is much joy we can find in unexpected ways. 

Purple Sweet Potato Sourdough 

300g bread flour 

180g water

150g 100% hydration Sourdough starter

200g purple Sweet Potato, mashed 

9g salt 

Mix bread flour, water and starter together. Autolyse about 1 hour. 

Mix in the mashed sweet potato and salt, give it a couple of stretch and folds to build strength. Bulk ferment for 4-5 hours, folding every hour. 

Shape the dough and let rise seam side up in a dusted banneton overnight in the fridge, about 14 hours. 

Preheat the oven and baking stone to 260 degrees, for at least 1 hour. 

Invert the dough onto a piece of parchment and slide it onto the baking stone. Insert a tray of ice below for some steam. Bake about 35 minutes (or 15 minutes with lid, 20 minutes without, in a Dutch oven.) 

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