I've been to Whole Foods, to Safeway. I've looked through vegan cookbooks and googled both vegetables once or twice. But I still don't understand what makes one orange fleshed potato a yam and one orange fleshed potato a sweet potato. There are typically three varieties of these tubers at my local grocery store: an orange fleshed one, a deeper almost red fleshed one, and then a light, yellow (almost a regular potato) fleshed tuber.
When I ask which one is sweeter...I get a different answer each time. When I ask which one is an actual sweet potato...I get either a complicated response about how yams are only grown in South America or a shrug of the shoulders. So whenever I decide to bake with sweet potatoes, I usually end up buying one of each variety, just to be sure I have my bases covered, and I chop each tuber up into tiny pieces, steam them until they are soft, and mash them into one solid mass.
If you happen to know a potato expert, or perhaps are just better versed in your vegetables that I apparently am, please leave me a comment and help clarify my confusion. But if not, rest assured that these rolls can be made with or without a solid knowledge of the history of the sweet potato. These rolls are some of the most beautiful, yeasty creations I've made, and I hope you enjoy them as much as we did.
We served these rolls with a big pot of soup at my parent's place. The soup was tasty, but the rolls were the stars of the evening. We each ate at least two of these potato knots, and Ryan and I were thankful we had set some aside for us at home.
I've included an easy recipe below, and I would encourage you to throw a potato in the oven the next time you're baking. Having an already baked potato at your disposal makes this recipe much easier to throw together. I've also included a few photos to demonstrate how I made a knot roll, but feel free to experiment with your own roll design!
1 package of active dry yeast (.25 ounces or 2 1/4 tsp)
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup sweet potato puree (about one whole sweet potato)
1/2 cup warm water
3 TBSP butter (or oil)
1 tsp salt
2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
*To make this recipe vegan: substitute 2 TBSP ground flax seed plus 6 TBSP water for eggs, substitute agave nectar or brown sugar for honey
1. Dissolve yeast, warm water and 1 tablespoon of honey in a mixing bowl. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes or until the yeast becomes creamy. If you are using instant yeast instead, you can bypass this step.
2. Add remaining honey, sweet potato puree, softened butter and slightly beaten eggs. Stir with a wooden spoon to mix well. Add in the All Purpose and Whole Wheat flour and stir until dough begins to come together.
3. Using the dough hook on a stand mixer, knead dough for 5-10 minutes or until the ball of dough becomes smooth and elastic. If kneading by hand, turn dough into a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for 1 hour.
4. Punch dough down, and divide into twelve to twenty equal sections. Shape rolls into knots by rolling dough out into a rectangle, cutting into equal strips, and "tying" each strip into a knot, tucking loose ends into dough. See pictures below...
5. Cover with a damp towel and allow to rise for an additional 30-40 minutes. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes or until just golden brown.
Anecdotes and Apple Cores