Rwandan Sweet Potato Bread


1 pkg. active dry yeast, dissolved in ¾ cup lukewarm water
½ cup honey
¾ cup warm milk
1 egg
4 tablespoons melted butter, cooled
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ t teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed sweet potato
3 cups all purpose flour
3 cups white whole wheat flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)


While the yeast is dissolving in the water, measure the honey into a mixing bowl large enough to make the bread dough. Add the warm milk to the honey first, as this will help to melt the honey and ensure that it will be easy to distribute throughout the dough. Mix well. It will look a bit curdled but not to worry. Next, add all the rest of the ingredients through the mashed sweet potato. Once the yeast has proofed in the water for five minutes, add to the honey mixture.

Next, start by adding all of the white flour and some of the wheat flour. Stir vigorously in the bowl with a wooden spoon, and keep adding more flour as needed to make a dough that does not stick to the bowl. Turn the dough out onto your countertop at this point and continue to knead for a few minutes, adding more flour as necessary so that it doesn’t stick to your hands or the countertop too badly. Keep in mind that the dough should still be moist and not terribly firm.

Form the dough into a ball and placed in an oiled bowl. Cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm spot to double in bulk, about an hour.

After the dough has doubled, fold it over gently on itself a few times, and reshape into a ball. Lightly oil a piece of parchment paper and place your bread directly on the paper. Cover with a tea towel and let rise for an hour, until nearly doubled again.

Begin preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Preheat a baking stone or a heavy-duty cookie sheet. Put it in the oven at least 30 minutes before it’s time to bake the bread.

When the bread is ready to go into the oven, just pick up the edges of the parchment paper and set it onto your stone or cookie sheet.

Bake for 45 minutes. To test doneness, take bread out of the oven and thump it on the bottom. It should sound hollow. If you have an instant read thermometer, it should read 190 degrees when inserted into the loaf. Continue to bake in five minute increments until it is done.

Recipe and photo credit: Linda McElroy


Notes and Instructions