Asian bread sold in Chinese/Japanese/Korean bakery typically use the same dough, but made into a wide variety of bread using various creative filling, be it sweet or savory. The bread sold come in many different forms, from the plain round bread, braided bread, open sandwich bread (i.e. all the topping on top), knotted bread, to spiral bread like the one in this post. I am sure I need a longer list to include all the different forms. This time, let’s make some spiral bread with sweet potato paste as filling.
I start by making the paste first since we need to cool it down before using. Take one sweet potato (about 300 gram), peel and steam until soft. Mash the sweet potato and mix with sugar, sweet condensed milk, butter, and some cinnamon powder to make sweet potato paste. You can adjust the sweetness to suit your taste since each sweet potato will obviously have different level of sweetness. Sometimes the sweet potato paste can be a bit runny and we don’t want that, in which case you can cook it in a frying pan over low heat and stir every so often until the paste is thicker. Let the paste cool completely before using. You can make this ahead of time and make it in big batches too if you like the paste. Just like red bean paste, you can use this not only as bread filling, but also as daifuku (mochi) filling, manju (Japanese steamed/baked bread) filling, and Chinese steamed buns filling.
Next, we need to prepare the dough. This dough is my standard bread dough for both sweet and savory filling, and most of the time I almost always have all the ingredients at home. You will need all purpose flour, egg, butter, milk, active dry yeast, salt, and sugar. I knead with my hands, and typically at around 15-20 minutes, the dough reaches a stage where it becomes smooth, soft, and elastic. Then we need to leave the dough to proof in a covered bowl (wet kitchen towel/saran wrap) for 1 hour, or until the volume doubles. In winter time, you can place the covered dough and a small pot of hot water in your oven so the proofing time is not too long. In summer when the weather is sweltering, just leave the dough in the kitchen counter top.
Once the dough has finished proofing. Punch to release air bubbles, knead again for 2 minutes. Then roll the dough into 10”x15” rectangle, with the short side closer to you. Spread a layer of sweet potato paste on the dough, leaving 0.5” margin along the edges. Then roll the dough from bottom to top, like rolling a towel (or cinnamon rolls if you ever make that), pulling the dough slightly as you roll. In the end, you will get a log, and if you pull the dough ever so slightly while rolling, you should be able to get a 12” log. Cut into 12 pieces. Place the cut up dough on a parchment paper lined baking tray, cut up facing up, and proof again for 45 minutes. They should become 50% larger.
Preheat your oven to 200 Celsius (400 Fahrenheit). Prepare an egg wash by mixing one egg with one teaspoon of milk or water. Brush the top surface of the dough liberally with the egg wash. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve immediately.
Sweet Potato Bread
- Sweet potato filling
- 1 sweet potato (300 gram)
- 25 gram sugar
- 25 gram butter
- 35 gram sweet condensed milk
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 150 ml warm milk (38 Celsius or 100 Fahrenheit)
- 5 gram active dry yeast
- 5 gram sugar
- 300 gram all purpose flour
- 10 gram sugar
- 4 gram salt
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoon butter, room temperature
- Egg wash (mix together)
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon milk/water
- Sweet potato filling
- Peel and cut the sweet potato into wedges. Steam until soft.
- Mash steamed sweet potato with sugar, butter, sweet condensed milk, and cinnamon powder.
- If the paste is runny, cook in a frying pan over low heat until thick and no longer runny.
- Let the paste cool completely before using.
- Mix together warm milk, active dry yeast, and 5 gram sugar. Let rest for 20 minutes until foamy.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all purpose flour, 10 gram sugar, and salt. Make a well, then pour the foamy yeast solution, egg, and butter. Knead into a smooth, soft, elastic, and non-sticky dough. If the dough is too sticky, you may add 1-2 tablespoon of all purpose flour. Kneading time is 20 minutes.
- Place the dough in the bowl, wrap with wet kitchen towel or saran wrap. Let it proof until the volume is doubled, about 1 hour in warm kitchen.
- Roll the dough into 10"x15" rectangle. Spread a thin layer of sweet potato paste on the dough, leaving a 1/2" margin along the edges.
- Roll from bottom to top into a log, pulling the dough slightly while rolling. You should be able to get a 12" log. Cut into 12 pieces.
- Place the cut up dough onto a parchment paper lined baking tray, cut side up, and proof for 45 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 200 Celsius (400 Fahrenheit).
- Brush the top of each bread liberally with egg wash. Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Best served warm when out from the oven. The bread should be fresh for up to 3 days.