I love bread, especially if the bread looks as beautiful and delicious as this Purple Yam Loaf. I made Purple Yam Jam few days ago and I had been snacking and eating it non-stop. My mom used to make it for use when we were young, and up to know that we are older, she still make it for my siblings whenever they request her to. Since I migrated in Canada, I missed a lot of my mom’s cooking. There is nothing like a home cook meals prepared by my mom. Since I cannot have that here, I try to make some of her specialty just like the Purple Yam Jam.
Purple Yam Jam is a jam made from vegetable purple yam. It has a very vibrant purple color, smooth in texture, creamy in taste and quite good for snacking. It is a traditional Filipino dessert which is normally present during Christmas, New Year, birthdays or any other occasion. The delicious addictive taste and the bright purple color always makes this jam stands out when served in a gathering.
I am pretty sure that I can finish the entire bottle just by eating it on its own, and so I thought I should spare portion of this for use in this loaf bread. It was a good decision as this bread turned out fantastic. Just look at the photo, don’t you just want to tear it apart and eat it now? That’s what I was thinking when I was photographing this bread.
The texture of this bread is in the dense and heavy side, the perfect texture to fill it with purple yam jam. So, if you are adventurous enough to try something new, try making the Purple Yam Jam and make this bread too. I guarantee, your friends will love it. Let’s get started!
Why is My Dough Too Wet or Too Dry?
Don’t get frustrated if your dough did not turn out immediately as what you see in the photo or video. Most likely It is not because you did not follow the recipe. When it comes to bread making, the amount of flour and liquid is not always 100% precise. This is way often times you will encounter recipes that says, if your dough is dry, add a bit more liquid. If your dough is too wet, add a little bit more flour. This instructions are not meant to confuse you, they are meant to guide you on how to adjust as you work through your dough. The reason for this is that although the measurement of water and flour are specified in the recipe, it still could slightly vary depending on many factors. For instance, all-purpose flour could very from country to country, or even from brand to brand. Don’t be surprise if you find that some brand tends to require a bit more liquid as the others. On top of this, the amount of liquid is also affected by the state of your flour. How old is the flour that you are using? Older flour nearing expiry tends to be drier and this requires more liquid. Bread making requires patience, and practice. Once you learn how to feel the right texture of the dough, everything will be quick and easy. You can instantly tell if you need to add more water or flour to get the dough in right state.
Tips for a Successful Soft Homemade Bread
- Check Yeast Expiry a Date – you might be wondering how come the bread did not rise when you followed exactly the recipe. Well, first thing first, make sure the yeast is not yet expired.
- Liquid Temperature – Yeast grows in temperature between 110 – 115F, so it is important to have the water that you are using to “proof” it in this range. If you go lower or higher, the yeast might not proof properly. That means the bread will not rise as much, resulting to a flat and tough bread. If you do not have kitchen thermometer, microwave the water (from the faucet) about 15 – 20 seconds. Feel it with your fingers, it sound be lukewarm not hot.
- Amount of Yeast – Just because you want a tall fully bread doesn’t mean you have to put as much yeast in the mixture. Sometimes if you add too much, it will have a tendency to collapse. Just imagine putting more air than what is needed in a balloon, the balloon will explode. The same case with bread.
- Right Type of Yeast – We’ve discussed the 3 types of yeast above. Make sure to use the right one for your recipe, and make necessary adjustments if you want to swap one from another.
- Flour Measurement is not exact all the time, but with only minimal difference. Sometimes it could be plus 2 – 4 tbsp more, this is why I always set aside about 1/4 cup in case I need to add more. If you measure the liquid properly, and still the dough turn out dry, then it could be that the flour moisture is either dryer than usual. Dry flour requires more liquid, and lighter flour requires less liquid. This could depend on the brand of the flour and the age of the flour, and of course flour could vary from country to country. The nearer the flour gets to expiry date, the more that it gets dryer. If you are like me who doesn’t monitor the expiry date, then you just have to feel the dough if it needs additional flour. You want it to be still soft and moist but not too sticky. Moist but enough to form the dough into a ball. My test is a bowl with clean side, while the dough still slightly stick at the bottom. This gives a soft dough.
- Rest Period – Yeast bread needs time to rise. There are bread that uses less yeast but requires more rest time, the likes of No Knead Bread or Artisan Bread which usually require 8- 16 hours rest period to get the volume and to develop the flavor. There are 1 hour bread like my Rosemary Dinner Rolls which used this same bread dough. Resting the dough is imperative to allow the gluten to relax and to allow the dough to rise. A well rested dough will rise better, will created pockets or air, and will make a light and soft bread. Remember, 2 rest period. First at least 1 hour and another 1 hour for the second rest period. It’s worth the wait, promise.
- 1 batch Purple Yam Jam
- 3 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 2/3 cups lukewarm Water (110F)
- 2/3 cups lukewarm Milk (110F)
- 1/4cup granulated white Sugar
- 1/4 cup unsalted Butter – melted and cooled
- 2 teaspoon Active Dry Yeast (I used Fleischmann’s brand)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon table Salt
- 1 Egg for brushing (Add 1/2 tsp water to the beaten egg to make egg wash) – optional
Note: This recipe can be done without a stand mixer. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and using your hand, manually mix and knead the dough in a flat surface.
- Purple Yam Jam. This can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the fridge.
- Activate the Yeast: Pour the warm water in a bowl. Add the 1 tablespoon sugar and active dry yeast and stir. Let sit for 10 minutes until bubbly.
- Dry Ingredients: Add the flour, remaining sugar and salt . Mix until fully combined.
- Wet Ingredients: Gradually add the milk. The liquid temperature should be between 110F – 115F. If you do not have a thermometer, microwave the liquid for 10-15 seconds. If you are using water from the fridge, microwave 15 – 20 seconds. Temperature is important to activate the yeast.
- Knead: Mix and knead the dough until combined (7 minutes).
- Butter: Add butter. The dough will break apart when you add the butter, this is expected. Continue kneading about 20 – 25 until the dough coms together again.
- Rest Period 1: Form into a ball and transfer to a large oiled bowl, cover with a warm, damp towel and let rise for 1 hour. (It’s best to let the dough rise in a warmer area of your kitchen).
- To help the dough rise better, I put it inside the oven which I pre-heated to 110F. Once it reached the 110F, I stopped/canceled it. DO NOT forget to stop it, you only want the oven to warm up for the dough to rise, you do not want to dough to be baked. Some oven has a proofing setting, mine doesn’t, so this is my trick.
- Shape – Knead the dough and cut is square size. I made 6″ x 6″ size for my mini loaf pan, adjust the size as desired. Spread Purple Yam Jam on top of the dough. Starting from the edge, roll the dough to form a log. Press the top of log a little, then cut it into 3 portion leaving the end intact to hold the 3 portions. Braid the bread and put in the baking pan.
- Rest Period 2: Cover with plastic wap or towel and leave for 1 hour in a warm place before baking.
- Bake: Brush with egg wash or milk (optional). Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until the top turns golden brown
Makes 3 Mini Loaf , or 2 medium Loaf Bread or 1 Large Loaf Bread
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