I love purple yams. They are slightly sweeter than their yellow/beige cousin and are a beautiful deep purple. I had an excess of them at home and eating too much boiled yams get tiring, even if it is delicious. Also, my mom has been pestering me to make a menu for the Lunars New Years gathering at my house, so I figured I might as well make sweet bread, a good-luck food, for the little kids who aren't fully accustomed to some Vietnamese foods yet. It turned out pretty well! I love the tangzhong method (see here for more details), it works every time.
Purple Yam Sweet Milk Bread
· 1.5 cups all purpose flour
· ½ cup mashed purple yams
· 2 tbsp sugar (Add 1 more tbsp if you like sweeter breads. I’m not too big a fan of sweets)
· 1.5 tsp yeast
· ½ tsp salt
· 1 cup warm milk
· 1 egg, beaten (for the finishing brush before baking)
· Add all dry ingredients and the tangzhong in a dough mixer/processor bowl. Mix for 5 minutes until the purple yam paste is well integrated with the flour.
· Slowly add milk and knead for another 30 minutes.
· Let the dough proof for two hours or until it doubles in size. I usually pre-heat an oven for a minute and turn it off. The oven should be moderately warm (but not too hot). I put my bowl of dough in there to rise because it is optimal temperature for the yeast to do its job.
· Shape the dough as you please. When I made this, I braided the dough. You could easily just roll the dough into four balls and put it into a greased bread pan to make rolls. Be careful though because the dough is wet. Have extra all purpose flour ready, and be sure to dust your hands with it to keep the dough from sticking. Put this shaped dough into a greased pan (I use Pam baking spray, but olive oil also works well).
· Let the dough rise again for an hour.
· Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
· Brush the dough with an egg wash and bake for 20 minutes, until golden.