Blame it on the cool, drizzly weather that Los Angeles has been experiencing as of late, or the baskets of yams I encountered at my local farmer’s market last week, but my usual craving for root vegetables has gone up by a notch or two. A staple during my “starving college student” days, I’d often bake a yam, smother it in butter and cinnamon, and call it a day (or a meal). But now that I’m living with the ‘rents, I not only have the luxury of throwing other ingredients into the mix, I also have a plethora of kitchen appliances to choose from! Yipee!
Quick breads make me feel like I am really somebody. It’s kind of weird; I feel much more accomplished after baking a loaf of bread, than I do baking most other things, for some strange reason. Maybe it’s the size of the baked good that I rest my inner baker’s sense of self-worth upon. Whatever it is, I decided that a yam quick bread would do the blog (and my tummy) some good. Restaurant reviews have quickly taken precedence over the ol’ food blog, and if I have any hope of taking Meal Muse to the next level of culinary know-how, I need to take my pots and pans out for a test drive once in a while. So…a yam quick bread was in order.
Now, part of owning a blog, in my opinion, is the ability to unabashedly admit when you’ve messed up. I don’t know many food bloggers whose dishes ever come out crappy (or so it seems). I, for one, would like you to know that this bread was an utter baking blunder. The recipe I consulted was from an old, dilapidated cookbook my mom owns, appropriately titled, “Quick Breads”. I followed the recipe to a tee for the most part, save for the fact that I used mashed, roasted yams rather than a 16 oz. can of sweet potatoes, omitted the nuts, and added a bit of water since the dough seemed very thick and dry. So maybe I didn’t follow the recipe to a tee. The result? A very goopy bread. A bread pudding, if you will. But not in the good way.
Before things went awry…
After literally baking this bread for two hours (covering it with foil for the last 20 minutes so as to avoid the top getting too brown), I threw in the towel. The metal skewer I was using to test the “done-ness” of the bread, simply refused to come out clean. Even as I type this, the loaf sits on the stove, mocking me, daring me to cut into it and expose the mushiness inside. Whatever, yam loaf. Screw you.
In the spirit of interactivity, I want to open this post up for discussion. Why, oh why, was this loaf such a failure? I’m not giving up faith in my baking abilities, but as I sit at the kitchen table trying with all my might to suck it up, my ego is undoubtedly bruised. Here’s the recipe. Have at it. And please know that I yam terribly sorry.
Sweet Yam Quick Bread (don’t try this at home….seriously)
2 cups Pamela’s baking & pancake flour (gluten-free flour)
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup orange juice
1 egg, well-beaten
1/3 cup oil
16 oz. yam purée (about 2 large yams)
For the yam purée: preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wrap yams in foil, place on cookie sheet and bake for at least 45 minutes, or until you can easily pierce with a fork. Let cool for at least 10 minutes, peel skins off, and mash in a bowl. I like to add a bit of butter to get that creamy consistency. And because butta makes everything betta.
For the loaf: Combine flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix orange juice, egg, oil and sweet potatoes together well. Add this mixture to dry ingredients. Add in about 1/2 water. Stir until just blended. Pour batter into a greased and floured loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes (or in my case, two, long and tortuous hours). Cool in pan for about 10 minutes.
Despite my shame, I decided to cut into the loaf to show you all what exactly I mean by “goopy bread”.
Oh, the horror! Where did I go wrong, dear reader?!
P.S. – Just so you don’t think I’m a total loser, I need you to know that my Tahitian Squash loaf came out perfectly! But you’ll have to wait until my next “Farmer’s Corner” article comes out to read about that one!