Purple Sweet Potato Black Sesame Sourdough 84.5% hydration

Purple Sweet Potato Black Sesame Sourdough 84.5% hydration

You might know that this is one of my favourite flavour combinations that I’ve baked a few times now.  However, being me I keep tinkering to see if I can make it better than before, it doesn’t always work out that way.

I made some changes, I haven’t been happy with my lazy preparation of the sweet potatoes so instead of microwaving them, I used the instant pot this time, 18 mins at normal pressure.  This results in a nicer sweet potato that is easy to remove the peel and mash.  The resulting mash is more moist and much better than the drying effects of microwaving.  I did several and froze the mash in portions for future use.

I increased the hydration to 84.5% and pushed bulk quite far, for me in total 80% rise when the bench rest after shaping is included.  I wanted to see if I could achieve a more open crumb than I usually get.


Total flour 409 g

Levain 20% 

6 g starter 36 g water 36 g red fife overnight build


Saltolyse overnight

90% bread flour 331 g

19% red fife flour 41 g 

Salt 2% 8.18 g

Water 300 g

I added 8 g water during bassinage 84.5% hydration


160 g purple sweet potato


The dough was developed with initial Rubaud mixing when the levain was added to the saltolysed dough in the morning and 8 g of additional water added.  Further gluten development with 200 slap and folds were done.

30 mins later a bench letterfold was done

30 mins lamination was performed adding both the sweet potato and black sesame seeds.

three sets of coil folds were performed at approximately 30 mins intervals each time waiting until the dough fully relaxed.

Bulk was ended when the aliquot jar reached 60% rise.

Dough shaped into a batard and placed in a banneton and left on the counter for another 60 mins until the aliquot jar reached 80% rise.

Cold Retard until the next day.


Preheat oven to 500ºF with dutch oven inside.

Once at 500ºF remove dough from banneton and score.  Brush with water and transfer to the dutch oven, drop the temperature to 450ºF and bake for 20 mins with the lid on.  Drop the temperature to 420ºF and continue to bake lid on for 10 mins.

Remove the lid and continue to bake in dutch oven for 10 mins lid off.

Remove from dutch oven and place on oven rack to complete bake additional 15-20 mins.


Post bake analysis.  I think that the combination of higher hydration and moist sweet potatoes along with the bulk pushed to 80% caused the flatter profile of this bake.  That being said, I’m not disappointed with the crumb which is generally more open than what I usually achieve.  At least I know I can achieve this style of crumb if I want to.  Well, I don’t know that I can achieve it consistently yet, more bakes will need to be done to confirm that.


I do still enjoy the flavour of this bread.  Regarding the baking, the additional 10 mins of baking with the lid on does, I’m convinced, lead to a thinner crust.  Removing the bread from the dutch oven for the final 15-20 mins of baking also helps thin the bottom crust.  I do need to be careful to fully baking when using this method because this bread was borderline a bit too moist in places where there was a lot of the sweet potato so an additional 5 mins might be needed when there are a lot of wet inclusions and higher hydration dough.

I also think I prefer the sweet potato when it is added earlier in the process to the dough to more evening distribute it.  But it was worthwhile trying this method to compare.