Brazilian Sweet Potato Bread

“Brazilian Sweet Potato Bread” is a flavorful, rich yeast bread which includes eggs, milk, butter, and of course, sweet potatoes. This combination of ingredients results is a light, airy and slightly sweet bread. A friend, who emigrated here from Brazil, posted a photo of the bread on Facebook. It looked mighty tempting; she agreed to share the recipe. I like to highlight Louisiana sweet potatoes which ripen in the fall. Why not make the bread adapting it to use our variety of this tuber? Plus, sweet potatoes are full of nutritional value adding to the health aspects of this bread. So, I attempted to make “Brazilian Sweet Potato Bread.”

I had to read the recipe several times to figure out exactly what to do. I’d never added sweet potato pulp to dough plus transcribing all the instructions from this Brazilian cook was interesting. Making yeast bread and rolls is somewhat involved no matter where the recipe comes from; I’ve had plenty of false starts. It does involve practice but baking homemade bread is so rewarding; give it a try. Although this dough was very sticky, I kept going. And, success. The rolls were delicious. They made great sandwiches by adding ham and homemade dill pickles.

Sweet potatoes are a staple food in the diets of Brazilians where the potatoes are boiled, roasted, mashed and added to soups and stews. Sometimes this potato is added to a variety of breads. The sweet potato is an ancient food whose origins can be traced to the Andes mountains of Peru thousands of years ago. The type of sweet potatoes which are cultivated in Brazil have a purple skin with a white/green flesh. However, other potatoes are also grown there, including ones with a yellow or orange flesh.

Several tasty breads are associated with Brazil. One of the best known breads is a delectable roll or biscuit made with tapioca flour and filled with cheese. Sweet potato pulp is often added to the rolls. My friend’s recipe is a yeast bread which also typical to Brazil. She learned to bake this bread in her native country before moving to Louisiana.

The sweet potatoes grown in Louisiana have a copper-colored skin with an orange flesh so my bread has a slight orange tinge. Otherwise, I am guessing that Louisiana sweet potatoes should taste similar to the ones typical to Brazil. Louisiana sweet potatoes ripen and are harvested in the fall. Although they are shelf-stable for many months, I think the most favorable ones can be purchased now.

Here are the ingredients for my bread. The recipe includes all-purpose flour, yeast, milk, eggs (not shown), butter, sugar, salt and sweet potato pulp. The ingredients remind me of a brioche-type bread or challah recipe.

Making the Bread

The bread — or rolls — generally follow other yeast bread recipes except that sweet potato pulp is added in. The recipe called for 1-1/2 cup sweet potato pulp. I determined that this was equivalent to a sweet potato which weighted 12 oz. So, pare and cut a large sweet potato into chunks and gently boil until tender. This took about 30 minutes. Then drain and mash the potato. I used a potato ricer to mash it which is a very useful kitchen gadget.

Next, let a packet of yeast soften and bubble in warm milk and 1/2 cup flour. While this is percolating, mix the sweet potato pulp with the rest of the ingredients (except flour) — eggs, sugar, melted butter and a little salt; mix well. Then add the milk/yeast mixture and stir.

Next, add flour, a small amount at a time, until a soft dough is formed. The recipe calls for a total of one pound of flour — this is about 3-1/2 cups flour — I added two cups flour to the dough in the bowl.

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured board. Knead the dough for about five minutes or until elastic. The dough was very sticky; I added about one cup additional flour during the kneading process and scraped quite a bit of dough off my hands with the back side of a knife. Here’s where I’m not sure if I’m following the Brazilian method of making bread — but this worked for me.

Shape into rolls and place on a buttered pan. What shape? I decided to keep it simple and pinched off small pieces with my hand and shaped them into balls about the size of a golf ball. Cover with a damp towel and let the bread double in size in a warm place. Brush on egg yolk and bake in a 350 degree oven until brown.

Here is my finished bread. Not too bad for my first attempt at making “Brazilian Sweet Potato Bread.” These rolls are great toasted for breakfast as well as an accompaniment for dinner. They make delicious sandwiches. I hope you will enjoy these healthy rolls as much as we are enjoying them..

And, thanks to the Helenita Thomas for sharing the recipe. Here is her bread as well as some tempting pizza which she also made!

Brazilian Sweet Potato Bread

  • Servings: 16 rolls
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print


  • oil
  • 1 (12) oz copper-skin sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 (7 gm) package dry yeast
  • 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
  • 4 Tbsp sugar
  • 3 Tbsp butter, melted plus additional butter for brushing tops of baked rolls
  • 1 tsp salt

Method and Steps:

  1. Oil a baking sheet and set aside.
  2. Peel sweet potato and cut in chunks. Add potatoes and 1 cup water to a large pot. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to gently boiling. Cook sweet potato chunks until tender, about 30 minutes
  3. Drain sweet potato, mash into a pulp using a potato ricer. Transfer to a large bowl.
  4. Heat milk to 110 degrees (about 30 seconds in microwave). Add package dry yeast and 1/2 cup flour. Cover and let set for 5 minutes until yeast begins to bubble.
  5. Meanwhile, add eggs, sugar, melted butter and salt to sweet potato pulp. Stir well.
  6. Add milk/flour/yeast to sweet potato mixture and stir to combine.
  7. Add one cup all-purpose flour and stir to blend. Add an additional cup and mix until a soft dough forms.
  8. Turn out onto a well-floured board. Knead for about 5 minutes until dough is elastic and bubbles form. Add in additional flour as needed scraping dough off hands with a dull knife. (I needed to add 1 additional cup of flour.)
  9. Shape dough into small pieces about the size of a golf ball and place on oiled baking sheet.
  10. Cover with a damp towel and let the bread rise for about 30 minutes to 1 hour until doubled in size.
  11. Remove towel, brush tops of rolls with an beaten egg yolk for a nice color.
  12. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Place bread in oven and bake for about 25 minutes.
  13. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Brush tops with additional butter.
  14. Best served hot.


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