- 1 head garlic
- 1 medium sweet potato, washed
- 1 kg cake flour
- 10 g instant dry yeast
- 40 g brown sugar
- 2 t salt
- 10 g fresh thyme, finely chopped
- 3 T vegetable oil
- approximately 3 cups warm water
- 250 g butter, softened
1. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Place the garlic and the sweet potato in the oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until the sweet potato is soft and cooked through and the garlic is fragrant. Set aside until ready to use.
2. Combine all the dry ingredients. Pour in the vegetable oil and work it into the dry mixture with your fingers. Squeeze the roasted garlic into the dough. Make a well in the centre of the mixture and gradually add the water, a little at a time, mixing through with your fingers until a soft, wet dough is formed. Add a few sprinkles of flour while working the dough until it is still soft but firm. Knead the dough in the bowl for about five minutes, then cover with clingwrap or a tea towel and allow it to double in size.
3. Knock down the dough and place into a greased loaf tin, or simply twist the dough on opposite ends. Bake for 30–35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Ensure the bread has cooled before slicing.
4. To make the sweet potato butter, peel the roasted sweet potato and place in a bowl with the softened butter. Using an electric hand mixer or a whisk, whisk together until light and airy. Sprinkle with salt before serving.
Cook's note: Xhosa people are full of pride, so we struggle to admit when we are battling to put food on the table. When we couldn’t afford a loaf of bread, we would bake it. This recipe is the one that most young girls in the township had to learn to make, and the bread I bake today is based on the one I learned from my mom when I was 11.
Photograph: Toby Murphy