Silence of the Yams...

Franck's Sweet Potato Bread

"You don't have too cook fancy or complicated masterpeices - just good food from fresh ingredients." Julia Child

Yams are commonly confused with Sweet Potatoes, although they are not that closely related.
The name "Yam" was adopted from "nyami," the African word for the root of the Dioscoreae genus of plants that are considered true Yams.
In Eastern Africa they are called Cilera Abana,''protector of the children'', and they might have been on to something, because like the sweet potato, they are very high in Vitamin A and C.

Other Yam family members are: Cassava which when dried is called Manioc flour and used in making Tapioca, and Arrowroot which comes from a similar tuber.
The Incas ate truck loads of these Yams (Yac√≥n) tubers, and well their civilization is extinct now, so I suppose that didn’t really help them.. Hmm ok. Well for those of us who are still alive, they're really good for you.

Todays vegetable victim is the Sweet potato.
They are rich in Anti-Oxidants which help the body get rid of free radicals. (Free radicals are chemicals that damage cells and cell membranes and are associated with the development of conditions like atherosclerosis, diabetic heart disease, and colon cancer). There are more than 400 varieties of sweet potato with colours ranging from pink to purple, and are freely available over the world.

My friend is currently studying Biotechnology and is in the process of experimenting with Sweet Potatoes for a Tech project. He has a graveyard of them in his room. Once they reach a certain level of putrification ( eEww) he will liquidize them and then serve them up on a Petri dish platter for closer examination. Sweet potatoes are natures homemade carriers for a certain bacteria called: Actinomyces from the genus Streptomyces. Actinomycin D is one of the older drugs used in Chemotherapy.

This recipe given below is from the book “Constantia Uitsig - The Cookbook” So none other than Franck Dangereux’s own work of art, AND its signed by him, as I worked there for my internship as a Chef. What a fabulous man! So creative and talented and full of Joie de Vivre. I remember once overcooking the bread for the entrees at la Colombe, It was edible, and was just a darker brown than usual. I was beside myself as I did not have enough time to make a new dough before the first guests arrived. He looked at the bread, gave it a little poke, and said to me, “its fine, its just a little tanned”.

Franck’s Sweet potato bread
This bread is heavenly, it has the crumb and texture of cake, with a lovely nutty flavoured crust. Like all homemade bread it should be served, hot and fresh from the oven with a generous spread of butter.

Makes a 190g loaf:
250 g sweet potato, peeled and diced
200 ml milk
400 g bread flour
3 ml Salt
10 ml dried (instant) yeast
Cumin/poppy/sesame seeds to garnish

Boil the chopped sweet potato in the milk until soft and mashable (+- 10 minutes).
Leave to cool, it should be the consistency of sloppy mashed potatoes.
Mix the flour, salt and yeast together and add the milk and sweet potato mash (it must be warm, not too hot or you will kill the yeast).
Mix around and knead for 5 minutes. It should be a medium soft dough, but not sticky,
Add more milk or flour to get the right consistency.

Leave to rise: about 40 mins or until it has doubled in size.
Shape into a loaf, and slice 3 slashes into the top.
Leave to rise again, until doubled.
Heat oven to 180◦C, while bread is rising (it will take about 40 to 45 minutes)
Brush with milk, sprinkle on your seeds and then cook for 20 to 30 mins in the oven.

When cooked your bread should be golden brown, have risen well, bounce back when poked and if you knock it on the bottom it should sound hollow.


  1. Ouch... Didn't know you could get so violent with your food!!!

    - Your Biotech friend

  2. At least I dont hack poor defenceless Sweet potatoes to bits for experimentation!

  3. All in the name of yamicide - PS I wouldn't talk, I'm not the one holding the knife to the yam in the picture above. - You serial Yam-killer...

  4. You look so awesome in that pic! I love it!

  5. Thanks, lol. Everyone else seems to think I'm some sort of serial Yam killer/psychopath. I just wanted to show a little bit of my crazy side.

  6. Love the picture La! And the title is so funny =) Tricia

  7. EEEEK. Please note I have changed the amount of yeast from 23ml to 10ml.
    Forgive me major typo there.
    (bad proofreader - you're fired)