Today I’m showing you a quick way to shape a bread loaf with a fancy spiral pattern. I’ve perfected it four times just to get the color and effect right. Believe it or not, the shaping process is no different than a regular shaping process that requires two rollings as found in my older blog post, Basic White Bread Pain de Mie (Tangzhong Method). If you have done that before you will be very familiar with such shaping process. The only difference is that you will need to stack up two sheets of dough before the first rolling. With that said, it is super important to align the logs the proper way. Typically the logs are placed horizontally into the pan. This time the logs must be placed vertically to reveal the spirals. Don’t worry if that sounds confusing as I will walk you through and tell you my tips and tricks below. At the end of the post, I will show you some problems that I have stumbled on. Hopefully by seeing my pictures you will be reminded and won’t make the same boo boos like I did.
For a marbled effect, follow the way in Chocolate Twist Pain de Mie (Tangzhong Method) and shape by rolling the sheets of dough into a log, dividing into sections and then twisting them together. If you are interested in making steamed buns, feel free to visit my older blog post, Purple Sweet Potato Swirl Steamed Buns (Mantou). Please note that my North American brand loaf pan has the size of 9”x4″x4″, which is slightly bigger in capacity than the Asian brand 450g-toast box. Please multiply my entire recipe by 0.9 in order to adjust to a 450-g toast box.
Purple Sweet Potato Spiral Bread (Sponge Method)
For 9”x4”x4” Pullman loaf pan
For the Sponge
210 g bread flour
3 g instant yeast (I use SAF gold instant yeast)
130 g water
For the Final Dough
30 g bread flour
60 g all purpose or cake flour
60 g whipping cream
5 to 15 g water (reserve some to be added later)
12 g granulated sugar (I used organic cane sugar)
18 g honey
4.5 g salt
21 g unsalted butter, softened
For Use in the Purple Sweet Potato Dough
23 g purple sweet potato powder
27 g water
For the Sponge 中種
Add flour and yeast into the mixing bowl and stir well. Add water and mix with the stand mixer with the dough hook on for about 3 to 4 minutes until a shaggy dough is formed. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 1 hour then refrigerate for 12 to 18 hours.
***For same-day use, let dough rise at room temperature until tripled in size, around 3 hours.
For the Final Dough 主麵糰
Remove the sponge from the fridge. In the bowl of the stand mixer with the dough hook attached, combine the sponge and all ingredients of the main dough except the butter. Mix with low speed until the dough comes together. Raise speed to medium-low and knead until the dough forms a thick membrane when stretched. Add in softened butter and continue kneading with low speed until all the butter is incorporated. Raise speed to medium and beat for 1 to 2 minutes until the dough is somewhat smooth.
Weigh the dough and divide into two pieces with one piece weighing 50 g more than the other. Cover the smaller dough with plastic wrap. Set aside.
To make the plain dough, place the heavier dough back to the mixer and continue kneading with medium speed until the dough is smooth and elastic while adding more water as needed. The dough would be able to form a thin and translucent membrane when stretched. Take that out and cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
***Monitor the final dough temperature to below 26℃ for the best result. If necessary, wrap the mixing bowl with a cold damp towel to lower the temperature and use cool or even cold liquid ingredients in the summer.
For the purple dough, moisten purple sweet potato powder with water in a small bowl (the mixture may be lumpy). Knead mixture into the smaller dough by hand while adding more water if needed until the purple sweet potato mixture is evenly distributed throughout the dough and the dough is smooth.
Divide each of the plain and purple dough evenly into three equal portions. Shape each into a ball. Cover and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Gently pat a plain dough ball to flatten. If the dough sticks to the mat or your hands then dust the mat and dough surface with a bit of flour. With a rolling pin and starting from the middle, roll dough into a long oval. Flip it so the smooth side is facing down and shape into a 4” x 10” rectangular sheet. Repeat with a purple dough. Stack the purple dough sheet over the plain one and press lightly so they stick together. If air bubbles appear on the edge or in between the layers, use a toothpick to pop them. Beginning from the farther end, roll up the dough evenly towards you into a log and place it seam side down on the dough mat. Repeat with the rest of the dough balls. Turn logs 90° clockwise such that the spiral is facing you, ensuring the directions of the spiral are all the same. Cover logs with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
取一份原味麵糰先用手拍扁，若麵糰黏手可洒點粉在墊上和麵糰表面，用擀麵棍從中央開始上下擀開成長橢圓形後翻面使滑面朝下，再整理成4” x 10”的長方片， 取一份紫色麵糰也同樣作，把紫色麵片疊在原色麵片上，輕按幾下使兩者黏合，若兩邊或麵片之間有氣泡可用牙籤刺破，將麵片由外往自己的方向捲起成圓條，收口朝下放在揉面墊上，繼續完成餘下的麵糰後順時針轉90度角放好，所有漩渦轉向要一致，用保鮮紙蓋好鬆弛10至15分鐘。
Working with the first log that has been shaped, gently pat the log to flatten then roll it into a strip with the width no longer than 1/3 the interior length of the bread pan. With the smooth side facing down, roll the strip again into a log. For a better looking center, trim off the top uneven section of the strip before rolling. Only the top part needs to be trimmed though, the ends don’t matter that much. Repeat the rolling process with the remaining logs.
Arrange the logs in a straight line with the spiral facing the same direction, transfer them into the pullman loaf pan with seam side down. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place like a microwave or an oven. Place a cup of hot water inside to add humidity and, with temperature maintained roughly at 86-95℉/30-35℃ and a humidity of 70-80%, let rise until the dough fills up about 80% of the pan, about 1.5 hours.
***the logs must be lined up vertically in order for the spirals to be seen after slicing.
***pay attention to the dough size instead of time while determining if the bread is ready to bake
Preheat oven to 325℉/165℃ at least 10 minutes prior to baking. Remove plastic wrap, slide on the lid and bake for 37 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and tap it on the countertop to release hot air. Take off the lid carefully and wiggle the pan several times to loosen the edges. Immediately transfer the bread to a cooling rack to cool completely before slicing.
***Baking time is for reference only. Bread is done when the crust is lightly golden brown with an internal temperature of at least 190 to 195℉ (88 to 90℃) on an instant-read thermometer.
I was too used to the process and lined up the logs horizontally by accident and the pattern was completely different after slicing.
The sheet of dough that goes on the bottom during the first rolling determines the surface color of the loaf. I wasn’t paying attention and randomly stacked them up and I ended up with a purple loaf.
The central spiral will look uneven like the following picture if the top edge is not trimmed off during the second rolling.