Most Excellent Sweet Potato Rolls with Miso

Sweet potatoes, maple syrup, and white miso make these rolls unforgettable.
Sweet potatoes, maple syrup, and white miso make these rolls unforgettable.

Imagine warm Parker House-like rolls, as soft and yielding as the plushest down pillow — only made anew with the additions of sweet potatoes, a touch of maple syrup, and white miso.

Yes, miso.

Slightly sweet, subtly briny-salty, sensationally savory, and brazenly buttery, they are everything you want in a roll — plus more.

“Sweet Potato Rolls with Miso” is from “Delectable” (Random House, 2022), of which I received a review copy.

It’s the latest cookbook by renowned Pastry Chef Claudia Fleming, a veteran of New York City’s Union Square Cafe, Montrachet, Tribeca Grill, and Gramercy Tavern, as well as Fauchon in Paris. It was written in collaboration with Catherine Young, a former Saveur editor, who has cooked at New York restaurants, including Tribeca Grill, where she and Fleming met.

Fleming is a pastry chef’s pastry chef, revered by those in the industry, but also beloved by home bakers for her straightforward, thoughtful, and do-able recipes.

This cookbook couldn’t have a better title, because this collection of recipes truly tempts. What’s more, they were all developed in Fleming’s own small home kitchen, giving you added confidence that you can pull them off, too, no matter what your setup.

Get hungry for everything from “Blackberry Shortcake,” “Prosciutto Bread,” and “Fennel Tea Cake with Pernod Whipped Cream” to “Almond and Walnut Brownies,” “Ricotta Tart with Roasted Cherries,” and “Tomato Crostata.”

For these rolls, you can use whatever sweet potato you prefer. I went with Japanese sweet potatoes, which have a white flesh that cooks up especially fluffy.

The diced sweet potato gets simmered in just enough milk to barely coat the bottom of the pot. Once tender, the sweet potato gets mashed right in the pot with the milk, and a bit of butter and sugar added in.

The rolls get proofed for a second time.
The rolls get proofed for a second time.

The sweet potato mixture then gets added into the yeasted dough and left to proof until doubled in size. Then, it’s divided into eight balls that get arranged inside a round cake pan, before undergoing a second proof.

After sliding the rolls into a hot oven, make an easy glaze by stirring together maple syrup, melted butter, and a little more miso.

Remove the rolls from the oven and brush liberally with the glaze while they are still hot.

They have the texture of Parker House rolls -- but a flavor far more distinctive.
They have the texture of Parker House rolls — but a flavor far more distinctive.

These rolls may have “sweet” in their name, but they are decidedly meant for dinner, not dessert. The sweet potato adds moistness, fluffiness, and naturally tempered sweetness.

The miso is subtle. It’s in no way reminiscent of full-on miso soup. Rather, the miso amplifies the taste of the sweet potatoes. It also creates that perfect sweet-salty flavor combination like that of irresistible salted caramel popcorn. And just how can one ever go wrong with that?

Golden-bronzed, and oh-so buttery.
Golden-bronzed, and oh-so buttery.

Sweet Potato Rolls with Miso

(Makes 6 to 8 rolls)

For the rolls:

1 small sweet potato (about 170 grams/ 6 ounces), peeled and diced

1/3 cup milk

30 grams unsalted butter (1 ounce), room temperature, plus extra for greasing

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon white miso

8 grams sugar (0.3 ounce/about 2 teaspoons)

2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

1 large egg

324 grams bread flour (11.4 ounces/about 2 1/4 cups)

For the glaze:

1 tablespoon maple syrup

14 grams unsalted butter (0.5 ounce), melted

1/2 teaspoon white miso

To start the rolls, combine the diced sweet potato and milk in a small saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low to medium-low, cover the pan, and simmer until the potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes. Add 30 grams (1 ounce) room-temperature butter and 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon miso to the sweet potatoes and, using a potato masher or fork, mash them until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the sugar, then set the mash aside to cool.

In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in 2 tablespoons warm water. Set the yeast aside until it activates and becomes creamy, about 10 minutes. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the mashed potatoes, yeast, and egg. Using the paddle attachment, mix until combined, then add the flour and mix until the dough comes together. Switch to the dough hook and knead the dough until it is homogeneous, about 8 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it until the dough comes together and is smooth and elastic. Put the dough in a greased bowl, turn it over to coat, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside to rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

Grease an 8-inch round cake pan. Punch the dough down, folding it in on itself and pressing out all the air, then divide it into 8 equal-size pieces. Working a piece at a time, flatten the dough in the palm of your hand and, with your fingertips, pinch the sides into the middle a bit at a time to form a taut ball. Set the dough ball seam-side down on a clean, unfloured work surface. Roll the ball with your lightly floured palm against the work surface, using friction to help you make it neat and tight. Continue with the remaining dough. Fit the rolls into the prepared cake pan, cover the pan loosely with greased plastic wrap, and set the rolls aside to proof until almost doubled, about 50 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove the plastic and bake the rolls for 10 minutes, then rotate the pan front to back and continue baking until the rolls are evenly browned, 10 to 15 minutes more.

Meanwhile, make the glaze. Mix the maple syrup with the melted butter and 1/2 teaspoon miso in a small bowl. Brush the hot rolls with the glaze. Serve the rolls warm or at room temperature.

From “Delectable” by Claudia Fleming

Another Claudia Fleming Recipe to Enjoy: Chestnut (Or Sage)-Honey Madeleines

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