I accepted the challenge of the “Cast-Iron Sweet Potato Cardamom Bread,” from the March/April 2018 issue of Bake From Scratch, because I was able to plot out the workload from a Friday afternoon through a Saturday morning. I won with a brilliant, rewarding, generous bread. Take a look at the recipe:

Cast-Iron Sweet Potato Cardamom Bread
Bake From Scratch,
March/April 2018

Makes 1 (10-inch) loaf

4 1/2 cups bread flour, divided
1/2 cup warm milk (120-130 degrees F)
2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. active dry yeast
3/4 cup sweet potato purée
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 large eggs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. orange zest
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup toasted pecans, chopped

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir together 3/4 cup flour, warm milk, and yeast. Let stand until mixture is foamy, about 5 minutes.

Add sweet potato purée, butter, eggs, sugar, zest, salt, and remaining 3 3/4 cups flour, and beat at low speed until combined. Turn out dough onto a heavily floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, 4 to 5 minutes. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75 degrees F) until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Grease a 10-inch cast-iron skillet.

Turn out dough onto a heavily floured surface, and roll into an 18x10-inch rectangle. Spread Cardamom Filling onto dough and sprinkle pecans on top of filling, leaving a 1-inch border. Starting at one long side, roll up dough, jelly-roll style, pinching seam to seal. Place seam side down. Using a serrated knife, cut roll in half lengthwise. Carefully twist dough pieces around each other, cut sides up, and form into a circle. Place in prepared pan. Wrap pan tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

Uncover, and bring dough to room temperature. Cover, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75 degrees F) for about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Bake for 25 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F, and bake 15 minutes more, covering with foil to prevent excess browning, if necessary. Drizzle bread with Lemon-Vanilla Glaze, Let glaze soak in a bit, and serve warm.

Sweet Potato Purée
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Rub 1 medium sweet potato with grapeseed oil. Prick potato with a fork, and season with salt. Wrap potato in foil. Bake until potato is completely soft, about 45 minutes. Let cool. Peel, and purée in the container of a blender.

Cardamom Filling
Makes about 1 3/4 cups
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cardamom
In a medium bowl, stir together all ingredients. Use immediately.

Lemon-Vanilla Glaze
Makes about 1/2 cup
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 Tbsp. whole milk
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients. Use immediately.

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On a Friday afternoon, I roasted my sweet potato, then cooled, peeled, and mashed it in my food processor.

Take a look at all the butter in this recipe: 1 1/2 sticks in the batter and another 1 1/2 sticks in the Cardamom Filling. Yikes! While roasting my sweet potato, I was able to soften all that butter for its applications. The dough doubled in an hour, pillowy after rising.

Rolling, filling, and twisting the dough asks for a certain amount of skill and artistry. Do the best you can. It’s cute, how the dough gets placed into the cast-iron pan and is refrigerated that way overnight.

OK. Wake up early-ish the next morning to pull that chilled pan out of the fridge (bring it to room-temperature). After that, it can rise again for 30 minutes, while your oven heats to 350 degrees F. Then, bake for 25 minutes. Hooray! I didn’t need foil protection.

What a nice, thick sugar glaze.

The airy bread is sweet, nutty, and tastes of orange. Bake yourself a grand prize with this one.

PREP TIME: Friday afternoon through Saturday morning
TASTE: buttery rich and airy, sweet, nutty, orange

Next time, I’ll return to the savory world, with the “Weeknight Steak and Rice Noodle Salad,” from the March 2018 issue of Bön Appetit. Know that “weeknight” is the new sexy in meal prep.