What makes things rise? - September 30th


During Week 4 of the Cookshop Kids class we learned about what makes things rise in baking. We talked about baking soda, baking powder, and yeast and how they do their job inside a recipe.

We made two types of bread, and made our own butter! Once again, these recipes used a digital scale which helps not only to measure precise amounts of ingredients, but also keeps clean up to a minium (no need to use a bunch of measuring cups, just the bowl on the scale!).

Sweet Potato Rolls

(adapted from handletheheat.com)


  • 1 medium-large roasted sweet potato (250 grams)*

  • 1 cup (240 ml) room temperature buttermilk or whole milk

  • 4 tablespoons (57 grams) unsalted butter, melted

  • 2 whole eggs, lightly beaten

  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) instant yeast

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine salt

  • 4 3/4 cups (600 grams) bread flour (AP flour will work too)


  1. Combine the buttermilk, butter, eggs, honey, yeast, and sweet potato in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the salt and 2 cups of the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough forms a rough, shaggy mass.

  2. Attach the dough hook to the mixer, turn to medium-low speed, and gradually add in the remaining flour, kneading until a mass of dough begins to forms. Continue kneading on medium-high speed for 4 to 5 minutes until a soft, smooth ball of dough is formed. The dough should feel elastic and slightly tacky to the touch. If the dough is unbearably sticky, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time.

  3. Lightly spray a large clean bowl with cooking spray and place the dough in the bowl. Cover the bowl lightly with plastic wrap. Let rise for about 45 minutes to 1 hour at room temperature or until the dough is big, puffy, and about doubled in size.

Bake the rolls:

  1. Spray a 13×9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Gently deflate the dough. Use a bench scraper, knife, or pizza wheel to divide the dough into 15 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball and place in the prepared pan. Lightly cover the dough a tea towel, (or with plastic wrap) and let the rolls rise for 30 minutes, or until about doubled in size.

  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F.

Bake the rolls for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

*To roast sweet potato: Prick the sweet potato all over with a fork. Place on a microwave-safe plate and microwave at least 4 minutes, turning halfway through, until a knife glides easily through the tender center. Cut in half and let cool before scooping out the flesh and discarding the skin.

Press the flesh through a potato ricer for the best texture. You can also puree in a blender or food processor. Or, mash very well until no lumps are remaining. You should have about 230 grams of sweet potato after removing the skin.

Irish Soda Bread

(From the NY Times, courtesy of Darina Allen, the owner of the Ballymaloe Cookery School)


  • 450 grams all-purpose flour (about 3 1/2 cups)

  • 3 grams fine sea salt (about 1/2 teaspoon)

  • 4 grams baking soda (about 3/4 teaspoon)

  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk, more as needed


  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt and baking soda. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk. Using your hand, mix in the flour from the sides of the bowl. The dough should be soft but not wet and sticky.

  2. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface. Wash and dry your hands. Knead the dough lightly for a few seconds, then pat the dough into a round about 1 1/2 inches thick. Place it on a buttered baking sheet and using a sharp knife, cut a deep cross in the center of the dough reaching out all the way to the sides.

  3. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees, and continue to bake until the top is golden brown and the bottom of the bread sounds hollow when tapped, about 30 minutes longer. Serve warm.