Sunday, 4 December 2016

Sweet Potato Cho-Cho Bread

I have named this quick bread, using Jamaican Patois terminology. That is not to say it is something “Jamaican”. The Sweet Potato is used in Jamaica mainly in soups, but also to make Sweet Potato Pudding. The Cho-Cho or Chaoyte squash is used in soups, steamed as a vegetable, or pickled to make “Escoveitched Fish”, a very Jamaican way of preserving fried fish. This was very important in the days before refrigeration and probably came from the European method for pickling fish in order to preserve it. In any event, neither the sweet potato or Cho-Cho is used in Jamaica to make bread. I thought it would be interesting therefore to try using these two Caribbean staples to make something different. As inspiration, I drew on the sweet potato and zucchini bread made in the US. Both the Boniato and Cho-Cho are not exactly like the American Sweet Potato or Zucchini. They differ in starch and water content! My recipe therefore is unique, and based on experience gained by making other quick breads on this site.  This bread is very moist, dense, and with a thick crust. A slice will really "fill U Belly!"  It’s delicious with a thick spread of sweet cream butter, or jelly of your choice. As I said, it is very moist, and if you can wait a day before slicing, it gets even more moist and flavorful!

2 cups bread flour
1/3 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tablespoon honey OR Maple Syrup OR Golden Syrup
1 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup dried fruit of your choice (small, dark currants or raisins. Dried mango etc. I used dried mango because that’s what I had available)
¼ cup hot water
1 1/2 cups grated chayote (cho-cho)
1½ cups grated sweet potato (not the American variety but the Latin American and Caribbean type called “Boniato,” peel before grating)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Juice and zest from 1 Lemon or Lime
3 eggs
½ cup vegetable oil
1.      Preheat oven to 350°F.
2.      Grease a 9" × 5" × 3" baking pan with butter. Line the bottom with parchment paper, and then flour the sides of the pan.
3.      Soak the dried fruit in the hot water and set aside
4.      Grate the chayote and the sweet potato using the fine holes on your grater. Mix together in a small bowl with the molasses, honey, lemon/lime juice and zest (the juice from the citrus will help stop the potato from discoloring). Add the soaked dried fruit to this mixture.
5.      Combine the flour, oatmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.
6.      Beat the eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla until pale in color.
7.      Stir in the grated chayote and sweet potato mixture.
8.      Add the dry ingredients all at once and mix all together quickly. It doesn’t matter if the batter is slightly lumpy, just don’t overmix it. This is the stage that starts the reaction between the acid in the lemon/lime juice and the baking soda that causes the bread mixture to bubble and make it light. You do not want to waste time mixing at this stage or the bread will be too hard.
9.      Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 1 hour and 50 minutes or until a cake tester or skewer inserted into the center comes out clean (this time may vary depending on the efficiency of your oven). Decrease the temperature to 325 degrees Fahrenheit during the last 15-20 minutes if the bread appears to be browning too much. As it is baking, you may notice the batter bubbling a bit, almost like a pudding. When the bread is done, turn off the oven and leave the bread in for another 15 minutes. 
Remove from oven and cool on a rack for 10 minutes before turning out on to a cooling rack.

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