This pull-apart sweet potato bread wreath made with baked camembert center makes a stunning holiday appetizer and centerpiece.
I got him at cheese of course. And bread too. Here are my husband’s words about this sweet potato bread wreath: “probably the best recipe you have ever shared on the blog. My favorite one so far!”. And he kept saying that again and over again long after the bread was gone. David doesn’t speak for himself only. We were 8 guests that night, and we managed to finish the 25 sweet rolls ourselves, and the camembert in the center as well, obviously. And that was just the appetizer before… a raclette! I’m not even kidding!
These sweet potato rolls are indeed very addictive. Inspired from an old Amish recipe, the bread rolls are prepared with a sweet potato mash, that brings some extra moistness in texture. The other ingredients are classic to any bread rolls: flour, milk, eggs, a little bit of sugar, and yeast of course. I mean, it’s bread, obviously, and there is no bread without yeast.
I know that using yeast in a recipe can be scaring. The main question is centered around the kneading part inducted by the use of yeast. “Will I need to knead the dough for a long time? Will my bread eventually rise? Will it get rid of this yeast taste?” So many questions we all have had at some point.
Here we have two kind of people: the ones using a stand mixer, and the ones who do everything by hand. I just got myself a new KitchenAid after almost 2 years without, and seriously these sweet rolls appeared like a piece of cake. You almost forget to fully get credit when people compliment you because they are actually far to easy to prepare. Just combine all the ingredients randomly to your stand mixer, run the mixer and low-medium speed, then add the prepared yeast mixture. For the rest, let the stand mixer do the job for you until the dough pulls away from the sides. Easy.
At this point, you will need to let the dough rise for a first time, until double in sized. When ready, divide the dough and shape into 25 equal balls (they should be around 86-90g each, depending on the flour you use). It’s important to make them even so they look great in the wreath. If you want to prepare the rolls without the camembert, you can place them in an oven-proof shallow dish, leaving some space between each ball. If you use it as described on the photos though, place the camembert box in the center of a parchment paper and arrange the rolls all around. Let rise a second time, covered.
Meanwhile, prepare the camembert. There are several ways to proceed, depending on the flavors you are looking for. I kept it simple here with just a little bit of fresh rosemary and garlic slices inserted in the camembert. When your wreath is ready, bake until bread rolls are golden-brown in color (ideally the temperature should be close to 200°F/90°C when tested with a thermometer) and the cheese is melting.
Brush the rolls with the honey-butter mixture straight away from the oven while still warm, drizzle some olive oil or maple syrup over the camembert, add freshly cracked black pepper, cranberries or pomegranate, and enjoy while still warm. The result: super soft, moist, and pillowy sweet potato rolls to dip in the melting camembert. The wreath is generous and makes an impressive effect on your guests. Happy Holidays!
This pull-apart sweet potato bread wreath made with baked Camembert center makes a stunning holiday appetizer and centerpiece.
For the sweet potato rolls:
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) water
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) milk
- 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active-dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon + 1/3 cup (65g) sugar, divided
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
- 6 Tablespoons (85g) butter, melted and cooled
- 2 1/2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced
- 1 cup (250g) mashed sweet potato
- 4 1/2 to 5 cups (540g to 600g) all-purpose flour, depending on moisture of dough
For the baked camembert:
- 1 camembert
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced lengthwise
- 2 fresh rosemary sprigs
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
For the honey butter topping:
- 4 Tablespoons (60g) butter, softened at room temperature
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- Sea Salt
- Additional minced rosemary
For the sweet potato rolls:
- Heat water and milk in the microwave until lukewarm (around 102-110°F / 38-40°C). Dissolve one teaspoon sugar and stir. Pour the yeast into a small bowl, then slowly pour the milk mixture, whisking gently. Set aside to proof for about 5 minutes.
- With a stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook attachment, add in remaining ingredients, and begin to mix until combined. Slowly pour in the yeast mixture, and mix until the ingredients are smooth and dough like. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl, but still sticks to the bottom.
- Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently, until it becomes a smooth, uniform ball. Place into a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until the dough doubles in size.
- Meanwhile, line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and place the camembert box in the center. Using a pencil, draw the contours of the box, then place the camembert back in the refrigerator, at least for now.
- Divide the dough in 5 equal parts, then cut each of them into 5 other equal pieces. In total, you will need 25 balls (10 for the inner circle and 25 for the bigger one). Roll each piece of dough into small balls, and place them seam side down around the parchment paper, previously greased. Cover and let the dough rise for another hour.
For the camembert:
- When dough has risen, remove the cheese from its paper and transfer it to the same wooden box in the center of the sheet.
- Using a paring knife, score the camembert in a crosshatch pattern, then press the garlic slices in the bottom of the cheese. Drizzle olive oil over, stick a few rosemary sprigs among the garlic cloves, and add a pinch if freshly ground black pepper.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the rolls are golden brown on top, and reach 200°F (90°C) when tested with a thermometer.
For the honey butter topping:
- In a small dish, mix together softened butter and honey until smooth.
- Brush tops of baked rolls with mixture, sprinkle sea salt and additional minced rosemary on top. Serve warm.