20 November 2011

The perfect autumn bread

Go on, have a guess. The perfect autumn bread, what could that be?

YESSS! It's pumpkin bread. Now, please don't skip this post. I know, it feels like the billionth pumpkin recipe on this blog but it really is the most perfect autum bread and you will love it. Absolutely delicious. Trust me on this. Please.

And it's pretty, too.

Pumpkin bread
(adapted from Feines Gemuese)

Makes for 1 loaf

250 g/1 cup pumpkin puree
500 g/4 cups all-purpose flour
40 g/0.4 cups pumpkin and sunflower seeds
125 ml/4.5 oz water
20 g fresh yeast 
2 tsp oil (canola or pumpkin seed would be perfect)
1 tsp salt
1 generous pinch nutmeg
In a searing hot pan, toast the seeds. Without any oil, you should know that by now.
Mix the flour, the toasted seeds and the pumpkin puree. Heat the water until lukewarm, dissolve the yeast in it and add the mixture to the dough. Combine, then add the oil, salt and nutmeg, and knead until you have a non-sticky, smooth dough. Add a little more flour or lukewarm water, if necessary.

Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and leave to rise in a warm, non-draughty place until it has almost doubled in volume (about one hour).

Take the dough out of the bowl, form it into a round loaf and place it on a baking tray (greased or covered with baking paper). Flatten the loaf slightly and, using two fingers, make a deep hole in the middle. Cover with a kitchen towel and leave to rise for another hour.

Preheat the oven to 220° C/420° F.

Take a sharp knife and make starlike cuts on the top side of the loaf, then pop it into the oven. After 10 minutes, reduce the temperature to 200° C/390° F. Bake for another 35-45 minutes. If you're not sure whether the bread is done, turn it over and tap the base. If it makes a hollow sound, you're good to go.

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