Pumpkin Bread (Savoury)
I love baking with yeast. It’s so organic. It’s literally alive. I prefer it for rituals and celebrations. I like how difficult, how much personality can seem to be infused, batch to batch, bread to bread! I do use fast acting easy yeast, BUT I also like to give them a little more love, a little more time than most yeast instructions say. There are really two part to this bread. One is the cultivation of the yeast, the backbone of the bread and the other is forming it into a loaf. You can, I suppose, use your bread maker but I think it misses the point. There will be a moment when making bread where it looks wrong and too sticky and difficult and you just have to keep going!
Starter or Sponge
2 heaped tbsp. rye flour
1 heaped tbsp. white bread flour
3 heaped tbsp. (1/2 a can) pumpkin puree
1 packet fast-acting yeast
½ a cup very hot water
In a good heavy ceramic bowl mix your flour and bread with the very hot water and mix vigorously with a whisk. Add your pumpkin and beat into this soupy mixture.
This should cool it enough to be safe for your yeast.
Add and whisk for a good 3 three minutes. You are releasing the gluten from the flour, it’s important because rye flour has less to do this a lot.
Cover the bowl with a plate and damp tea-towel and leave in a warm draft free place to rise. Check it every 10 or so minutes and if it is bubbling like a witches cauldron about to burst over the side mix with a spatula or spoon until roughly the size you began with.
I left mine for about 40 minutes checking it periodically to keep what we now call Sir Breaderick in the bowl.
THE BIRTH OF SIR BREADERICK
2 ½ tbs oil
2/3 cup of rye flour
1 ½ cups of white bread flour
2 tsp salt (one reserved for the top)
1 tbsp. pumpkin seeds for topping
Reserving the topping of salt and pumpkin seeds mix the flour and salt together in a very large heavy bowl. Add the oil to you pumpkin and yeast mix incorporating thoroughly. Add the wet to the dry mixing with a spoon (or a mixer with dough hook) and either oiling or flouring your hands when you knead against a floured board.
With rye flour will make this dough tough and sticky but knead it as best you can for at least 10 minutes. Then cover and let rest for about 30 to 40 minutes. Knock back and knead again lightly shaping the loaf. Dusting your baking container or tray with cornmeal and flour and place your dough on it. Wash your hands and with one wet hand smooth the surface of your bread. Wash and dry hands and add you sea salt and pumpkin seeds to the top. Cover as best you can and proof again while your oven gets up to temperature.
THE DEATH OF SIR BREADERICK
You can leave to proof again while your oven is getting up to temperature about 180C in a fan-oven. As I made mine a large round I cooked it for 25-30 minutes but a thicker loaf will take longer. The bread is cooked when the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.