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Karen’s Pumpkin Bread

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Happily, we were given a huge pumpkin by a friend who’d recently been in the outer islands on his yacht. Cary divided the 25-pound beast into five sections and handed four of them off to other yachties to create something pumpkin for what we were to call The Pumpkin Party. I chose to make bread, while the others did fritters, Thai soup, and other goodies (watch this space for their recipes). Follows is my adapted recipe for two loaves.

Ingredients
Three cups white bread flour
Three cups whole wheat flour (Note: I started with four cups in total, but ended up adding two more cups because the pureed pumpkin was quite ‘wet’)
4 teaspoons fast action yeast
4 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons paprika
1 sprig fresh rosemary with leaves chopped (or dry if you don’t have fresh)
2 pounds uncooked pumpkin
Splash of tepid water if your dough is too dry
Olive oil for glazing
Pumpkin seeds and or other seeds to put on glaze (I used chia seeds).

Instructions
1. Chop the seeded-pumpkin into chunks and boil until soft. Let cool and then cut off the skins. Make a puree by mashing manually or by using an immersion blender or food processor.
2. Mix together the flour, yeast, salt, paprika, and rosemary leaves using a food mixer with a dough hook or by hand.
3. Add in the pureed pumpkin and begin to knead the dough until thoroughly mixed (about 10 minutes in a mixer). If the dough is dry then add in a splash of tepid water.
4. Cover the dough with a tea towel and let it rise slowly for between one and a half hours and two hours.
5. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knock it back then shape into round loaves and place them on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Cover with a tea towel and let prove for a further 30 to 60 minutes,
6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and once the oven is at the correct temperature, brush the top of the loaves with olive oil and sprinkle over the seeds.
7. Bake the loaves for 30 to 40 minutes until the crust is firm and the bottom of the loaves sound hollow when you tap on them.
8. Let the loaves cool on a wire rack before eating.

We ate the pumpkin bread as an appetizer with cheddar cheese and then as a side for the Thai pumpkin soup. It got a thumbs up from everyone!

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