I finally managed to work on this pumpkin bread after a long break from bread making. Since I missed the kneading so much, I made this loaf all by hand, although the bread can be easily done entirely by the bread machine (if you omit the pumpkin seeds and egg glaze). I was attracted to this recipe when I came across the illustration of this golden round loaf in the book, Bread, Baking by Hand or Bread Machine. My replica is way too far from the original photo, as the top was almost burnt! Even though I had placed the oven rack to a lower position, the bread rose high and mighty and almost hit the heating elements that are located at the top of my small oven. Luckily, I managed to spot the slightly burnt smell, and quickly "tent" the top of the loaf with a sheet of aluminium foil.
After downloading the photos, I thought I saw "two eyes" and a "wide smile" staring back at me. Can you spot it? If not, what about this smaller one:
I find this so hilarious!! That's one of the joys of baking, isn't it?! You never know what you get until the entire thing is done!
I was expecting something dense, moist and sweet, but surprisingly, the bread was soft, light and even fluffy...and it was not sweet, it tasted almost like a plain loaf of soft white bread. There's no trace of the pumpkin at all, if not for the deep yellow hue, you wouldn't know it's made with mashed pumpkin! Nevertheless, I like the texture of the bread and the slightly crisp crust and the pumpkin seeds were very fragrant. The bread tasted good lightly toasted and buttered. I must say it's a great healthy choice of bread for breakfast :)
500g pumpkin, after peeled, seeded and cut into pieces
you are left with about 300g(alternatively, use 300g canned pumpkin puree)
60ml cooking liquid reserved from cooking the pumpkin or use water if using canned pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons of runny honey
500g bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast
egg glaze (beat together 1 egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of milk)
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, to decorate
- Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the pumpkin flesh and simmer until soft and cooked through, about 20 mins. Drain the pumpkin and reserve the cooking liquid.
- Mash the pumpkin thoroughly, and sieve, or puree in a food processor or blender, about 2 mins. (I didn't sieve or puree the pumpkin as it was already very soft and fine.) Leave the pumpkin puree and the reserved cooking liquid to cool.
- Add honey to 60ml of the cooking liquid and stir to dissolve.
- Mix flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add in the instant yeast and mix well. Make a well in the centre and add in the honey liquid, followed by the pumpkin puree.
- Mix in the flour to form a firm, coarse, sticky dough. If the mixture is too dry, gradually add one or two tablespoons of the pumpkin liquid (or water). (I added extra two tablespoons of liquid).
- Turn the dough out on a lightly floured work surface. Knead until very smooth, silky and elastic, about 10 mins. (I didn't stop until almost close to 20mins of kneading!)
- Place dough in large clean bowl and cover with a tea towel or cling wrap. Leave to rise until double in size, about 1 to 1.5hrs. Knock back the dough to release the air, then leave it to rest for 10mins, covered.
- Shape dough into a round loaf. Place on an oiled baking sheet and cover with a tea towel. (I used a round 20cm baking pan instead). Prove until double in size, about 1 hour.
- Brush the dough with egg glaze and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.
- Bake in pre-heated oven at 220 deg C (I set mine to 200 deg C) and bake for 40mins until golden-coloured and hollow-sounding when tapped underneath. Leave to cool completely before slicing.
Source: adapted from Bread, Baking by Hand or Bread Machine by Eric Treuille & Ursula Ferrigno