I have been meaning to make this bread for a long time. I was prompted to do it this week after researching cracker recipes for my live online demo for my membership. One of the cracker recipes contained a healthy amount of freshly ground black pepper and they tasted great. They reminded me that I wanted to try freshly ground black pepper in a loaf.
The result is zingy and hot. You experience lots of little explosions in your mouth as you bite into the tiny lumps of fiery-hot peppercorns. It’s a great bread for those that love a spicy kick to their food. We enjoyed it with a pasta bean bake and again with marmalade for this morning’s breakfast.
You can add the peppercorns to any bread recipe that happens to be your favourite – white, wholemeal, focaccia etc. I used 10g for 500g of flour and this gives the loaf a good dose of heat. I also ground them in a pestle and mortar to get an uneven grind. That way the very finely ground pepper mixes well with the flour and you have the occasional bite of a larger piece, like the one in the photo below.
500g wholemeal flour 5g easy bake/ instant/ fast action yeast or 15g fresh yeast 5-10g fine sea salt 5-10g freshly ground black pepper between 380-420g water
Place the flour, yeast, pepper and salt in a bowl and mix through. Pour in 340g water and start to mix. You will need more water. As the dough starts to come together splash in small amounts of water and mix until the dough has a soft, slightly sticky consistency and there are no dry bits. Keep on squeezing the dough for another minute or so to make sure the flour is fully hydrated.
Cover with a proving cloth or shower cap and leave to rest for at least 10 minutes, up to an hour. Uncover and do the first round of stretch and fold. Leave to rest again for at least ten minutes. Do a second round of stretch and fold.
Cover and leave to ferment for at least an hour to get light and filled with air. You could put it in the fridge overnight at this stage.
When airy and light, shape and leave to ferment again. You could place it in the fridge for several hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 220C, 425F, gas mark 7. When the loaf is fully proofed (see video) bake for 30-40 minutes depending on your oven. Check that it is fully baked by placing an internal thermometer in the centre of the loaf. It should read at least 88C for the loaf to be fully baked. The loaf should be golden all over and feel light.
Leave to cool on a wire rack for at least an hour before slicing.
The video below shows you how to make a wholemeal loaf.
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Long time readers will know that this blog is a bit of a neglected spot because I run a cookery school teaching people how to make bread.
So, if you have ever felt frustrated with your lack of success with making bread then let me help you. I can also reassure you that I was once exactly the same. When I first tried to make bread I was hopeless at it. In fact, that is recorded in one of my first blog posts that I shared on here. You can read all about my first attempts at making a reasonable loaf here. I wrote then that I thought practice helped and I can confirm that it definitely does. If you had told me back then that I would have started to teach other people to make bread in 2015 setting up my own cookery school I would have looked at you as if you were a fool. It’s funny how life turns out.
If you would like to banish your own fears about bread making then taking my online masterclass will do exactly that. It takes you through the bread making process step by step and because it is pre-recorded videos, text based lessons and a workbook you do at your own pace and in the comfort of your own home. You can refresh your memory by going back and revisiting it as often as you like.
Here are a few of my videos from YouTube to get you started.
I hope these help you to start to conquer your bread fears.
Hands down my most popular recipe is for Shropshire Butter Buns and for very good reason. A butter bun is a fine, fine thing. A sweet dough filled with buttery goodness and with a delicious sticky toffee bottom. Back in 2015 when I posted the original recipe it was one that I had cobbled together from memories and snippets on the internet and it’s a recipe that I am pretty pleased with.
I teach people how to make butter buns on my sweet dough course and either they swoon immediately or look at me with an impassive face as they have yet to experience one. Once they have experienced one though I haven’t known anyone fail to be impressed.
Last week, Edward Aston contacted me. Edward had been an apprentice baker some seventy years ago at a bakery in a local town just a few miles away from here at Tom Wedge’s bakery. Edward tells me that Tom Wedge was the son-in-law of Mr Rhodes of Rhodes Bakery in Market Drayton where the recipe for the butter bun originated. Being keen to pass the recipe on Edward has very kindly sent me the recipe that he still bakes regularly for his children and grandchildren.
So here is what Edward wrote to me:
“I have just read your piece on Shropshire butter buns and thoroughly enjoyed it. The café you refer to in Shrewsbury would be Sidolis if memory serves me well. I believe the original recipe came from Market Drayton, Rhodes bakery I believe but sadly no longer trading. Some seventy years ago I was an apprentice baker to the son in law of Mr Rhodes a brilliant baker named Tom Wedge who had his own bakery in Broseley, Shropshire. That bakery is also sadly no longer trading and none of his family is involved in the trade. In view of this I now feel that it is time to make sure his original recipe should be preserved and I can think of no one better to share it with. Your dough and method are absolutely fine but the filling and construction is not authentic. So here goes for what it is worth. For the filling use equal weights of butter and light soft brown sugar. Beat them together until light and very fluffy now add about 20% of the butter sugar mixture total weight of lemon curd and beat well again. You should now have a cream like spreadable mixture. Now to construct the buns, place the dough circle flat and spread the mixture thinly on half of the circle, fold to make a half circle and then spread half of that and fold again to make a quarter circle. To bake place the buns in groups of four to form a circle on the baking tray. This was the traditional way of selling butter buns, in rings of four. I hope this is of use to you and will help to keep this beautiful confection alive. I like you am a great fan of the butter bun.”
How wonderful is that? I was so pleased and felt very honoured to have received such an email. I have spent a very happy morning today filming myself making the buns so that you can all see how I have translated Edward’s note to me and hopefully make the authentic Shropshire Butter Bun for yourself. I agree very much with Edward that we should keep the butter bun alive.
If you would like to watch the video of me making these beauties you can do on my YouTube channel.
For the dough: 300g strong white flour (bread flour) 250g plain white flour 10g fine salt 7g easy bake yeast (instant yeast) or 10g fresh yeast (the fresh yeast can be dissolved in a little of the warm water that you will be using for the recipe) 50g caster sugar 150ml milk 150ml warm water 50g butter 1 egg
For the filling: 150g unsalted softened butter 150g light soft brown sugar 60g lemon curd
For the glaze: 50g caster or granulated sugar 50g water
Warm the milk and the butter together in a pan over a gentle heat. Yeast dies at 55C so you don’t want the water to get too hot.
Place the flours, sugar, salt and yeast in a large bowl. Keep the salt and yeast separate as salt can kill yeast. If you are using fresh yeast dissolve in a small amount of the water that you are using for the recipe before adding it to the flour.
Add the egg, warm milk and warm water and mix well. You can now use a stand mixer to mix the dough, knead for 10 minutes or use the stretch and fold method to develop the gluten in the dough. Leave the dough to ferment until it has become light and airy and has doubled in size. This can be at room temperature and take 1-2 hours or in the fridge overnight.
Meanwhile make the filling. Beat the sugar and butter together until soft and fluffy. Add the lemon curd and mix to combine. Set aside.
Make the glaze by placing the sugar and water in a small pan over a gentle heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and then simmer for a couple of minutes.
When the dough has become light and airy turn it out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough into 8 large pieces or 12 smaller pieces. I like the bigger bun but you might prefer the smaller size.
Roll each piece into a circle. Place a teaspoon of the filling not each circle. Fold the circle over and seal the edges. Place another teaspoon of filling onto the half moon shapes and fold in half again so that you now have a triangular shape.
Place four of the triangles onto a baking tray (you can use baking parchment on the tray to save the washing up effort) to make a circle and repeat with the remaining triangles.
Leave in a warm place to prove or place in the fridge for several hours or overnight.
When the buns have risen by about half preheat the oven to 200C, gas mark 6, 400F or use the roasting oven of the Aga and bake for 20-25 minutes. depending on your oven.
As soon as they come out of the oven brush them with the simple syrup glaze generously and leave them on the tray for 10 minutes to soak up any excess butter and allow the treacly toffee to stick to the bun. Finish cooling on a wire rack and eat the toffee bits stuck to the tray as a cook’s bonus.
Try both this recipe and my version and let me know which one you prefer or which one brings back happy memories of enjoying butter buns.
Edit: Edward has been in touch to give additional information “Just two small points I would like to offer to make things easier. First, after making the dough balls cover them with a cloth and give them about 10 minutes bench rest. This will make them easier to roll and prevent pull back. The second is the glaze which is improved by the addition of a spoonful of golden syrup which makes the glaze more viscous and offers better coverage with less risk of the glaze being absorbed. Finally a sprinkle of caster sugar used to be added for presentation.”
This was originally posted on my website Veg Patch Kitchen Cookery School.
This oat and honey bread is our eldest’s favourite loaf. It has a denser texture due to the oats, with a delicious sweetness with the honey. It makes lovely toast and is great with soup.
350g strong (aka bread) white flour 100g wholemeal bread flour 50g porridge oats or jumbo oats 5g easy bake (aka instant yeast)yeast or 1 sachet or 15g fresh yeast 5-10g fine sea salt 20g – 40g honey (depending on taste) Approx 320-370g water
Place the flours and oats in a large bowl. Add the yeast or crumble in the fresh yeast, mix through the flour. Add the salt and mix through. Add the honey.
Add 320g water, you will need more but start with this amount and then splash in more as needed as you are mixing. Using a clawed hand mix the dough. There should be no dry bits and the dough should feel on the sticky side. The bran in the wholemeal and the oats will continue to absorb more water as the dough rests, so this loaf is better made on the stickier side. Cover the bowl with a large inflated bag/ shower cap or proving cloth and leave to rest for a minimum of 10 minutes, up to an hour if you are busy. Then do stretch and folds as shown in this video or knead your dough to develop the gluten.
Allow the dough to ferment, either at room temperature for 1-2 hours or in the fridge for several hours or overnight until the dough is light and airy and has doubled in size.
Shape the dough as you prefer and allow to rise again. This can happen either in the fridge or at room temperature. It will prove in as little as 30 minutes in a warm room, will take up to 2 hours in a cool room or several hours in a fridge. You want the dough to become airy but not double in size. Here is a video to show you what you are looking for in a fully proved loaf.
Preheat the oven to 220C, gas mark 7, 425F. Place a solid sheet in the oven to place the loaf onto. If you are using a dutch oven preheat it in the oven at the same time.
Unless your loaf is in a tin you will need to score it with a sharp knife so that it bursts in the oven at this slash rather than the weakest point.
When the oven is ready and the loaf is ready place on the preheated solid shelf and steam the oven. You can steam the oven by spraying with a plant mister (avoid the glass door and light) or by placing a cup of hot water in a roasting tray in the bottom of the oven (be careful not to burn yourself). Bake for 30-35 minutes until fully baked. It will look evenly golden, sound hollow when knocked on the bottom and will show 90C on a thermometer probe.
Allow to cool thoroughly on a wire rack. Enjoy.
You can learn all about making bread and transform from a novice to a confident bread baker with my online masterclass Bread Made Easy.
I have already published this on my blog at Veg Patch Kitchen, but I wanted to make sure I shared it here too as it is too good not to. This recipe was inspired by James Morton from his book Brilliant Bread, now of my favourite books on the subject (you can read about my other favourites here) and is a bread that people can choose to make on my full-day Bread Basics course. Obviously, the very idea of Marmite bread makes some people shudder with horror. If this includes you I urge you to try it at least once, you can reduce the Marmite to 30g for a more subtle flavour that just lends a delicious savoury edge to your loaf which is wonderful with soups and stews and then for an extra bonus it makes wonderful toast, that you can spread with extra Marmite.
Note of caution though – Marmite is salty so reduce the salt that you would normally add otherwise the loaf will be too salty. Also, don’t do what I did once and overdo it on the marmite front. I got cocky in a class one day and added two spoonfuls instead of my usual one spoonful and whilst everyone else’s loaves rose beautifully mine remained as flat as a pancake. The saltiness of the Marmite will kill the yeast if you go overboard. Lesson, well and truly learned.
500g strong white flour or you could replace 100g with 100g wholemeal or 50g rye & 50g wholemeal 5g easy bake/ instant yeast or 15g fresh yeast (remember that you can reduce the yeast and allow the bread to rise longer) 5g fine salt 40g Marmite 340-380g water (depending on flour choice)
Place the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl and mix together. Weigh the Marmite out in a jug and pour over 100g hot water and stir to dissolve. Allow to cool a little and then add to the flour. Add another 200g of warm or cool water (if you use cool water your dough will take longer to prove which improves the texture and flavour). Start to mix, adding splashes of water in until you get a dough that is soft and slightly sticky. Make sure that there are no dry bits in your dough. Leave to rest for at least ten minutes or up to an hour depending on how your day is going.
Cover well and leave to prove until airy, remember it will take longer for it to prove if you used less yeast or cooler water. You can also pop it in the fridge at this point for several hours or overnight if that fits better into your day.
Shape your dough. I show you how to shape for a loaf tin or as a batard/ bloomer in this video.
Cover with clingfilm or similar, remember to oil it well so it doesn’t stick to the loaf and deflate it. Allow to prove, again this can happen overnight in the fridge if it suits you.
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees centigrade, gas mark 7 or use the floor of the roasting oven of the Aga. Steam the oven well as you put your loaf in, I like to use a plant mister to do this, spraying several times (avoiding the glass door and light). Bake for 30 minutes, check that it is baked by tapping on the bottom, it should sound hollow or insert a temperature probe and check that it reaches 90 degrees centigrade. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack and I promise you will love it even if you hate Marmite.
Regular readers will know that the other hat I wear that’s not The Ordinary Cook one is my Veg Patch Kitchen Cookery School hat. I teach people how to make bread in my lovely little kitchen we built in an outbuilding in our garden. Of course, my classes came to a grinding halt on 20th March this year and, because the kitchen is small, social distancing will not be easy. The school will reopen as soon as it is safe to do so, but this has meant that I have had to think of different ways to help people with their bread making in the meantime. I created a YouTube channel three years ago with the intention of filming bread making videos but a combination of lack of time and huge fear of committing myself to camera meant that I successfully put it off, until now. I have finally forced myself to learn the technical skills of filming and editing and, more importantly, gritted my teeth to commit my face and voice to camera. I uploaded the first two videos this week. It took many hours of listening to my own voice before I was happy with the editing!
The first video shows you how to mix and develop a basic white dough using the stretch and fold method. This is the method we use in all of my classes because it makes bread making so wonderfully easy and you can make it fit into your routine really easily. The second video shows you how to shape, slash and bake your loaf and how to check that it is baked properly. If you have a spare 20 minutes (each video is about 10 minutes), make yourself a cup of tea and have a watch. I hope they inspire you to give bread making a go or if you already make your own bread I hope it will provide you with a few new tips. More videos will be coming soon.
Now that the wild garlic season is in full swing we have been having this bread quite a bit. It is very garlicky and buttery, with each ball of dough filled with garlic butter. If you are looking for something less buttery then have a look at my other wild garlic loaf which just makes use of the garlic leaves in the dough.
We have a lot of wild garlic in our garden and the surrounding area. It is fairly easy to identify and the smell of garlic gives it away but if you are unsure what you are looking for check out the Woodland Trust’s page to make sure you know what you are picking.
These loaves are destined for today’s local community lunch along with a seeded spelt and a white loaf for those that prefer their breath not tainted by garlic at lunchtime.
You only need a generous handful of garlic leaves for this recipe. Make sure they aren’t picked from the side of paths where a passing dog might have, well you know, passed. Because there is so much of the stuff near here I am not shy about picking it as close to the ground as possible and pulling up 1 or two cloves as well. The garlic fragrance is stronger nearer the base of the plant and in the clove. You can control the garlic-y-ness of your loaf by choosing to include more green leaves for a more delicate taste or including more white stem for a more knock-out taste. I also include the flowers because they bring another taste dimension to it as well. I add a bit of garlic to the bread dough because the garlic taste transfers during fermentation. You can miss this step out if you prefer.
Always wash your wild garlic well before using.
To make one pull-apart loaf:
For the bread:
500g white strong bread flour
1 sachet of easy bake yeast or 15g fresh yeast
5-10g of fine sea salt
320-350g water (it will depend on your flour how much you need so add 320g to begin with and then add more carefully as you mix. You want to have a softly sticky dough rather than a dry dough or a wet dough.)
20g wild garlic chopped finely (optional)
For the garlic butter
A large handful of wild garlic, finely chopped (how much you use is up to you taste wise)
50g softened unsalted butter
a large pinch of flaked sea salt
Make the garlic butter by combining all of the ingredients and then popping it in the fridge.
For the bread, place the flour, yeast (if using fresh yeast crumble it into the flour until the pieces are fairly small), salt (keep the yeast and salt separate as salt will kill yeast on contact) and chopped wild garlic in a large bowl. Add 320g of water and using one hand start to mix and squeeze the dough. Carefully add more water until the dough comes cleanly away from the bowl, there are no dry bits, and the dough feels on the wetter side. I describe it as softly sticky. Cover with clingfilm (or a large inflated bag) and allow to rest for at least ten minutes.
Remove clingfilm. Keep the dough in the bowl and grab the bit furthest away from you, stretch up and fold over the remaining dough. Turn the bowl a quarter turn and repeat the stretch and fold. Repeat this about 6-10 times until you feel the dough starts to resist you. Cover with clingfilm again and leave to rest for at least ten minutes. You will need to repeat the stretch and fold procedure and then rest period in full as described above at least twice more. You can go for a third if you have the time. Once you have completed the stretches and folds cover your dough and you can either place in the fridge overnight or leave at room temperature for the dough to get airy and double in size.
Take the dough and turn it onto a lightly floured work surface. Cut the dough into about 20 pieces. Take each piece, flatten slightly, place a large knob of garlic butter in the centre and wrap the dough around the butter to encase it completely to make a small roll of dough. Place each roll into a 2lb loaf tin.
Cover the loaf tin with cling film or a large inflated bag and leave to prove for about 30 minutes at room temperature, or longer in the fridge. In the meantime preheat your oven to its highest setting and place a baking tray on the centre shelf. Bread benefits from being placed onto a hot solid surface.
When the rolls have risen and look airy, place tin the oven. Mist the bread with water several times using a plant mister (avoid the light and glass door). This creates steam and helps the bread achieve maximum oven spring. Turn the oven down to 220°c, gas mark 6 and bake for about 30 minutes until the bread is golden. Turn onto a wire rack to cool.
We are lucky enough to be surrounded by wild garlic as far as the eye can see at this time of year. It has been whirring round my mind about how it might taste in a loaf. So we popped our wellies on and went a walk. We could have picked it out of our very own garden borders but we have two dogs… So I wanted to find a corner which might be unadulterated. (I still gave it a good rinse though, just in case).
Wild garlic is fairly distinctive, so get yourself a field guide and if you are unsure then the strong garlic smell gives it away. Always follow the rules of foraging. Be sure what you are picking. Ask permission of the landowner. Only pick something that is prolific and not protected. Only take what you need for your personal use. Give it a good wash before eating it.
When I was mixing and handling the uncooked dough, the garlic smell was very strong and I was worried that I had perhaps overdone it a bit. However, once cooked the garlic had mellowed and imparts a subtle and surprisingly sweet hit of garlic. It makes a delicious loaf, that is very good with soup or, in fact, anything that you happen to have for your dinner.
Makes 1 loaf
500g white bread flour
5g easy bake yeast
8-10g sea salt
20g olive oil
a couple of handfuls of wild garlic, chopped
Place the flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl (keeping the yeast and salt separate, as the salt will kill the yeast). Add the water and olive oil and mix with a clawed hand until well mixed. Cover with a large bag or clingfilm. Leave to rest for twenty minutes. This allows the flour to absorb the liquid and start to make gluten before you have to get involved. The dough should be softly sticky, if it isn’t add a bit more water. Don’t be tempted to add more flour. A wetter dough is better than a dry dough.
Leave the dough in the bowl and holding the bowl with one hand, stretch some of the dough up and over the rest of the dough. Turn the bowl a quarter turn, and repeat the stretching and folding. Repeat this for about 10-12 folds. Cover the bowl again and leave for another twenty minutes. Repeat the stretching and folding motion again. If the dough starts to resist then stop stretching, if it starts to break then stop stretching. Leave to rest again for another twenty minutes and then fold again. It will need less folding this time and it will feel lovely and stretchy, smooth and satiny. Cover and leave the dough to prove for at least an hour until it has risen, is domed and has plenty of aeration.
Lightly flour your work surface and turn your dough out of the bowl. Add in the chopped garlic leaves and fold the dough over the leaves. Shape into a round and place on a floured tray or into a proving basket or if you prefer into a greased loaf tin. Cover with a large bag or oiled clingfilm and leave to prove again. It might need twenty minutes, it might need an hour. It will depend on the temperature of your dough and the temperature of the room.
Preheat the oven to 230°c and place a baking tray on the oven shelf to heat up with the oven, or use the floor of the roasting oven of the Aga.
To test if your loaf is ready to bake, flour or oil your finger and press lightly onto the surface of the loaf. If it springs back slowly within 2 seconds it is ready to put in the oven.
Place the loaf on the hot baking tray, spray the oven walls with water using a plant mister (avoiding the glass door and light). This will create steam, so that the loaf has a chance to do its last rise before the crust forms. Bake for about 30-40 minutes until the loaf is dark golden and sounds hollow when tapped. Leave to cool completely on a wire tray before slicing and enjoying.
If you would like to perfect your bread making skills you could always join me for a bread making course at Veg Patch Kitchen.
A friend lent me one of her long-held books called Cattern Cakes and Lace, A Calendar of Feasts by Julia Jones and Barbara Deer. She had bookmarked the recipes for February wondering if they might be of use in my bread making course. The book is a fascinating month by month look at the traditions and festivals of Britain and the food associated with them.
These yeasted buns, that originate from Leicestershire and Rutland, were traditionally given as a token to a potential suitor or to the children in a village on Valentines Day and were shaped as weavers shuttles because of the strong weaving industry in the region. I hope that I have done some justice to the shape of the weavers shuttle (see the pic at the bottom of the post).
We enjoyed them sliced in half and buttered (generously, of course).
450g plain flour
15g fresh yeast or 5g (or a sachet) of easy bake yeast
10g caster sugar
200g raisins or mixed fruit
beaten egg to glaze
Pour the milk into a small pan and over a medium heat bring almost to a boil. Milk contains proteins that can fight with the yeast and by scalding it you denature these proteins helping the buns to rise better. Add the water and the butter to the hot milk and stir well to melt the butter and get the mixture to a tepid heat (too hot and you will kill the yeast). Place the flour in a bowl. If you are using fresh yeast crumble it in like you would when you rub butter into flour for pastry. If you are using easy bake then just add it to the flour. Add the sugar and salt (keep the yeast and salt separate from one another, salt will kill yeast). Pour in the milk mixture and the egg and mix together well.
Stand mixer instructions:
If you have a stand mixer then mix until combined then leave to sit for ten minutes. then knead on speed 2 for 2 minutes. Leave the dough to sit for ten minutes. then mix again for 1 minute. Leave the dough to rise until doubled in size. Add the fruit into the dough, mixing in well.
Kneading by hand instructions:
If you are kneading by hand, keep the dough in the bowl and pull one side of it and stretch and fold it over itself. Give the bowl a quarter turn and repeat the pull, stretch and fold. Keep doing that action until you have done about ten to twelve stretches and folds. Cover the bowl with clingfilm or a damp towel and leave to sit for ten minutes. Repeat the stretching and folding. Leave to rest for ten minutes and then repeat the stretching and folding. You will need to do less stretching and folding each time before the dough resists you. (When it does begin to resist stretching you know you have done enough of the folding and leave it to rest.) Leave the dough to rest and prove until at least doubled in size. Add the fruit into the dough, mixing in well.
Divide the dough into eight (the original recipe specifies twelve, but I am greedy). Flatten each piece of dough carefully so you don’t deflate too much. Take the two top corners and fold them into the centre of the dough. You should now have a triangular shape at the top of the dough.
Using your thumbs fold this tightly into the centre of the dough. Press the seam down well.
Fold the dough over again so that it is now starting to look like a baguette. Press the seam down well.
Roll the bun into a small baguette shape so that they resemble weavers shuttles (or as near as I can get them). Place on a greased baking tray. Cover with lightly oiled clingfilm or a large plastic bag. Leave to prove until 1½ times the size.
Preheat the oven to 200°c, gas mark 6 making sure that you place a tray in the oven to heat up. Bread and yeasted buns benefit from being placed onto a hot tray as soon as it goes in the oven. When the buns have proved, brush with beaten egg and place them in the oven and bake until golden for about 25-30 minutes.
This is what a weavers shuttle looks like. Can you see the similarity?
If you are here looking for the American style pumpkin bread, then I am afraid you will be disappointed. However, if you are looking for a loaf of delicious bread to go with your soup (or anything else for that matter), then you are in absolutely the right place. This loaf is very tasty. The crumb is soft and tender, the crust has a delicious chew and the sugar in the pumpkin gives the crust a wonderful caramelisation. The loaf manages to be both sweet and savoury. I think a teaspoon or two of black onion seeds (aka nigella seeds) would be a wonderful addition, adding a depth of savouriness. Look at the colour of the crumb:
What a golden hue! It looks as if I have used yellow food colouring. I must add that the blue pumpkin I used did have a deep yellow flesh.
I roasted the pumpkin rather than steaming it. I wanted the sweetness that comes with roasting and I wanted the moisture content of the pumpkin to be reduced. It made quite a stiff purée, so the measurements I give here for water may need to be adapted to suit your particular purée. If it’s wetter, then reduce the water, if it’s drier, add more. You get the idea. The key with bread is always err on the side of too wet rather than too dry. A dry dough will make a brick of a loaf. What you are aiming for is a soft and slightly tacky dough.
375g pumpkin puree (made from pumpkin, skinned and cut into chunks and roasted until tender, then whizzed with a blender or processor or pressed through a sieve)
5g easy bake yeast or 15g fresh yeast
10g fine sea salt
300g white strong flour
150g water (see above for note on the amount of water needed, I use cold water and allow more time for my loaf to do its first rise, this improves the flavour)
Place the pumpkin puree into a large bowl or free standing mixer. Add the remaining ingredients (if you are using fresh yeast just crumble it into the flour, remember to keep it separate from the salt, as salt kills yeast). Add the water cautiously at first as you may need less, you may need more (see note above). You want a dough that is soft and slightly tacky. If using a free standing mixer, mix on speed 1 until combined and then for a further 5 minutes until the dough is well mixed and feels soft and satiny. If doing it by hand use one hand as a claw to mix the ingredients together. It should be soft and very slightly sticky, adjust the water accordingly. If you have added too much water and your dough is sloppy then add flour until it gets to a soft dough. The water content of the pumpkin will continue to hydrate the flour so you don’t want to have too wet a dough. When the mixture has come together, tip out onto a surface (no flour needed on the surface) and knead for a good 8-10 minutes until the dough has a smooth, satiny feel. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a large plastic bag or oiled clingfilm and leave to rise until doubled in size.
Preheat your oven to the hottest setting, placing a baking sheet onto the oven shelf (a loaf benefits from being placed onto a hot surface).
Gently deflate your dough and tip onto a lightly floured surface. Shape your bread into a round or bloomer. (You can see from the photo that I did the second prove in a banneton but you don’t need one). Place your loaf onto an oiled tray and cover with oiled clingfilm to rise until it’s grown to one and a half times its size.
When it’s ready to bake, make a slash or two on the top with a sharp knife (this tells the loaf where to expand when it has its last burst of growth in the oven, otherwise it will burst at its weakest point and not look so attractive) and place onto the preheated baking tray. Either spray the oven walls with water (be careful around the light and the glass of the oven door) or have a tray in the bottom of the oven to tip a cup of water into. The steam helps your loaf do its best rise. Bake the loaf for ten minutes and then turn the oven down to 200°c, gas mark 6 and bake for a further 20 minutes. Check if the loaf is cooked by tapping on its bottom, it should sound hollow. Place on a wire rack to cool completely before enjoying.
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The _ga cookie, installed by Google Analytics, calculates visitor, session and campaign data and also keeps track of site usage for the site's analytics report. The cookie stores information anonymously and assigns a randomly generated number to recognize unique visitors.
Set by Google to distinguish users.
Installed by Google Analytics, _gid cookie stores information on how visitors use a website, while also creating an analytics report of the website's performance. Some of the data that are collected include the number of visitors, their source, and the pages they visit anonymously.
YouTube sets this cookie via embedded youtube-videos and registers anonymous statistical data.