Pumpkin and Sage Bread
Serves: Makes ~2 medium loaves
Preparation and cooking time: ~3 hours
Calories: ~85 per slice
Hi everyone, how are you all doing? I wanted to start off by thanking you all for your kind comments in my two year celebratory post. I was really touched by them, as I am with any comment of course, but it’s always especially nice when I can celebrate these little milestones with you all. As you may remember from my previous post, the “Monte Kristy sandwich” was very tasty. If I made it again, I’d definitely add something like roasted pepper or courgette – just to break up the flavour a bit and bring a bit of freshness to the dish. I’d also use a slightly tastier cheese – it’s the sort of sandwich which would go perfectly with a blue cheese, but I was already pushing the ingredient restrictions a bit with the addition of cheddar, so I didn’t want to go too nuts.
Perhaps the greatest discovery from my sandwich adventures though was the bread. I looked around for quite some time online first for a “Pumpkin Bread” recipe which I could use, or at least adapt. They all seemed to be sweetened, spiced, quick breads, made with baking powder. Delicious, I’m sure, but not at all what I was looking for. I didn’t fancy a sandwich made out of slices of something which is effectively a cake. In the end I decided to wing it. I had enough pumpkin to go back and do it over in case it failed the first time so I just thought “what the heck” and forged ahead.
I took my usual bread recipe and basically added a bit more sugar, a weensy bit more oil and completely removed the water and replaced it wholesale with – yep, you guessed it – pumpkin. I added in some sage as well, although probably won’t bother next time. The end result was remarkable and it’s really made me wonder where the limit is regarding vegetables in bread. Can one use cauliflower for example? If cauliflower then why not broccoli? What about beetroot? Maybe even cabbage? I feel like I’ve stumbled on a gold-mine of fantastic natural bread flavourings and colourings. Forget about rainbow cake with a whole array of artificial colourings… what about rainbow bread, bursting full of subtle flavours, and vibrant, natural colourings?
Perhaps this is a commonly done technique – to replace all the liquid with puréed vegetables? It’s not something I’ve ever seen before however, and I find it rather exciting. You can definitely expect more posts on this before I’m done – that’s for darn sure ! Do try the bread, I urge you. If you’re a bread lover then you’d be hard pushed to not enjoy this variation. Best of all, it stays soft and fresh for many days after baking. It was still delicious when we finished it yesterday, and not at all dry.
Boy oh boy, isn’t time moving fast? I just can’t believe it’s November already – before you know it Christmas is going to be here, and then gone, and then it’ll be 2013! I was looking at some photos the other day of myself, but back in 2006. Wow, have I changed; I looked so young then! Anyway, I’ll leave you today with a little picture my wife took the other day. It’s a cellphone photo, so not super awesome quality, but I just love the facial expression. I was asleep at the time, with William gurgling away next to me! He’s changing so fast .
Have a great remainder of the week everyone – in my next update I’ll post some photos, although I haven’t quite decided where to “take” you yet. I have two fun destinations lined up for you but I’m having difficulties choosing – well, you’ll have to wait and see . Enjoy the bread and I’ll be back in a few days with something new!
Pumpkin and Sage Bread
- 500g plain Flour
- 500g Pumpkin, de-seeded, with skin
- 50g Caster Sugar
- 3tbsps Olive Oil
- ~15g (3tsps) of quick-acting Yeast
- 2tsps Salt
- A good handful of fresh Sage
You will also need
- An Immersion Blender
- Start off by peeling the pumpkin and chopping it into chunks. Place the pumpkin into a large pan of water. Bring to the boil and cook for about 10 minutes, until the pumpkin is very soft (you should be able to easily slide a fork through the chunks).
- While the pumpkin is cooking, place the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt into a large bowl. Finely chop the sage and add this in as well. Finally, add the olive oil and whisk well to blend the dry and wet ingredients. Once the pumpkin is ready, drain it and then purée it using an immersion blender.
- Pour the pumpkin purée into a measuring jug. You should have ~350-400ml, however, if you have less than 350ml, top up the jug with a little water. Pour the purée into the flour and mix well to combine. You should have the beginnings of a smooth dough, although if the mixture is very wet, add a little extra flour until the dough is manageable. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead well for 10 minutes before returning to the bowl. Cover with a clean cloth and leave in a warm place to prove for about an hour.
- Punch down the dough and turn out. Divide into two pieces and press into greased loaf tins before covering once more and setting aside in a warm place to rise for about 45 minutes. While they are rising, preheat your oven to 220 degrees Celsius and when the loaves are ready, bake in the hot oven for about 20 minutes, until they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before enjoying!