Pumpkin-Shaped Pumpkin Bread
This pretty loaf is deceptively easy. It's a simple white bread recipe with added pumpkin puree, shaped into a cute festive centrepiece.
I've seen this style of bread at thanksgiving and Halloween many times online and thought I'd have a go at it. It's a little late in the year but I feel like pumpkin and squash recipes are great throughout autumn and winter. Plus it's a fun project for those of us who aren't burned out on the lockdown bread baking yet.
The flavour of this bread is pretty subtle. The pumpkin doesn't add a strong flavour so much as a little colour and sweetness. This means the bread makes an excellent pairing to offset super savoury toppings or fillings. We enjoyed it toasted and topped with French inspired lentils and crispy sage. Equally, it would be really great for making bread pudding or French toast. Or just tearing off with your bare hands and eating standing over the kitchen counter.
If you're new to breadmaking, this recipe is pretty accessible. Just mix all of the ingredients in a bowl. Wait. Knead. Wait. Shape. Wait. Cut. Bake. Eat. It's pretty hands off so you can definitely make it while you're busy doing chores or work at home.
Pumpkin-Shaped Pumpkin Bread Vegan. No added sugar.
500g plain flour, plus extra for kneading/shaping
2 teaspoons fine sea salt or 1 tablespoon flaked sea salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup warm water
1 cup pumpkin puree (either canned or roasted/steamed squash flesh that's been blended)
Mix together the dry ingredients.
Add in the wet ingredients and mix until it comes together.
Let the dough rest for 10 minutes for the flour to hydrate.
Knead the dough until extremely smooth and elastic. You'll notice a distinct change in the texture. By hand this will likely take 10-15 minutes of solid kneading. If you have a hand or stand mixer with dough attachments I'd recommend it!
Cover the bowl with the dough in it with cling film or a slightly moist towel and leave to rise for about an hour, or until doubled in size.
Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and punch it gently to knock the air out.
Shape it into a round by tucking the sides underneath.
Place back in the bowl, making sure there's enough flour that it won't stick, then let it prove for about half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 210c / 415f.
Carefully remove the dough from the bowl and place on a baking sheet, without knocking the air out.
With a very sharp knife, make cuts from the centre outwards, at least half an inch deep, to create the shape of the pumpkin. In the middle of the top of the loaf, pinch and twist the dough to form something that looks like a stem.
Bake the loaf for 30-40 minutes or until deep golden in colour.
Leave to cool for at least an hour before cutting the loaf, as otherwise it will be gummy inside.