Pumpkin Seed Bread

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RECIPE: I’ve wanted to try this recipe for a while, and it’s only since my recent find of fresh yeast that I thought I might be able to. There’s nothing to stop you using dry yeast, but I really like to try new recipes as they’re written and then mess around with them later. I didn’t have a month to wait for the pumpkin seed oil preparation, so I just used oil.

PREPARATION: I made the ferment one evening, then the dough/bread the next. The ferment was very quick to make. It rose beautifully over the next day, almost quadrupling in size, but it had subsided a little by the time I made the dough. When you roast the pumpkin seeds the green skins dry out. Once they had cooled enough, I was able to rub off most of the skins. There’s probably a few ways to do it, but I put them in a metal sieve and rubbed them against the mesh, which seemed to work fine. The dough was sticky after the first mix, when it was left to rise for two hours. I kneaded it a bit on a floured bench before leaving it for the second rise. When I stretched out a piece it was transparent. I kept the area where I was rising the bread at 22 degrees Celsius, which is meant to be the best temperature. I moved it gently onto a baking sheet and baked it.

IMPRESSION: I was so proud of this bread. It didn’t rise as high as I expected, but the bread wasn’t tight and had a great texture. The seeds gave it a lovely nutty flavour. I’ll make this one again, and I might even prepare the pumpkin seed oil in advance!

Recipe by Justin Gellatly from Bread, Cake, Doughnut, Pudding

Pumpkin Seed Bread
Makes one 800g round loaf

Pumpkin seed oil (not essential)
100ml sunflower oil
30g pumpkin seeds

Put the oil into a saucepan and warm very gently. Toast the pumpkin seeds in a large frying pan on a low heat – keep tossing them so they don’t burn – until speckled light brown and starting to pop. While the pumpkin seeds are still warm, crush them in a pestle and mortar to release their flavours. Put them into a warm sterilised jar and pour over your warm oil, then cover and leave for at least one month.

Ferment
110g strong white bread flour
1g fresh yeast, crumbled
110g water

Put the flour into a bowl. Mix the yeast into the water and whisk to dissolve. Add this to the flour and mix until it’s a thick paste. Cover with clingfilm and pierce the clingfilm as well, then leave for 24 hours.

Dough
150g shelled green pumpkin seeds
240g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
8g fine sea salt
1 batch of ferment (see above)
2g fresh yeast
4 tbs toasted pumpkin seed oil, including the crushed seeds
160g water
2-3 tbs semolina

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Put the pumpkin seeds on a small baking tray and toast for about 18-20 minutes, shaking the tray occasionally, until they are golden brown. Leave to cool completely, preferably for a few hours. Turn off the oven.

Put the flour and salt into a bowl and add the ferment. Put the yeast, oil and water into a bowl and whisk to dissolve the yeast. Add this to the flour. Transfer the dough into the bowl of an electric mixer with a beater attachment (this will help break down the seeds and release the oils – do not use a dough hook). Mix for four minutes on medium speed, then add the toasted pumpkin seeds and mix for a further five minutes, until smooth and elastic. It will be quite soft at this point. Leave the dough in the bowl, cover with clingfilm, and leave somewhere warm for about two hours, or until doubled in size.

Take the dough out of the bowl, place on a floured surface and shape it into a ball. Place it in a floured proving basket and leave for another hour, or until doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius and sprinkle a baking tray with semolina. Gently turn out the dough on to the prepared baking tray, and sprinkle some semolina on to the loaf as well (you need to keep as much air in the dough as possible, so again be gentle). Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Place on a rack to cool.

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