Pumpkin & Sunflower Seed Loaf

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Many things are worth the wait: happiness… success… donuts.

And, from what I have heard: cronuts.

Things that are worthwhile usually take time. Take for instance, this loaf. There is no difficulty in making this bread in comparison to other bread-baking, but it does take a good amount of patience. It requires several rises (make that three, or so…). It requires a handful of kneading sessions (literally).

If you’ve ever been so fortunate as to have your teeth sink into a seeded loaf of bread, you’ll know that there is hardly any bread that feels as hearty and fulfilling (and hardy, and filling).

The only pumpkin you’ll find in this loaf are its seeds. Along with sunflower seeds. Seedy bread is good! Sometimes being seedy is okay. Okay, well, usually never, but in this singular time, we like seedy. Perhaps we’ll stick with the term “seeded” bread.

These here loaves I made to accompany a bratwurst hash I made for some pals on the occasion of the birth of their daughter! Babies are just the best. Best celebrated by eating. And also by squishing their little cheeks.

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Pumpkin & Sunflower Seed Loaf
Adapted from: David Norman at Food & Wine
Yields: 2 loaves

1 TBS active dry yeast
1 TBS kosher salt
1 TBS granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups water, warm (110 degrees)
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup raw, sunflower seeds
1 TBS pumpkin pie spice

Directions:

1. In a large cast iron skillet over medium heat, toast your seeds for approximately 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

2. Whisk together the yeast, salt, and sugar. Stir in 1 cup of the water and 1 cup of flour. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for 3 hours.

3. Pour the remaining water in a bowl with the cornmeal and stir until well combined. Allow it to cool.

4. Add the cornmeal mixture to the risen dough, as well as the remaining flour and pumpkin pie spice to create a soft dough.

5. Knead the dough on a floured surface until smooth and elastic, for more or less 15 minutes. Knead in the pumpkin and sunflower seeds until well combined. Place the dough back into the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow it to rise for 1 hour.

6. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured work surface, for about 1 minute. Place back into the bowl and recover with the plastic wrap until it has doubled in size (about 1 hour).

7.  Turn the dough out one last time on a lightly floured surface and split it in half.  Shape into round loaves. Sprinkle cornmeal on a baking sheet and place the loaves on top for one final rise (I promise) until the loaves have doubled in size, about an hour and a half.

8. Place a pizza stone in the middle rack of your oven and preheat it to 500 degrees. Place a roasting pan underneath your baking stone  on the bottom rack for the duration of the preheating.

9. Using a serrated knife, slash the tops of the loaves three times. Transfer them to the baking stone. Pour 1 cup of hot water into the roasting pan and close the oven door!

10. Bake for 10 minutes.

11. Reduce the oven temperature to 450 degrees, and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until the loaves are nicely browned.

12. Let the loaves cool completely (about 30 minutes) before slicing it down and enjoying!

See wasn’t that worth the wait?!

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Cook’s notes:

1. The original recipe calls for an overnight rise to create a starter. If you have the time, I encourage you to do this. It sounds like a lot of fun. I did not have the time, unfortunately! So I allowed for as much time as I could for the very first rise.

 

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