from one generation to the next
I’m really enjoying Brisbane’s cooler weather especially because it’s brought me a renewed energy for cooking. Spurred on by my super active sourdough starter I’ve been experimenting with new (for me) spelt bread varieties.
I’m a big fan of pumpkin and especially like the Jap variety. It’s super tasty and not too wet. I often bake it into scones and soda breads, muffins and cake so adding it to sourdough seems a natural progression. You can never eat too many vegetables.
As you would expect the finished loaf had a beautiful golden hue. The steamed then mashed pumpkin added a slight sweetness and distinct lightness to the loaves and, contrasted by the textural crunch of the toasted pumpkin seeds, it was really delicious. The loaf was much softer than my regular 100% spelt sourdough, the texture reminiscent of brioche, perfect to cut into thick chunks and serve with a bowl of steaming soup. It was excellent toasted too, topped with sharp cheese.
Pumpkin and Pepita Sourdough Spelt Bread – for 2 loaves
400g active spelt sourdough starter
650g white spelt flour
250mls filtered tap water
300g steamed pumpkin, mashed and cooled
90g pepitas, toasted
extra pepitas for the top of the loaves
Measure the loaf ingredients into a large mixing bowl in the above order. Mix to a soft shaggy dough, cover loosely with plastic and set aside for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, tip the dough onto a well floured bench and knead it just enough to bring it together into a smooth ball.
Clean the bowl then coat the inside liberally with olive oil.
Return the dough to the bowl, turn it over in the oil, then cover and set aside for 40 minutes
After 40 minutes, tip the dough onto the bench, but don’t use any flour this time. Gently stretch the dough into a large thin oblong, make it as thin as you can, then fold the dough in 3 in both directions, then roll it loosely into a ball. Return the dough to the oiled bowl and rest in the fridge overnight or up to 24 hours.
The next day, remove the dough from the fridge, tip it onto the unfloured bench and divide it into two equal parts. Stretch one into a large thin oblong. Fold the dough in 3 in both directions, then fold in 3 again then roll it into a tight thick sausage and shape into a loaf.
Spray the smooth surface of the boule with water, dip into the extra pepitas to coat. Place the boule seed side down into a linen lined but unfloured bannetton.
Repeat with the second half of the dough.
Leave the loaves to rise, loosely covered (I use a plastic shower cap over the bannetton). The time the dough needs depends entirely on the ambient temperature. You can hasten the proofing process by finding a warm spot for the dough
Test if the dough has proven.- It should have risen a little and when you poke an indentation in the boule with your finger it should bounce back about 50%. It needs more time if the indentation left by your finger fills completely. It’s over proofed if there is no rebound.
Preheat the oven to 225C.
When the oven reaches temperature, tip the dough onto a sheet of baking paper.
Lift the loaf on the paper into a cold lidded roasting pan. Cover and bake at 225C for 20 minutes. Remove the lid of the pan and reduce the oven temperature to 200C.
Bake for a further 25 minutes until the loaf is golden brown.
Cool on a wire rack.