Recipe by Valeria
I found this recipe on another website, but there was no printer-friendly format. So I'm posting it here so I and other cooks can print it better. I have changed the procedures to reflect what worked best for me. Most of the preparation time is letting the bread rise for hours and hours. I made this bread the other day and it was so easy and delicious that I would make it every day. Just let it rise during the night or while I'm at work and bake it when it's convenient. It has a really crispy crust and is soft in the center. To enhance the texture I added 1 tsp of vital wheat gluten for every cup of flour I used. It makes the bread heavier and chewier and helps the dough to rise. All three cups of flour listed in the recipe do not blend into the dough, so try adding flour one half cup at a time. If you want to make plain bread just substitute the same amount of water for the pumpkin. When letting the dough rise, if it's in a warm spot (say a sunroom) it's good to cover it with a damp towel. If the area is not that warm a dry towel will do.
- 1⁄2 cup plain pumpkin puree
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 1 tablespoon lukewarm water
- 1⁄4 teaspoon dry active yeast
- 1 1⁄4 teaspoons salt
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- cornmeal, as needed
Directions See How It's Made
- Mix the pumpkin puree, water, yeast, and salt in a mixing bowl. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour one half cup at a time until a sticky dough forms. Do not knead the dough, as it's too sticky and messy.
- Once mixed, cover the bowl with a towel, and leave out for 12 to 16 hours.
- Flour a work surface well, gently turn the dough out of the bowl onto the floured surface. Flour your hands and pat down into a square shape. Fold each corner to the center, then fold the edges under until you have the desired round or oblong shape. Generously sprinkle cornmeal on a baking sheet about twice the size of the loaf. The dough will stick unless you put a good amount down on the pan. Transfer loaf to the pan, folds are facing down. Sprinkle the top with flour.
- Place a clean, dry towel over the loaf, and allow to rise for 1 1/2 hours in a warm spot. Place a pie pan half-filled with water at the bottom of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. Remove the towel from the dough in the baking sheet, and make a 1/2-inch deep incision across the top of the loaf with a sharp knife. Bake on the middle rack for 50 - 55 minutes. Allow to cool on a rack before slicing.