Having some fun with your baking is always a good idea and getting a great result that tastes as good as it looks is what its all about.
I love soup and not just for the autumn, but when the pumpkins are in season I stock up the freezer with homemade soup to see me through the winter.
While pumpkin soup making I had some leftover roasted pumpkin chunks which I added to a simple bread recipe and super-charged the pumpkin look and cosy warmth with a little turmeric.
This bread is a lovely accompaniment for some hearty pumpkin soup but is just as good with some oozy Brie or a bit of tart homemade jam.
Make sure you use a food grade string that can cope with the baking or else you might end up with Bridget Jones like results!
- Make some roasted pumpkin by cutting up 380-400g fresh pumpkin flesh and popping it in the oven in a roasting tray for 30 minutes at 200°C (180°C fan) let it cool then mash lightly.
- In your mixing bowl combine the yeast with water and let it dissolve for about 10 minutes. Add the flour, turmeric and pumpkin then mix for five minutes until everything is evenly combined.
- Add the salt and mix in a mixer until it comes cleanly away from the side of the bowl or knead by hand until smooth and elastic, shape and tighten into a ball with the aid of a scraper and let rest in a lightly oiled bowl for about an hour or until it's nearly doubled in size.
- Meanwhile cut four pieces of food grade twine about 50cm in length, line them up side by side, take hold of them all and tie a knot in the middle securing all of the pieces together. Place these on a piece of baking paper and with the knot in the middle, arrange the string so that they are evenly spaced, almost looking like a spider.
- Turn out the dough from the bowl onto a lightly floured surface and reshape into a tight ball again. Place the dough onto the baking paper with the middle of the dough directly on top of the arranged twine. Cover and let proof for about 40 minutes.
- Turn on the oven at 220°C or 220°C fan. (If using a fan make sure you don't skip on the steaming part below).
- Uncover the dough, lightly dust with some rice flour or semolina and tie the eight ends of the twine to its opposite partner so the new knots are at the top of the dough in the middle creating the pumpkin octants. Don't tie too tightly as the dough will expand more in the final proof and in the oven. Cover for a further 20 minutes allowing it to finish proofing and to start creating the pumpkin-like appearance.
- When ready for baking, uncover the dough and take a dough scoring knife, make some small incisions in each of the octants creating a pleasing pattern of your choosing. Place it in the oven and get some steam going with either a DeSh-Stoom or spraying some water into the oven before quickly closing the door and turning down the temperature to 180°C or 200°C fan.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes depending on the oven until done (better to over baker rather than under bake), checking after 20 mins and turning through 180° if it is not baking evenly and to cover with a baking tray if it is colouring too quickly.
- Take out when done and let cool on a cooling rack until completely cool. Remove the twine before slicing and enjoying.