Pumpkin and poppy seed bread

When you think of pumpkin bread the idea of quick bread banana bread-like loaf springs to mind, however this is a simple sourdough leavened loaf in which I used pumpkin puree instead of water. The pumpkin is roasted in the oven with a sprig of rosemary for a more fragrant final product, even though this isn’t necessary if you are working with a very sweet and flavoursome pumpkin.

Ingredients

600g/21.1oz white bread flour
420g/14.8oz ready made puréed pumpkin (made with 900g/31.7oz raw pumpkin)
120g/4.2oz natural yeast (sourdough starter)
2 tsp salt
rosemary
poppy seeds

Directions

1. preheat your oven to 200C
2. peel and chop your pumpkin in small pieces and place it on a sheet of tin foil with the rosemary
3. cover with another sheet of foil and bake for about 30 to 40 mins until very soft when pierced with a fork
4. weight out your flour and starter in a bowl
5. puree the pumpkin with a blender discarding the rosemary, then measure out what is needed and add to the bowl with flour and yeast
6. add the salt
7. mix with a spoon until fairly well combined
8. then continue kneading with your hands until you obtain a workable and soft ball of dough
9. leave in the bowl and cover with a damp towel
10. allow to rest for 4 to 5 hours
11. punch down your dough and knead well again for a minute or so
12. spread out the dough and fold it towards the centre as if you were folding a letter
13. give it your desired shape, I cut mine into two equal balls
14. dampen the side you are going to cover with poppy seeds with water and then turn out on the seeds (this will help them to stick to the bread and will not fall out when you cut it)
15. allow to rest a further 3 to 4 hours and then bake in a preheated oven at 250C for about 20 minutes
16. turn upside down and continue baking for another 15/20 minutes until both sides sound hollow when tapped

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