Baby master recipe pumpkin loaves…

After years of seeing other people making beautiful pumpkin shaped breads, this year I finally decided it was my turn! It’s great fun, and the baked loaves look so cool, have you tried it yet?

I’ve made them now with plain doughs and flavoured doughs, using my baby master recipe quantities, banneton size and baking times, but you could also scale them up to full size. I’ve added step by step photos below of how to create the shape, plus the details of the flavoured versions.

My butternut squash purée, pumpkin seed and dried barberry pumpkin loaf, details below

If you do join in and make one, be sure to tag me if you post your bake online…I’d love to see it!

NOTE: You will need butchers twine string, and a cinnamon stick, or a stalk from a pepper/capsicum/squash/pumpkin.

To make your pumpkin loaf: follow my master recipe process up to step 6. By this step your dough should be in your banneton and have had several hours in the fridge to prove and firm up. When you are ready to bake, cut 4 strings long enough to tie across the dough.

Lay the strings to create equal spaces over the dough.

Remove the cover from your banneton. Lay the strings evenly over the top of the banneton as above.

Place your parchment paper or pan liner over the top of the banneton and strings, and your pan over the top of both. Use both hands to turn it all over, keeping the strings in place.

As I have used a baby master sized dough, the banneton is 17-18cm diameter and 9cm deep. You can use any size pan, I used my 20cm diameter enamel pan, lined with a cake tin liner found online.

Remove the banneton and prepared to tie the strings.

Making sure you are using corresponding ends of the strings, tie each one across the dough and tie firmly on the top.

Tie in bows that you will be able to undo later.

You can now score or not, totally up to you, see the version below for a scored option, then put the lid on your pan and bake as usual.

Once baked, remove the loaf carefully from the pan, place on a rack and undo the strings. Place the loaf back into your pan and bake, covered or uncovered, for a further 5-10 minutes to ensure it is baked through.

*from being compressed I have found that the loaves can be slightly undercooked if baked for the standard amount of time only, the extra time minus the strings ensures it’s not damp inside the ‘wedges’.

Add a ‘stalk’ for a fun presentation.

My baby master dough quantities:

30g starter

210g water

300g strong white bread flour

Salt to taste.

Made as per my standard process. Baked for 40-45 mins with strings, 5-10 mins extra once removed.

The following loaves were the result of experiments with making doughs with added butternut squash purée. You could also use pumpkin purée, bought or made. I made my butternut squash purée by cutting the squash in half, roasting the halves until the flesh was completely soft. Once cooled I scraped the flesh out into a blender and blended it to a smooth paste.

NOTE: my purée was nicely thick, not at all watery. If your purée is thinner you may need less water in the dough, or to bake for longer to prevent the inside of the bread from being moist and gummy.

The dough for this loaf was made with:

30g starter

100g butternut squash purée

175g water

300g strong white bread flour

30g roasted and cooled pumpkin seeds

30g dried barberries (can be subbed with dried cranberries)

Salt to taste.

Made and baked as per my master recipe. Baked for 40-45 mins with strings, 5-10 mins extra once removed.

This was so good! The dried fruits become soft and full in the dough and add bursts of succulent joy in every bite, it’s virtually a fruit bun in each wedge, just add butter, cheese, or both!

The loaf below was made slightly differently, with less purée and added spices; next time I’d merge the two as I think the version above would be fabulous with the added spices.

In the dough:

30g starter

50g purée

20g runny honey

170g water

300g flour

30g oats

1-2 tsp mixed spices/pumpkin spice mix/apple pie spice mix/chai spice mix

Salt to taste

Made a baked as per my master recipe. Baked for 40-45 mins with strings, 5-10 mins extra once removed.

NOTE: this dough will start off sloppy, give it time for the oats to absorb some water and firm up, don’t be tempted to add more flour.

Both of the doughs made with the added purée grew to wonderfully billowy doughs overnight. The one with spices took longer to fully prove as is typical when cinnamon is added to a dough, allow it sufficient time to prove fully.

So, have you made a pumpkin loaf yet?

I’m adding my pumpkin loaves to this weeks Fiesta Friday blog party – join in the halloween fun!