Italian Pumpkin Bread Recipe
The pumpkin bread is one of the most typical recipes to prepare in autumn, in time for Halloween and also Thanksgiving. It’s usually a very easy recipe and there are thousands of different ways to make it.
The classical pumpkin bread contains raisins and nuts but mine doesn’t and my pumpkin bread is way more similar to a classic Italian loaf than to an American bread.
This means this recipe also requires a bit more time if compared to the traditional one, but the final result is a crusty bread, to be used to make sandwiches or to be spread with jam or to be eaten as it is.
Of course, you need to buy good ingredients to make this bread: first of all, a good flour.
The ideal flour should contain a higher percentage of gluten compared to the normal one, ’cause gluten is the most important element when you make bread. If you find it difficult to find this flour, then you can use an all-purpose flour, better is stone ground and, most of all, unbleached and unbromated.
You then need to use yeast and you can go for fresh one, highly recommended, or for dry one; for a proper loaf you can’t use sodium bicarbonate ’cause they won’t allow the leavening process to happen.
Ingredients for a medium loaf
- 500 grams of all-purpose flour
- 300 grams of pumpkin
- 200 grams of water
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 5 grams of fresh yeast
- 1 teaspoon of honey
- Put the pulp of the pumpkin in the oven over a non-stick pan and let it cook at 180°C until it is tender. Remove it from the oven, blend it and let it cool;
- Prepare a quick dough by kneading 150 grams of water with 2 grams of yeast, 150 grams of flour and honey until a fairly compact dough is formed;
- Put this leavened dough to rise for 3 hours, covered with a clean cotton cloth;
- After 3 hours, prepare the dough for the bread by dissolving the remaining yeast in the 50 grams of the remaining cold water and mixing it all with the remaining 250 grams of flour, salt and the pulp of the pumpkin;
- Continue to knead well and add also the leavened dough then transfer the mixture on a clean work surface and work it well with your hands for at least 10 minutes in order to mix all the ingredients.
- Form a ball of dough, place it in an oiled bowl and let it rise until it doubles (at least 2 hours), always covering it with a clean cotton cloth. In case you want to prepare smallest loaves of bread, divide the dough into 6-8 loaves and arrange them individually in oiled glass bowls to make them double in volume;
- Once risen, take the dough or the bread rolls and, without touching them too much, make a series of cross-shaped carvings on the surface.
- Turn on the oven and bake the bread or rolls at 200°C for about 30 minutes then lower the temperature and cook for at least 40 minutes at 180°C making sure not to burn the surface.
- Once cooked, take out the bread and put it to cool then serve it alone or accompanied with cheese, sauces or any other dish.
Preparation time: 7 hours
Cooking time: 50 minutes
Total time: 7.8 hours
Tips to make the perfect pumpkin bread
Remember you need to let the bread rest before cooking it: it has to rise and to rise it needs time, minimum 3 hours.
An oven is an appliance that must be understood before being used at its best. For this reason, my advice is to experiment until you find the right temperature for your bread and, consequently, its cooking time. In general, it is always good to preheat the oven and cook the bread after placing a bowl of cold water on the bottom of the oven that will allow the bread not to dry out and cook evenly. Remember that if the oven temperature is too high your bread can be overcooked and raw inside but if it is too low it can be wet inside and not cooked both inside and outside.
Although it’s hard to resist to a freshly baked loaf of bread, to make sure that the bread does not lose consistency it is good to let it cool on a raised rack and open underneath. In this way, moisture will not form and the bread will be crispy outside and soft inside.
Surely this pumpkin bread is not as simple and fast as the classic, but I’m sure the result will amaze you, despite how hard it can be.
Treat this bread properly and do not forget to put it in a paper bag so that it won’t dry and won’t become too soft and, if you want, freeze it to eat it when you want!