Pumpkin Bread

 Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread

Not just for Thanksgiving and Halloween, this is a very tasty and chewy bread that goes really well with roast veges and salads for a hearty meal.  Great for adding to a party table as something a little different and interesting!

1 cup cooked, mashed pumpkin
2 cups room temp pumpkin ale
2 teaspoons yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
3 cups plain flour (or half wholemeal)
1/2 teaspoon each ground fennel, ground ginger and caraway seeds
generous pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon
1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped
a little warmed milk - as required

Preheat oven to 200° C

Pumpkin BreadAdd the yeast, maple syrup salt and ale to a small bowl and leave in a warm place to allow the yeast to bloom.
In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, salt and spices.

Once the yeast has foamed up add to the flour mix with the olive oil and mashed pumpkin. Different pumpkins have different moisture levels - iIf the mix is too dry add a little warmed milk, if too wet add a little extra flour until the consistency is a fairly soft and pliable dough. 
When the dough is soft and easily kneaded, work it for a few minutes only then leave in a warm place to prove for 30-40 minutes.

Once proved, work the pecans into the dough and knead for another 5 minutes - do not over work no matter how tempting it is!!  Too much kneading will lead to concrete bread. 

Shape the dough into two smallish boat-shaped loaves, score the tops with a knife and place on a large lined baking tray.  Leave the loaves in a warm place and allow to double in size.

Once the bread is ready to go in the oven, dust with a little extra flour.  Bake in a hot oven for around 40 minutes or until the loaves sound hollow when tapped underneath. 

This bread is best cooked to a slightly darker crust and is fabulous served with sharp cheese, rich tomato dishes or alongside a piquant salad.