Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Mini Savory Pumpkin Chili and Pepita Loaves

Wow!  I am so excited about Donna Currie’s new book, Make Ahead Bread. I have the good fortune of being a 37 Cook along with Donna. I feel that I can call her my friend, even though we have never actually met in person. She lives in Colorado and I am in Virginia. I do chat with her quite often about matters in 37 Cooks and we are also members of Cook My Book (a group that shares cookbooks and reviews recipes) together.  I frequently ask her advice on baking and bread making, because it has never been one of my strong suits. However, with her new book, I feel like I can make fabulous bread too! The directions are straightforward and easy for cooks and bakers of all levels. The photographs are absolutely beautiful. I strongly recommend this book for the seasoned bread maker or beginner.  

This recipe was inspired by her Mini Sunflower Seed Loaves. I love sunflower seeds! Since the challenge was to use her recipe as a base and change it up, I went with pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds) and a few other ingredients to add some complimentary flavors. Her directions are for making it ahead of time. I chose to make mine all in the same day. You can alternate her recipe and my directions for either kind of loaf and get good results. Her version does not require a stand-up mixer and you knead the dough by hand. On the second rise of the loaves, you can cover them in plastic wrap (instead of a kitchen towel) and place them in the refrigerator overnight for baking the next day. When I was making my version, I asked Donna how long it needed to rise on the second rise if I was not making it ahead. She gave me a great tip about the readiness of the dough. Here is her response: “Half the time of the first rise, usually. So if it doubles in an hour, second rise is usually 30 minutes. Poke it lightly with your finger, and if it bounces back, it can rise longer. If it leaves a little dent, it's ready.”  Thanks Donna!

Mini Savory Pumpkin Chili and Pepita Loaves 
by Tracy 
Inspired by Mini Sunflower Seed Loaves by Donna Currie in  Make Ahead Bread

1 cup lukewarm water
2 1/4 teaspoons rapid yeast
4 1/2 cups bread flour, plus more if needed
1 cup semolina flour
1 Tablespoon The Spice House Chili Powder, Medium
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 can pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
3/4 cup pepitas, divided
1 egg mixed with 1 Tablespoon water

In a large mixing bowl of a stand up mixer, combine the water and yeast. Let stand for 10 minutes. Add the flours, chili powder, cumin, oregano, olive oil, pumpkin, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 cup of the pepitas. Mix with paddle until ingredients are incorporated. Switch to a dough hook, and knead the dough on medium for about 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Keep an eye on the dough and if it is too wet, add more bread flour, 1/4 cup at a time, to get the desired result. Shape the dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour. The dough should be doubled in size at this point.  

Take the dough and divide it into 4 equal pieces. Roll each dough into a ball and place them into a lightly oiled 4-cup mini loaf pan. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for an additional 30 minutes. Lightly brush the loaves with the egg/water mixture (discard the remaining mixture.) Sprinkle the loaves with remaining teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/4 cup pepitas.  

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake the loaves for 25-30 minutes, or until they reach an internal temperature of 195°F. Gently take the loaves out of the pan and let them cool completely.  

Slice and serve with butter or Donna’s recipe for Chive Cream Cheese.  

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