The Nation's Health + vegetables

Pumpkin Bread and Na'an

As the season is getting colder, fall is definitely on its way. And that means all of my favorite cool weather root vegetables, soups, and of course squashes. Lately I've been obsessed with pumpkin; for obvious reason (I grew up on a pumpkin farm), pumpkin is the quintessential fall flavor for me.

Since making all my own bread instead of buying it, I've been trying something different almost every week... this week happened to be, you guessed it, pumpkin! This week was pumpkin bread and naan, using the recipe for banana na'an as my basis.

Pumpkin Yeast Bread

1/4 cup warm water
1 packages (1 tablespoons) active dry yeast
1/3 cup warm milk
1 large eggs, beaten
3/4 cups puréed pumpkin, either fresh or canned
2 Tablespoons ground flax
3 1/2 cups (approximately) all-purpose flour or half whole wheat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

In a large bowl, stir yeast into water to soften. Add milk, eggs, pumpkin, flax, 2 cups flour, brown sugar, salt, ginger and cardamom to yeast mixture. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes.

Gradually add remaining flour, a little at a time, until you have a dough stiff enough to knead. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead, adding flour as necessary, until you have a smooth, elastic dough.

Put dough into an oiled bowl. Turn once to coat entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Turn dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface. Divide dough in half. Shape dough into loaf and place in well-greased 10 x 5-inch pans or into 12 large dinner rolls. Cover with a towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.

Bake in a preheated 375°F oven. Loaves bake about 30 minutes, rolls about 20. Check the internal temperature of each with an instant-read thermometer; a reading of 190°F means bread or rolls are done.

Pumpkin Naan

1/2 canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 to 1-1/2 cups unbleached bread flour (may need more or less, depending on humidity)
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 c. brown sugar

Whisk together the yeast, pumpkin, and water. Let froth for five minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the bread flour, sugar, salt, and spices.
Pour the wet mix into the dry and combine with a spatula. Then knead for a few minutes with you hands. You may need to add a tablespoon (or so) of warm water.
Form a nice, elastic ball and lightly oil your medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes.

Divide into four balls. Flatten each on a lightly floured work surface.
Roll out each ball until it is about 5 to 6 inches in diameter.
Spritz a frying pan with olive oil and heat over high heat. When hot, place one of the pre-naans on it. Press down a bit with your hands or a utensil. Cook until golden.
Then flip and cook until golden. Repeat with remaining pieces.
Use a pizza cutter to cut each piece into 4 triangles.

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