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Pumpkin Bread for Halloween

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Pumpkin Bread for Halloween

This handsome, tasty loaf is particularly good served warm from the oven with cheese. You can of course make your own pumpkin purée by cooking chunks of pumpkin with a little water in a covered pan until soft, and then puréeing it in a food processor or blender.


Makes 1 loaf

Pumpkin Bread
100g pumpkin seeds
Oil, to grease
100–150ml tepid water
20g fresh yeast
1 tsp caster sugar
450g strong white flour, plus extra to dust
2 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
200g tin pumpkin purée
2 tbsp runny honey


  1. Heat a dry frying pan over a medium heat and lightly toast the pumpkin seeds, then transfer them to a plate to cool. Lightly oil a large baking sheet.
  2. In a small bowl, mix 2 tbsp of the tepid water with the yeast to create a loose paste. Mix in the sugar.
  3. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the egg, yeast mixture and pumpkin purée. Add enough of the remaining water (start with three quarters) to mix to a soft dough, using a little to swill out the yeast bowl to make sure none is left behind.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, up to 10 minutes. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45–60 minutes.
  5. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and flatten it out with your hands. Sprinkle over the seeds and knead again until it is smooth and the seeds are evenly distributed.
  6. Shape into a domed circle and place on the oiled baking sheet. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to prove for about 30 minutes, or until increased in size by half. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 220°C/gas mark 7.
  7. Slash the top of the bread using a large, sharp knife and bake for 30–45 minutes, turning the oven setting down slightly to 200°C/gas mark 6 after 5 minutes. It is ready when the crust is well browned, and the loaf feels light for its size and sounds hollow when tapped on the underside.
  8. Transfer the loaf to a wire rack, brush with the honey while still warm and leave to cool a little before serving.

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