Deliciously Different

Pumpkin Bread

2 cups ¼-Inch cubes kabocha pumpkin or butternut squash
⅛ teaspoon salt
2⅓ cups unbleached bread flour
1¼ cup semolina flour
1 ¼-ounce-envelope active dry yeast
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon clove
½ teaspoon nutmeg
2½ tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
olive oil for brushing bowl and dough

In a small saucepan, stir together pumpkin, ½ cup water and â…› teaspoon salt. Bring just to a bare simmer; cook, uncovered until just tender, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer all but ½ cup cubes to a plate. Continue to cook remaining cubes until very tender, about 5 minutes more, then drain, reserving liquid, and mash until smooth. Let cubes and mashed pumpkin cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl, whisk together bread flour, semolina flour, yeast,1 tablespoon salt, cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. Add mashed pumpkin, butter and 1-cup reserved pumpkin water at 90º to 100ºF; using hands, stir to form soft dough. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.

Flatten dough with palm. Sprinkle with â…“ of the pumpkin cubes, then gently fold and turn dough over cubes to incorporate. In two additions, repeat with remaining cubes. Brush a large bowl with oil, then turn dough in bowl to coat. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a warm, draft-free place, until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1½ hours.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Shape dough into a 5-inch round loaf; press any exposed pumpkin cubes into dough. Place on a baking sheet and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in warm, draft-free place until almost doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.

Heat oven to 400ºF with rack in middle. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on bottom, about 45 minutes. Transfer bread to wire rack; let cool completely.
Yields: 1 loaf

Recipe adapted from La Cucina Italiana