Bread, bread, bread. Need I say more?
I am a fan of things that are easy and also relatively quick to make. Bread is usually pretty easy but it has to rise for like 8 hours, and who has time for that? Not this girl. This recipe calls for sugar, which a lot of traditional ciabatta recipes don’t have. Many of the ciabatta recipes that I have used in the past do not have sugar, and usually take about 4-6 hours to rise depending on how drafty your house is. I’m pretty excited about this recipe since the sugar addition shortens the rise time to an hour and a half which means you can have delicious bread in less than 3 hours. This week I’ll be munchin’ on this loaf paired with one of my favorites, butternut squash soup.
I have been buying a lot of artisan breads to go with all the soups I have been making now that it’s starting to cool down. And, in the spirit of fall, pumpkin decided to join in on this party. I know that pumpkin has been popping up a lot lately now that the holidays are here, but the pumpkin in this bread is still very savory. The flavor is subtle in a way that will not distract from whatever dish you are serving it with. Or, you know – just slap some butter or PB on there and eat it as is. I wouldn’t be surprised if this loaf only lasts a few days! Luckily, the recipe makes two medium sized loaves.
Back to this whole pumpkin thing, I find the amount of pumpkin flavored things at the grocery store a tad overwhelming. I love pumpkin, but I don’t really want to eat pumpkin oatmeal, pumpkin peanut butter, pumpkin creamer, pumpkin…. ice cream!? Oh, that sounds like a great idea. More on that later though – I tend to take pumpkin puree and add it to some of my favorite foods to give it a lighter taste than the nutmeg overload I experience in a lot of products. This recipe is a standard ciabatta with pumpkin puree and adjusted flour to account for the additional moisture.
Easy Pumpkin Ciabatta Bread
Servings: 2 medium sized loaves
Time: 3 hours
- 5 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 1/4 cups warm water
- 1 package dry active yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp sugar
- Mix water, yeast, and sugar in a bowl. Allow yeast to proof for about 10 minutes. You should start to see some small bubbles forming.
- Place yeast mixture, flour, salt, and pumpkin puree in a mixer bowl fitted with a dough hook. Use a spatula to combine the mixture and allow to sit for an additional 10 minutes.
- Mix the dough on medium high speed for 12-15 minutes. The dough should still be sticky at this point but pull away from the sides of the bowl.
- Grease a medium sized bowl with olive oil. Place the dough into the bowl and cover with a dish cloth.
- Allow to rise for 1 1/2 hours in a warm place. I use the inside of the oven with the light on since it’s a little chilly in my house (thanks, Minnesota).
- After the dough has doubled, remove the dough from the bowl and place on a “somewhat heavily” floured baking sheet. It is recommended to use a silicone pad as well.
- Preheat oven to 500 deg F at this point in time. You will also want to place an empty baking sheet (with edges) on the lower rack while the oven is warming.
- Split the dough into two equal sized portions and begin to form two log like shapes. Shape the dough, tucking the ends under the edges of the loaf.
- Dust flour over the top of the logs. You may also sprinkle herbs or pumpkin seeds on top and lightly pat into the dough. I did this on one loaf with pumpkin seeds. Be sure to use raw or salted seeds that do not have any additional coating as it will burn in the oven.
- Once the oven is fully preheated, place the bread on the upper rack. At this point in time you may also pour a cup of water in the lower pan. Be careful as it will start to steam immediately.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until the loaves begin to brown.
- Cool thoroughly on a rack, be sure to wait at least 15 minutes before slicing if serving warm.