I chose to bake a loaf of bread that day. It's a Saturday and I thought since I have brought my work home, i should bake something that doesn't take up too much of my time. I can leave the kneading to my breadmaker and after which I just have to proof the dough, give it a good punch, shape, proof and bake.
I chose this honey pumpkin bread recipe from Min's blog. I wanted to bake something that I have not attempted before yet I do not wish to spend too much shaping buns. I've always wanted to attempt Tangzhong bread but it was out for me on that day. I could only make do with the direct method. So finally I decided to try this pumpkin bread. At least incorporating a mashed ingredient is something new for me, and it sounds so healthy with pumpkin added. I could still eat the pumpkin if there are leftovers.
The aunties at the supermarket was kind enough to cut a portion of the pumpkin so that I do not have to buy the entire pumpkin. I cut the pumpkin into big chunks (with the skin on) and steam for about 15 minutes. Then i scooped out the flesh and mashed it with a fork.
I had been using my trusted breadmaker to knead the bread dough for a long time since I bought it. This is how the invention of machines makes people lazy. :P
As usual, I dumped everything in sequence into the breadmaker to knead the dough. Halfway through, the maker started making a squeaking sound, and it stopped. I reckon that it got stuck so I shifted the dough so that the blade was able to move again. After a while, the blade got stuck again. I believed that the mashed pumpkin made the dough too thick that the blade was unable to move smoothly. I decided to add the butter (earlier than usual) to soften the dough. However, it didn't work. In fact due to overheating, the breadmaker stopped functioning. I stopped the machine to let it cooled down for a while. From my previous encounters, it would work after cooling down. To my dismay, it was still unable to start up its "engine".
Looking at the sticky pile of dough covered with greasy butter, I had no choice but to knead it with my hands. As I mentioned, I had not been kneading bread dough since the day I bought this breadmaker (you can refer to when I bought it!). My initial plan to have a fuss-free day of baking was shattered as I washed my hands thoroughly and began with the sticky pile.... to my surprise, it wasn't as difficult as I thought. After a few kneads and turns, the butter began to incorporate into the dough and was getting smoother. I didn't wait till I passed the window pane test. I stopped after about 15-20 minutes, when the dough was smooth and slightly elastic.
The first proofing was perfect and so was the second proofing. Unlike some occasions where the proofed dough did not rise very high, this time round, it rised to almost the brim of the pullman tin, raising my hope of a perfect square. Yep a perfect square! It was a beautiful loaf with the orange hue, from fresh pumpkin with no added colouring. The texture was really soft and fluffy even though I did not knead it till 100% perfect. It tasted plain, like any white bread but knowing it contains wholesome goodness, I simply love it. If I had pumpkin seeds, I would certainty included it. I bought this bread slicer from Elyn and was was finally able to use it. With this handy tool, my bread slices were still disastrous! I think I just have to be patient, and with that, I don't need this tool at all? :P
Honey Pumpkin Bread Loaf
150g mashed pumpkin
280g bread flour
3/4 tsp instant yeast
1/8 tsp salt
30g unsalted butter
80g pumpkin seeds if using
- Cut pumpkin into big chunks, remove the seeds and steam over high heat for about 15 minutes, until the pumpkin is soft (if you can insert a chopstick). Remove water and let it cool.
- Remove the pumpkin skin and weigh out 150g of pumpkin flesh. Mash it with a fork. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients (except butter) together to form a dough. Then, keep kneading for about 8 minutes until the dough is no longer sticky to the hands.
- But butter into cubes and knead it into the dough. At first, the dough will be sticky and your hands will be a messy lump. Just continue kneading, turning 90 degree clockwise after each knead. The dough will slowly smoothen and become elastic. It is ready when you are able to stretch the dough to a sheer thin layer without breaking.
- Round the dough, and put it in a bowl, cover with cling wrap or damp cloth and let it proof until double in size, about 1 hour.
- After the first proofing, punch out the air, divide into three equal portions and let it rest for about 20 minutes.
- Roll the three doughs into a swiss roll style and place them in a pullman tin, with the sealed portion at the bottom. (if you are using pumpkin seeds, spray the surface of the dough with water, roll the dough over a pan of pumpkin seeds and place the dough in the tin.
- Sprinkle the surface with water (I didn't do that) and let it proof again for another 60 minutes. (preheat the oven at 190 degree celsius about 30 minutes in advance)
- Cover the tin with its cover, and bake in preheated oven for 35 -40 minutes.
- When done, remove from the tin and let it cool.