I have always considered myself somewhat a carb addict (I have been known to polish off Brassiere Bread’s sour cherry loaf over the course of a couple of hours), and with the recent popularity of rustic bread (think Sonoma, Black Star, Bourke Street, Luxe etc) I have gone somewhat overboard – whenever I see an interesting loaf I will buy it!
Naturally, the next step was to start making my own. Bread making is something that I’ve wanted to do for a while, but I the concept of culturing yeast and kneading the dough all seemed a little bit too scary – until I was inspired by a work colleague who convinced me that it was easy! I committed myself to the task and spent several weeks culturing a starter (you wouldn’t believe how excited I became about coming home each night to ‘feed’ it!). Of course, the consequence of having a jug of starter in the fridge is that all bread that I make now needs to be of the sourdough kind – after all the effort to culture a starter there is no way I’m going to throw it out!
After trying a basic loaf (which I will admit was a little too dense), I have been experimenting with more ‘sophisticated breads’. The most recent, of which the recipe is posted below, is a pumpkin sourdough loaf with an oat and cardamom swirl. If I were to make this again, I would make a few changes. Firstly, I would knead the oats through the bread rather than as a swirl (as pretty as that is, after slicing most of the oats fell out). I would also add a teaspoon of sugar or honey. This bread is a great accompaniment to soup!
Pumpkin sourdough loaf with oat and cardamom
500g bread flour
80g mature starter
7g instant dried yeast
400 g roasted pumpkin puree
30g canola oil (if you have a nut based oil – e.g. walnut oil – use that)
1 tsp salt
¼ cup rolled oats
1 tsp ground cardamom
Egg white, beaten
Mixed nuts/seeds for decoration
- Combine flour, and dried yeast in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the pumpkin, milk, oil, and salt. Blend together. (as mentioned above, I recommend added a tsp of sugar or honey at this stage)
- Stir/knead until a dough forms.
- Add the starter and continue to knead. If the dough is still very wet add more flour. Knead until dough is elastic in appearance (should only take a couple of minutes).
- Shape the dough into a ball and place in a oiled bowl, cover with cling wrap and leave a room temperature for about 1 hour or until it’s doubled in size.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Punch down the dough and knead briefly.
- Flatten the dough roughly into a rectangle (with the width of your loaf tin), sprinkle with oat and cardamom and then roll it up to create an oat and cardamom swirl. (Depending on the size of your tin you may be able to make two loaves).
- Line a large loaf tin, with baking paper. Place the rolled dough into the tin and cover with an oiled plastic wrap and proof for about 45 mins until doubled.
- Preheat oven to about 190-200C.
- Brush top of loaf with egg white and sprinkle the nuts/ seeds on the top.
- Bake for around 35 minutes or until cooked and golden brown.