Photo by Sergio Arze/Unsplash
In a holiday buying frenzy, I overbought pumpkins to make pies over Christmas. The pumpkins were recently harvested and just delicious. I didn’t want to waste the pumpkin that I didn’t use, so I roasted the remaining amount. I planned to put it in the freezer to use at another time.
Like many of you, being stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic has brought out the inner gourmet chef in me. The price of artisan breads has gone up in my area, so I’ve been baking a lot of bread this past year to save money and to have something to do between work breaks.
This past weekend, I was flipping through my cookbooks looking for a new and interesting bread recipe to try, when thought popped into my head. What if I add that roasted pumpkin to my traditional French baguette recipe?
Immediately, the idea of a yellowish/orangish earthy-tasting baguette piqued my interest. Then I had to figure out how I would get the pumpkin into the bread. I didn’t want to mash it, as I would do if I was baking a quick, sweet bread. Then I figured it out — puree the pumpkin in the water used to bloom the yeast. It was the perfect solution.
This authentic recipe makes four baguettes.
- 1 tablespoon dry, active yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 4-5 cups all-purpose flour
You can use bread flour if you like your bread chewy. French baguettes have a lot of crumbs, and all-purpose flour works best to achieve the baguette's authentic texture.
- 3 cups warm water
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil or melted butter
- 1 cup of oven-roasted pumpkin
- Egg white
- Sesame seeds
- Blend the pumpkin and 1 1/2 cups of warm water in a blender and set aside.
- Blend the dry yeast, sugar, salt, and vegetable oil or butter in a mixing bowl.
- Pour the warm water blended with pumpkin into the mixing bowl. Mix well and let the mixture sit for about 10-15 minutes, which allows the yeast to start blooming.
- Add the all-purpose flour plus the remaining 1 1/2 cups of water to the bowl and mix well.
- Dust your countertop with flour and knead the dough until it’s like Silly Putty.
You can tell the dough is about right when you push your finger into the center to make a hole and the hole disappears in a few seconds. Next:
- Oil a clean mixing bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and let it rise for about 1 hour. Once the dough has risen, punch it down and cut it into four portions.
- Form baguettes and place them on a nonstick baking sheet. Alternatively place parchment paper on a regular baking sheet to create a nonstick surface.
Create an egg wash with one eggwhite and brush it on the formed baguettes. Sprinkle on sesame seeds for a flavor boost.
Let the baguettes rise for about 1 hour and bake them in an oven preheated to 325 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 20 minutes.
On day one, serve your scrumptious, light yellow baguettes with a unique and earthy flavor warm with a little butter and jam. On day two, slice the baguettes with a bread knife and make sandwiches. On day three, toast the remaining bread to serve on the side of a breakfast omelette or dip into your favorite hummus. Homemade baguettes keep at room temperature for up to three days.