Sweet Pumpkin Bread

Sweet Pumpkin Bread
Pane Dolce di Zucca
by Paula Marcoux
Freely adapted from Lynne Rossetto Kasper’s excellent
The Italian Country Table; Home Cooking from Italy’s Farmhouse Kitchens
(New York: Scribner, 1999)

  • Zest of one orange, pared off with a vegetable peeler
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1½ cups (14 ounces) winter squash puree (roasted or steamed and mashed)
  • 1 cup milk, scalded and cooled
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon yeast
  • 5 ounces whole wheat flour
  • 20 ounces of unbleached white flour
  • 1½ cups raisins

Instructions after the jump…
Mince together orange zest and rosemary leaves to infinitesimal smallness. In a small pan, combine this mixture with the olive oil and warm a few minutes over a low flame until aromatic. Set aside to cool a bit.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook, combine the above mixture with the rest of the ingredients, holding back the raisins until the flour is incorporated. Mix on second speed for 5 minutes. This can be done by hand with a wooden spoon if you’re tough.
Scrape dough hook and sides of bowl with a spatula, consolidating dough. Cover bowl with a plate or with plastic wrap secured with a rubber band. Set timer for 40 minutes, at which time flour a counter, ease the dough out of the bowl in one blob, stretch it out on all sides, and fold it like a letter, first on one axis, then the other. Try to incorporate as little flour as possible into the dough when you handle it.
Plop it gently back into the bowl, cover, and set timer and repeat.
After the second folding session, let it rest another 40 minutes, then divide the dough in two, shape two nice round loaves and place on greased baking sheets. Cover (I put the whole shebang in a big plastic bag and tie closed) and let rise an hour. Meanwhile preheat oven to 450 degrees. (Note: If you are the sort of baker who uses a baking stone and proofs in bannetons, do it up.)
Slash an X into the loaves just before setting them in the oven. Bake for ten minutes at 450, then turn oven down to 350, and bake until loaves look golden brown and sound a bit hollow when tapped from below, about 50 minutes. Cool on racks before slicing.

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