Friday, November 20, 2020


One of the many reasons I love no-knead breads is because of how forgiving, yet rewarding, they are. They are incredibly handy for beginners in baking, too, as they do not require much effort.
As kneading can be a bit daunting when people immerse themselves into working with yeast breads for the first time, these are especially useful, because they only need to be vigorously stirred. It takes just a few hours from start to finish, and the little loaf is ready to be shared and enjoyed.
This particular emerald beauty has an unexpected but welcome addition of pumpkin seed flour, giving it a slightly nutty, and incredibly rich flavour, as well as a gorgeous colour. It also gives a bit of fat to the loaf, since pumpkin seed is naturally higher in fat.
The reason why I mention the fat content is that lean breads have a tendency to become stale rather quickly, so adding a bit of fat helps them remain fresh for longer. My choice is always sunflower oil, for its neutral flavour, but light olive oil works just as well, of course.
This loaf holds its shape quite well, but if you wish for it to have an old-fashioned boule shape, you can most certainly bake it in a small round pan. To me, it is beautiful just as it is; perfect for serving with soups and stews, and also lightly toasted and served with a tangy jam, such as apricot or apple.

200 grams plain flour
50 grams pumpkin seed flour
10 grams granulated sugar
5 grams salt
170 millilitres lukewarm water
25 grams fresh yeast
30 millilitres vegetable oil

Crumble the fresh yeast into a small bowl, add in the water and sugar, whisk well, and let the yeast bubble up and activate. Sift both flours into a large bowl, add the salt, and whisk well. Once the yeast is fragrant and dissolved, make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, and add it in, along with the oil. Vigorously stir with a wooden spoon until a very soft dough forms. It will look scraggly, but that is fine. Once ready, cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise in a warm spot for about an hour, up to an hour and a half, until it doubles in size.
When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a large baking sheet lined with baking parchment. It will be soft, but using a bit of flour, it is possible to be shaped into a loaf. It does not have to be perfectly round. Let it rise for another 20 minutes or so, while the oven is preheating, and then bake it at 220°C, for about 20-25 minutes, checking often after 20 minutes, so it does not burn. Once baked, generously mist the surface with cold water. This will make it very soft and slightly chewy once cooled. Let it cool slightly, and as soon as you are comfortable handling it, tear it into wedges, and serve. Yields 4 generous servings.

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