Please don’t throw up on my blog. Thanks.
If I told you to trust me, would you? Sure you would! Have I ever led you astray. Actually, I don’t want to know the answer to that.
Back to the bread.
You’re going to like it.
This Harvest Squash bread is a dense, impressive looking loaf. You make this for dinner and I guarantee ya few people will believe you baked it. Not to insult your baking abilities or anything.
The bread has an odd, almost soda bread flavor to it because of the flax meal that’s used but it’s tasty and this is coming from someone who absolutely can not stand soda bread. I prefer this bread as toast with honey butter slathered on while the toast is still warm.
This a two-part recipe: the first part is a biga and the second is mixing it all together. I guess it could be three parts if you want to roast your own butternut squash – which I didn’t do because I’m lazy.
Biga Recipe [Make this the day before.]
- 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup lukewarm water
- 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
Make sure whatever you’re mixing this up in is at least four cups big. You might not need that much room but you don’t want to find out the hard [and messy] way when you’re scraping biga off of your floor since it overflowed the bowl in the night.
Add your three ingredients to the bowl and give it just a few stirs – you only want everything to be damp. Don’t worry too much if there’s some dry flour at the bottom; over mixing is not your friend here.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap
Set the bowl at the back of your counter and let it hang out there for at least 12 hours. 16 hours would be better. I generally mix mine up when I’m making dinner.
Harvest Squash Bread Recipe
- 2 3/4 to 3 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup mashed butternut squash – canned works well
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup flax meal
- 2 tablespoon flax seeds
- cornmeal for the baking sheet
- 1 egg for the top of the bread
- some flax seeds for sprinkling
- cast iron skillet – I’ll explain later.
If your biga bowl was big enough, you can just mix your bread up in that bowl and not dirty another dish. If it’s not big enough then dump the biga [which should be all spongy] in a big mixing bowl.
Add your cup of squash, the yeast, the water and the salt. Mix the biga and the new stuff with a wooden spoon until it’s as smooth as you can get it. Now add your flax meal and the flax seeds.
Add half of the flour and mix to as smooth as you can get. Add the rest of the flour about a tablespoon at a time. I’m not joking here. Really. One tablespoon at a time. Depending on the humidity outside, you may not need all of the flour.
You’re going to get to this point and be quite sure you need more flour than I’ve told you to use. Friends don’t let friends use more flour. This going to be a stickyish dough. Just deal with it.
Flop it out onto your counter that has a little flour hanging out on it. Kneed the dough for eight minutes. I always set my timer and forget about my burning arms. Flour your hands a couple of times if you need to but it’s still going to be kind of sticky when it’s all said and done. That’s OK. Promise. Form it into a tidy ball.
Take a big bowl and drizzle some oil in the bowl. Plop your bread dough ball in there – seam side up – and then flop it over. The goal here is to have the ball covered in a very thin film of oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm spot for 11/2 hours until it’s doubled in size.
Punch the dough down and turn it back out on your counter. Push it pretty much flat to get rid of the gas that’s built up. Cut the smooshed dough into two equal parts and form them into little, cute balls of dough.
Sprinkle your cookie sheet with a bit of cornmeal and place your balls of dough on the sheet. Cover the dough with some more plastic wrap and let them rise for an hour or until they’ve doubled in size.
Take off the plastic wrap, set your oven to 375°, put your cast iron skillet on the bottom wrack and separate the egg out into yolk and white. Whisk the white until it’s foamy and brush it on the top of your bread balls and along the sides. Take a sharp nice and slice the bread maybe an 1/8 – 1/4 of an inch down in an X pattern.
Sprinkle the top of the loaves with some flax seeds. Dump a cup of water into the skillet, shove the cookie sheet onto the rack above the skillet and shut the door.
Bake for thirty minutes – it should sound hollow when you tap on the top and the bottom of a loaf and it should look like this:
-  I used Press’n Seal with all but a corner not attached to the bowl. ↩
-  I always just wash my mixing bowl and use it cause it’s big. ↩
-  I use olive oil but you’re probably not supposed to so don’t listen to me. ↩
-  Sorry! That sounds nasty but I couldn’t think of a better term! ↩
-  Again with the Press’n Seal. ↩
-  Really beat the crap out of it. ↩