Recently I had lunch with Martha and Allen Levie who own Abagail’s Oven. Their newest family member, Moroni Washington, or captain as he is affectionately called around the house, was peacefully sleeping for the entire luncheon.
During lunch, they told us about Abagail, their daughter, who started helping her mom bake at age 8. By age 10 she had her own bread business, delivering loaves to the neighbors under the name of Abigail’s Oven.
She is nineteen now and has most of the family involved in the full-time bakery in Spanish Fork, Utah. There her parents own and operate the business still under Abigail’s original name.
During the lunch, Allen said that I could begin blogging for the bakery. He gave me a few suggestions then. Later he sent more by email later. I was intrigued but had to settle on one or two to get started. Being this time of year I choose “Halloween Bread” and asked for their recipe; they had none.
I guess I could have made it black or orange, or given it a scary face. But stopping later at Trader Joe’s I decided to use their spiced cider and pumpkin. However, this was going to just be an experiment. True, among the three perfect ingredients, there is no cider and no pumpkin, but I had successfully traded out the water for applesauce in a loaf twice. So here is my recipe ( I have made it twice and it is quite nice to eat).
Harvest Pumpkin Bread
Prep time: 30 min | Proof time: 8–12 hours | Cook time 30 mins | Total time 9-13 hours
- 1/8 cup sourdough starter fully reconstituted and active
- 1 cup pumpkin puree (canned or homemade [peel and clean pumpkin, cut into chunks, cover with water and boil about 10 minutes or until soft enough to mash with a fork.)
- 1 cups apple cider ( I used Trader Joe’s Spiced Apple Cider)
- 4 cups (blend bread flour with home ground wheat and rye)
- 1/2 T salt
- 1/2 T pumpkin pie spice
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds or pepitas split between the dough and the top.
- The night before (or at least 3-4 hours) feed your sourdough start by combining at least 2 tablespoons of sourdough-starter with 1/4 cup water, and 1/3 cup of flour (whole wheat flour works best).
Stir until flour is mixed in and wet, cover loosely and let at room temperature overnight. This should be quite active the next morning.
- In the morning combine the active start with two cups of tepid water.
- Mix in 4 cups of flour until it is well combined and sticky.
- Set this mixture aside for 30 minutes then add, 1/2 cups pumpkin seeds, 1/2 T pumpkin pie spice, 1/2 T salt with 1/8 cup additional water.
- Wet hands and dig into one side of the dough, pulling the dough over itself in a fold. Turn bowl and repeat three turns. Set aside, covered for 30 minutes.
- Then pester the dough with wet hands again by digging in and pulling the dough over itself in a fold. Turn bowl and repeat three turns (as shown above). Set aside, covered for 30 minutes.
- Repeat this in 30 minutes. Then let the dough rest for 8 hours or more until doubled (overnight is great).
- When doubled, dump the dough onto a floured surface to rest 30 more minutes.
- Flour your hands and shape the dough ( It is best to use as little flour at this point as possible). To shape the dough grab one end fold it up in half. Then, use both hands to fold it over again three more times, with a quarter rotation every time.
- After the dough is gathered the last time, moisten the surface and press it into the remaining 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, turn it seed side down in a container lined with a tea towel for the final rise, which may take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour.
- When it is double, score the top with a sharp knife and place it into a hot (465° F) preheated dutch-oven. Add 1/4 cup water, cover, and bake for 30 min.
- When golden brown, turn off the heat, but leave in dutch-oven in the oven to cure and cool for 2 hours
- Serve with butter or pumpkin butter and enjoy
Author: Darryl Alder, retired Scouter and outdoorsman, who spent too many hours over a campfire using a dutch oven.