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Pan de Calabaza (Pumpkin Bread)

Fleischmann's Active Dry Yeast

Arrowhead Mills Organic Unbleached White Flour

Optional Ingredients

You May Already Have
Spice Supreme Ground Ginger

Domino Granulated White Sugar

La Baleine Fine Sea Salt

Wesson Vegetable Oil

From "A Blessing of Bread" by Maggie Glezer

1 small pie pumpkin or 1 sweet potato for 1/2 cup (4 ounces) purée (or use 1/2 cup canned pumpkin purée)
1 envelope (2 1/4 teaspoons/7grams/0.25 ounce) instant yeast
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
About 3 3/4 cups (7.6 ounces) bread flour
2/3 cup (5 ounces) warm water
1/3 cup (2.4 ounces) granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons (0.3 ounces) table salt
1/4 cup (1.9 ounces) vegetable oil
1 large egg, plus 1 for glazing
Sesame seeds for sprinkling (optional)

A Sephardic specialty adapted from a recipe in Gilda Angel's Sephardic Home Cooking, this gently spiced, ultra moist bread has a velvety pale orange crumb and stays soft for days, thanks to the pumpkin purée (which actually brings little flavor to the bread). You can use puréed baked sweet potato or Libby's brand pumpkin purée if you prefer using canned. Also, if your cardamom is freshly ground and powerfully fragrant, use the smaller amount; otherwise it may overwhelm the other flavors.

About the symbolism of pumpkin for Rosh Hashanah, Mrs. Angel writes, "Food made with pumpkin is served to express the hope that as this vegetable has been protected by a thick covering, God will protect us and gird us with strength."

Makes: Two 1-pound (450-gram) breads, one 1 1/2 -pound (680-gram) bread plus three rolls, or sixteen 2-ounce (60-gram) rolls.
Recipe Synopsis: If using fresh pumpkin or sweet potato, bake and purée. Make a yeast slurry, then beat in the remaining ingredients and mix the dough. Let the dough rise for 2 to 3 hours. Shape the loaves and let rise for about 1 1/2 hours. Bake the breads for 20 to 45 minutes, depending on their size.
Time Required: About 6 hours, not including the time for preparing the purée.

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