Saturday, April 07, 2012
Easter Egg Bread Loaves
I started with a bread recipe that uses pumpkin. The recipe started with raw pumpkin but I had a can of processed pumpkin so I used that. I added some garlic since I once made a yam bread that included garlic and it was a great flavor combination so I figured that this bread could profit from a little garlic, too. The pumpkin gave the dough a lovely golden color.
For the decorations I decided to use a flour and water paste as is sometimes done to make the cross on hot cross buns, but I divided it into two ZipLoc plastic bags. One was flavored with finely minced parsley and colored with a few drops of green food color. The other one was given a shot of catsup and a drop of red food coloring. As you can see in the photos the green kept its color better than the red during baking. Each egg was sliced across toward the top and bottom to give the dough room to expand in the oven. I put a band of the red paste across those, then added a green zig-zag and dots and then some red dots, too. The end result was two colorful loaves that look a bit like colored Easter eggs and smell like the best bread.
I intend to wait until tomorrow to slice up the one I made for Sweetie and me and I look forward to surprising Grandma with her own loaf of colorful Easter cheer. This bread is supposed to make a fine soft bread that toasts well. We will see.
Happy Easter to those who celebrate it!
Savory Easter Eggs
Based on Pumpkin Bread in Flavored Breads by Linda Collister
14 oz. canned pumpkin puree (Not pumpkin pie filling)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 packet (about 2.25 oz.) active dry yeast proofed in 1/4 cup lukewarm water
3 cups (more or less) bread flour
extra flour for dusting
1/2 cup flour
Mix the pumpkin puree and olive oil in a a large bowl. Mix in the sea salt and sugar. Set aside.
Add the proofed yeast to the pumpkin mixture.
Stir in 1 cup of flour. Let sit 2 minutes. Stir in another cup of flour. Let sit 2 minutes. Stir in enough additional flour to make a shaggy dough. Turn out onto a floured board and knead in additional flour. Dough will be soft but not sticky.
Put into an oiled proofing bowl or container, turning dough over to coat with oil. Set in a warm draft free place, lightly covered with plastic wrap or a shower cap, until double in bulk. (I had to leave the dough for 3-4 hours, so I set it in the fridge and did the proofing when I returned. It was time to cook dinner, not shape bread, when it had doubled, so I punched it down in the proofing container, pulled the edges of the dough over the ball of dough a few timed, made sure it was still coated with oil, then let it rise again. In general, you can do this a number of times and the bread will be better for it if you have the time.)
Turn the dough out onto a floured board and divide in half. Shape each half into an egg shape, being sure to pull the edges of dough under the dough ball to form a 'skin'. It may be necessary to knead in additional flour as you shape the loaves in order to have a dough firm enough to retain the egg shape. Place shaped egg (loaf) on baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat silicon mat, cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise until almost doubled.
While loaves are doubling, mix together the 1/2 cup flour with just enough water to make a thick paste. Divide in half and put each half into a plastic bag that can be sealed. To one bag add 1 tablespoon finely minced parsley and a few drops green food coloring. Mix the paste with the parsley and coloring until completely. Mixed. Repeat with another bag, the rest of the paste, about a tablespoon catsup and a drop or two of red food coloring.
Once loaves have doubled, use a sharp knife to score each egg towards the top and towards the bottom across the egg shape. Cut a small corner out of the red paste bag and pipe the paste over each score. Cut a slightly larger corner out of the green paste bag and pipe a green zig-zag shape across the center of each egg, then pipe dots toward the top and bottom of each egg. Pipe some dots from the red paste bag if desired.
Shortly before loaves have doubled preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Decorate the eggs as described above. Bake the decorated loaves in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. Loaf will sound hollow when the bottom is tapped. Let cool before slicing. If you want to make yours a gift, too, you can place the egg(s) in a basket that has been lined with the Easter grass that is shredded paper. Add a bow if you like and watch the recipient's joy at having an Easter present that isn't candy (or give them candy, too). Makes two small loaves.