Saturday, November 14, 2009

Gourds and Pumpkins of Fall and Meeting Sparkle Plenty

Howard's Station in Occidental California is a great little place to have breakfast. There are all sorts of breakfast foods to choose from, great photos of turn of the 20th century Occidental when it was still a lumber town with a railroad going through it, the waitresses and waiters are fast and funny, the coffee is strong...and this time of year they have a wonderful assortment of gourds, pumpkins and other winter squash as decor. This grouping is at the front door.

We had breakfast there this morning with friends. Sweetie even kept one of his heart shaped biscuits (yes, freshly made, yummy, biscuits) for the Bread Baker's Dog. No photo of the biscuit...Xam ate it too quickly to photograph.

While we are on the subject of pumpkins, Sparkle Plenty, a friend of a friend whom I met a week ago and baked bread with...surely a great way to become friends...passed along two beautiful little sugar pumpkins this week. One has already been baked, seeded and scooped, almost ready to be turned into pumpkin pie (maybe tomorrow). The other is decorating my deck. Since nights have been in the 30s, this 'outdoor refrigerator' is perfect for hard shelled squash keeping.

A quick check of past posts shows that I never posted about the baking day. Arcadian invited me to her lovely home in Oakmont for lunch. I brought along some of the 2 Squash Soup to share. Sparkle Plenty made a perfectly wonderful veggie quiche in an oatmeal crust. I loved the combination of mushrooms and peppers and the rich filling, but the crust was amazing...crisp and crunchy but not crumbly...the perfect textural contrast to the smooth filling. She sent me the link to the Food Network recipe. Sparkle used Swiss cheese so we are going to call it Carmelized Onion, Mushroom and Swiss Quiche with Oat Crust and the link is here:

The bread we baked together is quite used shredded wheat biscuits as part of the dough.

The dough is to play with and perfect for creating the shaped rolls we made.
It can also be used to create the wheat sheaf bread for autumn (you knew I'd sneak autumn in again, didn't you?) since it is the dough that was used to make the wheat sheaf in the book, not the milk bread I used.

A big 'thank you' goes to Arcadia for putting it all together and to Sparkle for the yummy quiche and those lovely pumpkins and the greens. We all hope to do another baking afternoon after the holidays at Sparkle's.

See what pretty rolls we made?

Wheat Bread Dough for Harvest Sheaf or Rolls
Makes 1 loaf or about a dozen rolls
From The Festive Bread Book by Kathy Cutler

1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon light molasses
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large shredded wheat biscuit
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 tablespoons warm water (105 - 115 degrees F)
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons wheat germ
2 eggs
2-2 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 egg, beater with 1 tablespoon water for Glaze

Heat milk, butter, honey, molasses, salt, and crumbled shredded wheat biscuit to warm (105 - 115 degrees F). Dissolve yeast in warm water. Set aside for 5 minutes.

Combine yeast mixture, milk mixture, and whole wheat flour. Mix thoroughly.

Add wheat germ, eggs, and enough all-purpose flour to make a soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth - about 10 minutes.

Place in greased bowl, turning to coat top. Cover; let rise in warm place until double - about 1 1/2 hours.

Punch down dough. Shape into loaf, braided loaf, wheat sheaf (see Bread Baker's Dog for directions) or rolls.

Cover; let rise in warm place until doubled - about 30 minutes. Gently glaze with egg wash.
Bake in a preheated 375 degrees F oven about 25 - 30 minutes or until done. Cool on wire rack.

This is my attempt at a four strand braid on a small loaf...looks pretty crazy, but was yummy anyway. That is the fun thing about this can play with it.


  1. Wow, serious front porch envy!

    This dough looks great -- and the shredded wheat is an interesting touch! I use tons of cereal in making desserts.. but never the shredded wheat, and I've never used it in a bread. Gonna have to try that.

  2. Shredded Wheat? Woah! We'll have to give that a try!

    Love the pumpkins / gourds!

  3. Those rolls look nice and tender.
    A four-strand challah is still on my to-do list.