Oct 15, 2014

Italian pumpkin rye bread

I'm changing my ideas about bread/pizza/focaccia making. I'm falling in love with the Italian chef, Gabriele Bonci...

Italian pumpkin rye bread (by Gabriele Bonci)
adapted from La Prova del Cuoco, Il Grande Libro delle Ricette (a book I got in Italy)
time: all day (mostly inactive)

1 1/4 cup (350 g) pumpkin puree
3 1/3 cup (800 ml) flour+ extra for kneading 
1 teaspoon (3 1/2 g) dry yeast

1 Tablespoon olive oil
poppy seeds for finishing

Prepare pumpkin puree. I had a 3lb (11/2 kg) pumpkin. Made the puree, used some for the bread and the rest for a risotto. Peel pumpkin, remove seeds. Chop it into chunky pieces. On a large skillet, heat 1-2 Tablespoon olive oil on medium heat. Add pumpkin, cook for about 40 min (on medium/low) till it looks like a puree, stirring when necessary and adding water (I added 1/2 cup) when needed. Salt to taste toward the end of the process (a little more if you want your bread to be salty too). Remove from the heat. Using a blender, blend till all smooth. Set it aside, let it cool.

Prepare bread. In a bowl of a standing mixer equipped with a needle attachment, sift in flour and yeast. Add pumpkin puree. Knead on low speed for about 15 minutes till dough is smooth and not sticky. Add a couple of Tablespoons of water if dough is too tough. Transfer the dough onto a rolling board sifted with some additional flour, knead with your hands for about 1-2 minutes to give it a smooth shape. Grease the mixing bowl (OK if the same, no need to wash it) with 1 Tablespoon oil. Move the dough back to the bowl, cover it (the bowl) with a plastic wrap and set it in a warm place for 5-6 hours. It should double of triple in size.

Line two medium bowls with clean cloths.

Flip the dough on a prepared rolling board sifted with little flour. Split the dough in two. Cover your hands and the dough with flour. With your hands, knead each part for about 1-2 minutes, making smooth shapes. Place them into the prepared bowls. Make sure dough is lightly covered with flour. Cover with the overhanging cloth and let it rest for about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to the max.

Flip the two doughs onto a half-baking sheet. Spread poppy seeds on top. Using scissors, make cuts. One around in the middle and four on the sides.

Set the breads into the hot oven. Right away, lower the temperature of the oven to 180C/360F and bake for about 1 hour till there is light coloring. Remove from the oven.

  • * the recipe calls for 1/2 kg (about 1 lb) white flour; 
  • every time I play with flours, I use volume, not weight, as a guide; 
  • this time, I just filled up 3 1/3 cup ( = 1/2 kg white flour) with 50% whole rye and 50% white wheat flour;
  • the recipe is by Signore Bonci which is becoming my idol when it comes to pizza, focaccia and bread making; he appears regularly in this RaiUno cooking show I watch quite regularly;
  • he uses less yeast, only dry yeast, no oil in the dough or the baking pan, longer rising time... those some of his ideas that I started to apply;
  • the pumpkin bread turned out fantastic; I love the crust, the hardiness (thanks to rye flour) and the subtle taste of the pumpkin.


  1. I love this bread Ela!! Look delicious!
    And I love to make bread !!!

  2. Ela what a beautiful bread I would love a loaf of this with my tea! Beautiful flavours :)

  3. Lovely! I like bread made with just a few ingredients and the crust looks fantastic.

  4. Anonymous10/16/2014

    i just made live faux grass, this rye bread will be a good pairing for sure!!!

  5. This bread looks wonderful Ela! Love how few ingredients there are in here and the pumpkin is perfect for fall :)

  6. Hi Ela, this bread looks amazing, love the simplicity of the ingredients!

  7. Hey Ela, this is a Gorgeous bread .. Can't believe its just made with just 4 simple ingredients. . How amazing is that. . Love it. .:)

  8. Wow...love how you started with fresh roasted pumpkin and made this with just a few more ingredients. Such an interesting recipe. That crust looks terrific.

  9. Nothing better than freshly baked bread with butter! Yours looks terrific, Ela!

  10. Never heard of this chef but just adoring this bread with pumpkin puree. Got to try it, looks amazing.

  11. Yummm. I love making any and all homemade breads - this looks so so good!

  12. This looks like the most perfect breakfast!

  13. Love homemade breads and yours looks absolutely PERFECT, Ela!

  14. I make rolls more than breads, Ela, but your pumpkin loaf looks marvelous. I'm not familiar with Chef Bonci, but I sure like her bread!

  15. Rustic, inviting and with beautiful colour. Goodness of rye and pumpkin is there too!

  16. I can see why you'd fall in love with her. What beautiful little loaves and with a touch of pumpkin, perfect for autumn!

  17. Mouthwatering! I love the rustic quality of those breads.