Rustic Pumpkin Seed Bread

Well, the rainy season has officially arrived. This was the scene on my street last week:

And this is the scene on my street this week (intentionally out of focus to emphasize the extreme dreariness):

I won’t complain. I spent several hours in my kitchen yesterday baking bread, mixing granola, and formulating cookie recipes to feed the hungry treat monster who lives with me. Not too long ago I mentioned that I had a wonderful bread recipe to share and after testing it once more yesterday, I am finally ready to post about it – Rustic Pumpkin Seed Bread:

[This is, admittedly, an older photo of the same bread. I was too lazy to photograph my finished loaf yesterday - or, uh, too busy devouring thick slices spread with homemade strawberry jam!]

This loaf is really simple to make because you don’t need a bread pan. You just shape the dough into a round (or oval) and bake it on a cookie sheet. It’s rustic because of ¬†whole grains, pumpkin seeds, and the addition of molasses. The end result is a crusty exterior and a soft, chewy interior with pumpkin seeds flecked throughout. Thanks to the molasses and pumpkin seeds, you get a nice dose of iron! Try it with your favorite bowl of soup for the perfect dreary day meal.

*If your home is colder this time of year, try turning your oven on at the lowest setting for a minute or two. Turn off the oven and let your dough rise inside for the perfect draft-free, cozy environment!

Rustic Pumpkin Seed Bread

Makes 1 loaf

1 cup warm water
4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup oat bran
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 cup warm water
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
Additional pumpkin seeds for sprinkling, if desired (about 1/4 cup)

  1. In a glass measuring cup, whisk together 1 cup water, yeast, and sugar. Set aside until frothy, about 5-10 minutes.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or large mixing bowl if you plan to knead by hand) stir together flours, salt, oat bran, and pumpkin seeds.
  3. Make a well in the center of your dry ingredients and pour in the yeast mixture. Stir in the additional 1 cup of water, oil, and molasses.
  4. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until a dough comes together. When it gets too difficult to stir, knead it with the dough hook on medium speed (or by hand on a well floured surface) for about 6-10 minutes. The dough should be slightly sticky, but easy enough to handle.
  5. Oil the bowl you mixed the dough in, shape the dough into a ball, and turn to coat with the oil. Cover the bowl and set in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1- 1.5 hours.
  6. Once the dough has risen, line a cookie sheet with parchment and dust generously with cornmeal. Punch the dough down, and shape into a round or oval loaf. Press the additional pumpkin seeds onto the top of the loaf (or roll the entire loaf in a variety of seeds for more texture). Place the dough onto the prepared baking sheet and let rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes – 1 hour.
  7. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees once the dough has doubled in size (make sure to take out your dough if it is rising in there!).
  8. Bake the bread for 30-35 minutes or until it is dark golden on top and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before slicing.

Enjoy your rustic bread with a nice bowl of piping hot soup, like this Potato Rosemary Soup from Vegan Soul Kitchen!