Dan Lepard's pumpkin sesame olive bread
A bold little tear-and-share loaf with a golden pumpkin crumb studded with green olives.
The toasted sesame top and deep cuts is a nod to Cyprus' koulouri bread, the original tear and share loaf, and a great one when you've got friends around as you can just rip into it with your hands at the table. More finger-licking food, that's what we need.
150g cooked peeled pumpkin
175g warm water
1 tsp fast-action yeast
100g thick yoghurt
120g pitted green olives, sliced or halved
400g white bread flour, extra if needed
1 tsp ground mahleb or cardamom
2 tsp salt
olive oil for kneading
30g sesame seeds
1 tsp nigella seeds
1. Mash the pumpkin in a bowl, stir in the water then whisk in the yeast until dissolved. Mix in the yoghurt and olives, then add the flour, mahleb or cardamom, and salt and mix everything to a soft dough, adding more flour if the dough feels very sticky. (When you have cooked or grated vegetables in bread dough, the salt will draw moisture out and the dough will get even softer as it rises, so aim for a dough that's slightly firmer than you would normally make.)
2. Knead the dough until smooth on a floured (or oiled) surface then return it to the bowl and leave for about one hour somewhere warm until risen by half.
3. Then shape the dough into a stubby baton, brush with water, roll in the mix of seeds on a dinner plate then place on a baking tray lined with non-stick paper. Leave to rise for another hour, covered.
4. Heat the oven to 200C (fan-forced), score the dough with a blunt knife or scraper every 2-3 centimetres into portions but leave it bunched up close so they stick, then bake for about 40 minutes until a deep golden colour.
Makes one loaf