We are big fans of eating seasonal food in our house and so I wanted to make some Halloween appropriate food, but food that wasn’t novelty. We’ve done our share of spooky themed meals over the years but this time round, I wanted to make some simple but delicious food that was easy to make with the kids.
I’ve eaten 2 delicious pumpkin soups this week, so my first thought was to make my own pumpkin soup from the inside of the carving pumpkins but some research into “can I eat a carving pumpkin” suggests that while it would be safe to eat, there are other types of pumpkin or squash that would make nicer soup. Hubbard squash or a sugar pumpkin will apparently make sweeter and tastier soup or pie – the idea being that carving pumpkins are cultivated for their size, shape and stalk rather than their tasty flesh.
Inspired by the Hotpoint bread making course that I went on at Jamie’s Cookery School in Westfield last week, we are going to make simple white bread shapes to dip in our soup.
On the course we also made brown filled bread, rosemary salted focaccia and then ate it dipped in fondue (you can find the recipe here if you’re interested) – the photos above are of my focaccia and brown bread crown, but I thought the white shapes were the nicest dipped into the soup. The pumpkin soup recipe we had on the day can be found on that link, but I also think that a pumpkin and ginger veloute makes a lovely little starter.
The main thing I took away from the bread making course is that it can be really easy (and satisfying) to make your own bread and it really doesn’t take that long. It is also perfect to do with children – there are only really a couple of stages combined with a little bit of waiting for proving and baking, which I think makes it easier when involving your kids as they don’t need to pay attention for long. You could always make 2 bowls of dough and then only cook the one you’ve made which would give younger children the opportunity to get involved with the kneading alongside you but mean that you don’t have to stress about trying to get it done properly – or cook both and use it as a demonstration of why the kneading is required! Older kids can bash out some frustration during the kneading and may find discussion of gluten changing shape rather fascinating…
Easy white bread for shaping
- 3 cups of bread flour
- 1 tbsp of sugar
- 1.5 tsps of salt
- 2 tsps of dried yeast
- approx 1 & 1/4 cup of lukewarm water
You will also need:
- large mixing bowl
- baking sheet
- measuring jug
- pinch pot or small bowl containing a small amount of flour
- cling film or damp cloth
- clean rolling surface
- Measure out the water in the jug, add sugar and yeast and leave to stand for around 10 minutes.
- Measure the flour and salt into the bowl
- Use the fork to agitate the yeast mixture in the water and making sure all the yeast comes out too, tip 1/3 to 1/2 into the flour. Use the fork to mix.
- Pour in the remainder of the mixture and continue mixing into the flour using your hands.
- Tip out onto a clean floured surface and combine and knead for about 15 minutes. At first this will be difficult but after a while it will go soft and silky. You will know when it is ready when you “poke it like it is gross” and it springs back.
- Spray the bottom of the large mixing bowl with a little olive oil, put the dough back in, cover with cling film or a damp cloth and place in a warm place for an hour or so.
- During this “proving” phase (which proves the yeast is alive and working) the dough should roughly double in size.
- Once this has occurred, tip the dough back out on a floured surface and “knock it back” – this just means removing all the air pockets by punching it gently until it is flat.
- Divide it into portions and shape. Rolls can be made by rolling into balls, or you can try plaiting by making little rolled out worms, or twisted baguettes, or a wheat sheaf like I did below by making a sausage shape and using an oiled knife to cut into the sides.
- Place the shapes on a floured baking tray and allow to rise again for around 30 minutes.
- Pre-heat the oven to 200C
- Brush the shapes with either milk or egg – the knot in the photo below was egg which makes it shiny, the other two were milk. Sprinkle with seeds if desired.
- Bake in the oven for around 20-30 minutes until golden brown.
Thanks to Currys and Hotpoint for inviting me as a guest at Jamie’s Cookery School’s #autumnalbakes bread making course.