Pumkin batch buns


400g strong bread flour
100g wholemeal bread flour
100g rye flour
300ml lukewarm water
100ml pumpkin puree
1 sachet (7g) fast action dried yeast
1 teaspoon olive oil

Words by:
Dominic Franks
Featured in:
November 2021

Whilst the traditional season for it may be drawing to a close, we must remember that the humble pumpkin is not just for Halloween… By Dominic Franks.

In fact all kinds of yummy squashes and pumpkins are grown in the UK (including the glorious fields of Lincolnshire). They are ready to be harvested from October all the way through to the end of December so we can enjoy them in soups and stews – and wonderful buns.

These pumpkin batch buns (I guess they should be pumpkin patch buns) are just so adorable, aren’t they? I love how rustic and autumnal they look but also the fact that they’re so tasty. All the yummy pumpkin puree and nutty seeds make for a wonderfully wholesome bread bun. Perfect for dunking in soups or mopping up the juices from a stew.

I’m using a mix of strong white flour, wholemeal bread flour and rye flour in these pumpkin batch buns as these are my favourites but you can really use whatever flours you like, although I’d advise you to keep it nice and wholemeal and nutty so it complements the pumpkin puree. If you’re not a fan of pumpkin, then you could use chestnut puree, or even leave it out altogether. I’ve also added pumpkin seeds into my bread mix. Just a tablespoon will be plenty.

• To make these pumpkin batch buns you will also need some string, extra oil for greasing, clingfilm and baking parchment. I’m also baking mine in my enamel roasting tin. I’m using another tin as a lid. Any oven-proof dish with a lid will work.

• I’m also using my stand mixer with the dough hook to knead my loaf because of my lazy arm but this could easily be kneaded on an oiled board for 10 minutes.

• Stir the pumpkin puree into the water until it is mixed well.

• Place all the dry ingredients into the bowl of your stand mixer, or into a large bowl and pour in the water/puree mix and bring together with a dough hook or your hand. Once it forms a rough dough, knead well for 8 mins.

• Transfer to a large, lightly oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm (or a plastic shower cap) and let it prove for at least an hour or until doubled in size.

• Now you need to prepare a little. You’re going to divide the dough into 4 or 6 buns. (6 buns is very fiddly but if you feel like you have the patience then go for it!) For each bun you will need to cut 4 long pieces of string and soak them in a little oil for 5 mins to ensure they’re fully coated.

• Cut 6 squares of parchment paper and lay them out into your baking tin or pot and then lay the 4 pieces of string in a star shaped cross over each of the pieces of paper. Set aside.

• Lightly oil your work surface. Knock back the dough and lay it onto the oiled surface. Punch it out into a rough flat disk shape and then divide it into 4 or 6 even pieces. Roll them into balls (I tend to pull them into the middle so the balls are tight and have an ugly bottom) and lay the ugly folded sides onto the centre of the string in the middle of each of the pieces of parchment. You’ll have some string-shuffling to do.

• Place the lid on and set aside for the bread to prove for at least 30 mins, whilst you pre-heat your oven to 220°C.

• After 30 mins, sprinkle the top of each bun with flour and gently rub it in. Now tie the string into the centre of the buns, so that you have 8 equal sections. Slash the buns with a pretty chevron pattern and place the lid on the pot.

• Bake for 15 mins with the lid on and 15 mins with the lid off. Set aside on a wire rack to cool and then remove the string.

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