Chef John's Pumpkin Bread


  • ½ cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup warm water (100 to 110 degrees F/40 to 45 degrees C)
  • 1 tablespoon warm water (100 to 110 degrees F/40 to 45 degrees C)
  • ¼ teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • 1 pinch pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons cornmeal, or as needed
  • Directions

  • Step 1

    In a medium bowl, stir together pumpkin puree, 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon of warm water, yeast, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Mix in flour with a spatula until the dough is fully mixed and all the flour is moistened. Cover bowl with a damp towel, and allow dough to rise for 12-16 hours.


  • Step 2

    Scrape dough onto floured surface with floured spatula; sprinkle dough with more flour. With your fingers, press dough out into a rough square about 1 inch thick. Fold all four sides of dough in towards center, then turn folded dough over and form into a round loaf.

  • Step 3

    Generously cover a sheet pan with cornmeal.

  • Step 4

    Place loaf on prepared sheet pan with seam sides down, dusting top and sides with flour, then place a floured towel over dough. Allow to rise until doubled in size, about 1-1/2 hours.

  • Step 5

    Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) and place a pan with 2 inches of water on the bottom rack. Just before baking, make a shallow slice (1/2 inch) across top of dough with a sharp knife.

  • Step 6

    Bake for 30 minutes in preheated oven. Turn pan around and bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

  • Cook's Note:

    For plain bread, substitute more water for the pumpkin puree.

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