We finish up with a continental flourish: Il Bollo, which its Italian for The Ball, and Pain au Potiron, which is French for Pumpkin Bread.
I got a pie
Over 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkins are produced each year in the United States. 95% of the pumpkins which are grown for processing are grown in Illinois, and Nestle produces about 85% of the processed pumpkin. As goes the weather in Illinois, so goes the availability of canned pumpkin! Growing giant pumpkins is a passion for some. There was a neat PBS special, Lords of the Gourd: The Pursuit of Excellence, about growing giant pumpkins for the annual Cooperstown Weigh Off. The DVD is available from Netflix, or it may be on your local PBS station this Fall. According to Wikipedia, "[t]he current world record holder is Chris Stevens's 1,810-pound Atlantic Giant pumpkin, which in October 2010 surpassed Christy Harp's previous 2009 record of 1,725 pounds."
My pie pumpkin was more in the 3 1/2 pound range.
The pumpkin in the Pain au Potiron is peeled and diced and added raw as the dough is mixed. In addition the pumpkin is seasoned with pepper and the dough is enriched with some olive oil. I baked the loaf in my French Bread Pan, it being a French
It baked up nicely, with the pieces of pumpkin throughout.
I again baked it in my French Pain Pan.
Instead of slashing the dough with a serrated knife I have taken to snipping it with kitchen shears.
This loaf was definitely "spiked" with pepper, which gave it a nice warm kick, but not too much. Just right.
It seems that growing giant pumpkins is not the only pumpkin related competition. The Wikipedia article notes that
Pumpkin chucking is a competitive activity in which teams build various mechanical devices designed to throw a pumpkin as far as possible. Catapults, trebuchets, ballistas and air cannons are the most common mechanisms. Some pumpkin chuckers breed and grow special varieties of pumpkin under specialized conditions to improve the pumpkin's chances of surviving a throw.
Since I only used some of my pie pumpkin for the Pain au Potiron, I could have chucked the rest, but lacking a trebuchet au potiron I just roasted it and used some of it to make an
Easy Low Fat Pumpkin Cake.
Easy Low Fat Pumpkin Cake.
This is one of our favorite fall recipes, and I really recommend that you click on the link and try it (the recipe calls for canned pumpkin, so you need not roast your own).
With the Pumpkin Bread behind us it was on to Il Bollo. According to the Encyclopedia of Jewish Food the Bollo originated in Portugal and Spain as an enriched, anise flavored bread. When the Sephardic Jews were expelled from the Iberian Peninsula by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492 they took their Bollo with them to other countries (they could take their dough, but were not permitted to take gold or silver or money). The version which evolved in Italy, Il Bollo, is richer, characterized by larger amounts of eggs, oil, and honey. Il Bollo is served throughout Sukkot, and to break the fast of Yom Kippur.
The HB in 5 version of Il Bollo is also enriched with oil, eggs (I used egg substitute) and honey and flavored with anise (and vanilla). It has less whole wheat flour than most loaves we have baked, making it less dense than some. (In the notes to the recipe Jeff offers that you can boost the whole grains by making a version based on the Whole Wheat and Wheat Germ dough.) I baked the first loaf as a Bollo, though I skipped the egg wash and extra anise seeds.
It baked up beautifully (a discerning eye might note that I got ahead of myself and cut the loaf before I took a picture, so some reassembly was required.)
This bread smelled wonderful baking and tasted just as good. It was definitely one of our favorites. It makes great toast, too.
For my second loaf I went for a braid, and rolled the strands in anise seeds sprinkled on the counter before braiding. It was just as good.
So that is it.
Done and Done.
I have baked my way through every recipe in Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Zoë François and Jeff Hertzberg. (In the interest of full disclosure, did not bake every combination or permutation of every recipe--Zoë and Jeff often provide several dough options that can be used in a recipe.) That is 42 "official" assignments, plus 1 recipe inadvertently omitted from the schedule, plus 2 warm-up assignments, plus a few bonus posts.
We owe this whole adventure to Michelle, who started this all off on October 19, 2009, when she first posted about a group to bake its way through HB in 5. She is really great and I wish her all the best. I miss her posts. Zoë and Jeff (to whom we also owe this adventure) posted about the group on their website on October 20, 2009, which is how I found out about it. And my first (ever) post was on November 10, 2009--I was much more pithy then.
Although most of the folks who started this journey have been pulled away over the 23 months by other demands, the discussion board has stayed pretty lively. With apologies to Shakespeare, the few of us that are left are but bakers for the working day. Our gayness and our gilt are all besmirch’d with dusty flour and the sticky dough. And time hath worn us into slovenry. But, by the mass, our loaves are (more or less--see my "turban" of last time) in the trim. (According to 51 Random Facts about William Shakespeare "[Fact 2] More than 80 spelling variations are recorded for Shakespeare's name, from “Shappere” to “Shaxberd”; and [Fact 3] In the few signatures that have survived, Shakespeare spelled his name “Willm Shaksp,” “William Shakespe,” “Wm Shakspe,” “William Shakspere,” ”Willm Shakspere,” and “William Shakspeare”--but never “William Shakespeare.”)
Through the process we have forged some new friendships, learned from each other, gotten lots of good tips, and had some fun. And here at least, we have eaten pretty well. And now, we are done.
So, be sure to tune in next time (say what??) for a review of our favorite loaves from HB in 5.