With less than two months remaining until I become a Meredith alumna, the blog has taken a back seat to Ðys or þæt, Bill Shakespeare, El Español, and the occasional g-string (don’t mind my poor attempt at music humor). But it’s always in the back of my mind and many dinners, lunches, breakfasts and brunches have all come and gone with a wistful look at the camera.
Luckily, a couple mornings ago I picked up the camera once again to photograph an invention born of necessity. A neighbor and I, having both been assaulted by canned pumpkins careening out of the pantry, each agreed to contribute to a pumpkin extravaganza and ultimately crown one of us this year’s Pum-queen. In searching the glut of pumpkin recipes flooding all foodie websites right now, I ran across more than a few pumpkin soups that wanted to be made even lovelier by presentation in a bread bowl. “But why stop there?” I thought. “Why not invent the first (probably not) Pumpkin Pretzel Bowl?” So I did. But along the way, I ran out of milk. And then flour. Like a bad Boy Scout, I was wholly unprepared. Yet, somehow, it didn’t matter. I used almond milk instead of cow milk. I used whole wheat flour, too. I overcame all the obstacles thrown in my path to create little football-shaped orbs of pure pumpkin-whole-wheat-goodness. We ate ours later that night with the Silver Palate’s Carrot-Orange Soup. Divine. I should mention that this recipe does have its roots in one I found a while ago when looking for pretzel rolls. But other than following the basic pattern, this one has been changed to allow for what I possessed… or lacked. I’ll also say that, while just fine as it is, I may tweak it just a bit more. Because I changed the yield from 15 rolls to 6 bowls, the baking time needs some adjustment. I was happy overall with the results, and am posting here the times and temps I used. But if you find something else that works better, let me know.
Pumpkin Pretzel Bowls
*makes 6 bowls*
1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk (warm)
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup water (warm)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour, divided, plus more as needed
10 cups water
1 Tablespoon salt
5 Tablespoons baking soda
Warm milk and sprinkle yeast over surface of milk; let sit for 10 minutes. While yeast is blooming, whisk together the salt, 5 cups all-purpose flour and 3/4 cups whole wheat flour in bowl of stand mixer. In another bowl, add warm water to pumpkin and vegetable oil, and stir to combine. Add pumpkin mixture to yeast/milk mixture and stir well before adding to flour. With dough hook attached, mix ingredients at a low speed until they come together. 1/2 cup at a time, begin adding whole wheat flour to dough mixture while mixer is running, until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Stop adding flour when dough is still slightly sticky but stiff enough to handle. Shape into a ball, return to bowl and cover with a clean dish towel. Place in a warm spot and allow to rise for one hour, or until dough is about doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove the dough from the bowl after the 1st rise cycle is complete and knead until smooth, maybe 5 minutes more. If the dough is too sticky, add flour to your hands and surface of dough to allow kneading. Break dough into six equal sized pieces, weighing each to be sure they are equal in size. Carefully shape each piece of dough into a ball, pinching under to form. Place the shaped dough onto a silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet and allow to rise for 15-20 minutes while bringing water, salt and baking soda to a boil over medium-high heat. Once dough has risen again, carefully transfer one ball at a time to the boiling water and poach for one minute, turning once. Remove to the lined baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until the bowls have turned a dark golden brown color. Remove from oven and let cool on a baking rack for at least one hour before slicing.