This wonderful, aromatic and tasty bread started with a failure…
My original idea was to roast some potatoes for gnocchi, and serve them with brown butter and sage sauce. As I also bought a nice acorn squash, I decided to roast it with the potatoes.
Once this was done, I thought the gnocchi would benefit from the taste of the roasted acorn squash as well. So, I peeled and grated it, mixed it with the grated potatoes and started to work on the gnocchi dough.
However, very soon I’ve realized that even after adding 2 cups of flour, the mixture was still not holding at all, as the acorn squash was apparently too moist even after roasting.
As I prefer to use as little flour in the gnocchi as possible, so that they will not get too heavy (hence roasting the potatoes rather than cooking them), I’ve decided the gnocchi plan will not work out.
Nevertheless, I was not prepared to toss away the mixture, after all the work I’ve put into the roasting, peeling and grating.
So, it was time for plan B.
Looking at the mixture, and remembering my success with the Potatoes Rolls I’ve decided it might work well as bread. I added some yeast to it, and let it rise at room temperature. By then it was too late to start baking the bread, so I punched the dough down and placed it in the fridge.
In the morning, I punched the dough again, put it in a loaf pan, drizzled olive oil all over and baked it, hoping for the best.
The result was very pleasing: light and tasty bread, with a wonderful crust. The taste was even better after toasting.
So, it made sense to write down the recipe, as I will definitely want to make it again. I’m sure you will too, once you’ll taste it.
A few notes:
* Due to the described saga above, I added the yeast after the dough was already formed. It still worked just as well, but for next time I see no reason not add it earlier.
* Baking time is quite long here, as the the dough is so soft and contains such small amount of flour.
* As the bread texture is so moist, bear in mind that toasting the slices will take longer than with average breads.
Makes: 1 loaf (10” (25cm))
Roasting time: 45 minutes
Prep time: 30 minutes
Proofing time: 1 hour for the first, overnight for the second
Baking time: 1 ½ hours
1 cup roasted, peeled and finely grated Acorn Squash (from 1 lb 9 oz (710 grams))
1½ cups roasted, peeled and finely grated Yukon Gold potatoes (from 1 lb 2oz (510 grams))
1 L egg, lightly beaten
2 tsp salt
2 cups flour
¼ oz (7 grams) dried active yeast
1 Tbs fresh sage, chopped
For the pan:
2 Tbs semolina
¼ cup olive oil
1. Roasting: preheat the oven to 450F (230C). Halve the acorn squash and remove the seeds. Cut into wedges and place in a baking tray, with the potatoes. Roast for 45 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. Peel and grate with a fine grater.
2. The bread: measure 1 cup prepared acorn squash and 1½ cups potatoes and place in a large bowl. Add the egg, salt and flour and mix to a soft dough. Mix the yeast in a small bowl with 1/4 cup warm water and leave in a warm place for 5 minutes, until it foams. Add it to the dough and mix well. Cover and keep in a warm place for 1 hour. Punch down, add the sage, cover again and place in the fridge overnight.
3. Baking: preheat the oven to 350F (175C). Bring the dough to room temperature, punch down and knead very briefly. Oil a loaf pan with a bit of the olive oil and sprinkle the semolina over it. Place the dough in the pan and pour the olive oil on top.
4. Bake for 1 ½ hours, until the bread has a nice crust and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Transfer to a rack and bring to room temperature before slicing.
Serving suggestion: toast the bread slices and serve with blue cheese and sage spread, and sliced apples.
For the spread, mix very soft butter with good quality blue cheese, season with salt, pepper and chopped sage.