Pumpkin-Gruyère Focaccia

Pumpkin Gruyere Focaccia-1

This recipe is a Cooking Club Classic (Hostess: TK; Theme: Pumpkin; Date: 10.15.06). I look forward to each fall, when I buy a sugar pumpkin or two, and prepare pumpkin puree to have on hand and bake a few dishes. Although the recipe is titled “focaccia,” it is not at all like a traditional focaccia with herbs and tomatoes and fingerprint indentations. I would describe it more as a sweet bread, and the gruyère adds a savory tang. This bread gets rave reviews and friends often ask me for my secret.

It is so satisfying to make bread from scratch – give it a try!

Pumpkin Gruyere Focaccia-3

Pumpkin-Gruyère Focaccia
Pumpkin and gruyere? TRUST ME. It works.
Recipe type: Bread
  • ¾ c warm water (100° to 110° – I measure temp with a standard meat thermometer)
  • ⅓ c brown sugar (measure when packed)
  • 1 package dry yeast (about 2 + ¼ tsp)
  • 3 + ½ c flour, divided
  • 3 T butter, melted
  • 1 c pumpkin puree* {see Notes}
  • 1 t salt
  • ¼ t ground nutmeg
  • ¾ c grated gruyère cheese (or more)
  • cooking spray
  • 1 t cornmeal
  1. Combine water, brown sugar, and yeast in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes.
  2. Add 1 cup flour and the melted butter to yeast mixture; stir just until combined.
  3. Cover and let rise in a warm place** {see Notes}, free from drafts, for 30 minutes.
  4. Add pumpkin, salt, and nutmeg to flour mixture; stir until well combined.
  5. Add 2¼ cups flour and half of cheese; stir until a soft dough forms.
  6. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes), or mix in stand mixer with dough hook for a few minutes; add enough of remaining ¼ cup flour, 1 Tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking (dough will feel just a little tacky).
  7. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, and spray the top of the dough as well. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  8. Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes.
  9. Divide dough in half; shape each half into an 8-inch circle. You can also make smaller loaves, or dinner roll size portions.
  10. Place dough circles on a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Sprinkle remaining cheese evenly over dough circles and press lightly to adhere. Lightly coat dough circles with cooking spray; cover and let rise 20 minutes (dough will not double in size). Don’t put it back in the oven for this last 20 minutes.
  11. While the dough is resting, preheat oven to 400°.
  12. Uncover dough; bake at 400° for 30 minutes or until loaves are browned on the bottom and cheese melts (loosely place foil over the loaves to prevent overbrowning, if necessary).
  13. Cool on a wire rack.
* To make my own pumpkin puree, I cut a sugar pumpkin (the small ones) into chunks. I remove the seeds, and place it flesh-side up on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave for 8-10 minutes. The skin will remove easily, and the flesh will puree nicely in a food processor (I add a little water while pureeing if it seems too thick).

** To create this magical place to let the bread rise, I set a rack on the lowest track in the oven – which is OFF. I set a glass baking dish on the rack, and pour a kettle full of boiling water into the dish. It is pretty fool-proof: the steam helps the dough rise and I do not worry about drafts.

Adapted from: http://www.cookinglight.com/food/top-rated-recipes/best-pumpkin-recipes-00400000058808/page6.html

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