450g sourdough starter
950g white bread flour
2 tbsp sugar or honey
1 tbsp salt
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
Combine the sourdough starter with 250g of the flour. Knead for about 5 minutes to a firm, smooth and elastic consistency.
Put this pre-dough into a large bowl, cover and leave to rise. The pre-dough needs to stand long enough to rise about 2-3 times its original size. This generally takes about 2-3 hours, but the time depends on the ambient room temperature.
Roast the pumpkin seeds in a small non-stick sauce pan. Close the lid while roasting because the seeds tend to pop out of the sauce pan. The seeds should be slightly browned but not burnt. Put aside to cool down.
Make sure the milk is not too cold. Place it into the microwave for about 30 seconds to make it tepid. Add the sugar or honey and stir to dissolve.
Pour the remaining 700g of flour onto a clean bench and form a well. Scatter 1 tbsp of salt around the rim of your well. Separate the risen pre-dough into small chunks and place them into the well.
Pour half of the milk into the well and start combining the pre-dough pieces with the milk. This is best done by hand. Once the pre-dough and milk comes together, add the rest of the milk and start to pull in the flour from the sides. Once the dough reaches a smooth and elastic consistency and does not stick anymore, work in the roasted pumpkin seeds.
Continue to knead for about 10 minutes. Repeatedly banging the dough onto the bench helps to develop the gluten quicker. Use the “window pane” test to confirm the gluten has developed enough.
Cover the inside of a large bowl with 1-2 drops of oil. Place the dough into the bowl and leave to rise. The dough should about double its volume. This generally takes 3-4 hours, but the time depends on the ambient temperature.
Stretch the risen dough across the bench and fold 2-3 times. Divide and shape the dough into three loaves. Each should weigh approximate 650g. Place the loaves into proofing baskets or on floured baker's cloth. Leave to rise for another 1-2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 250ºC. Put a metal container of hot water in the bottom of the oven to provide steam while baking.
Sprinkle a baking tray with semolina and place the three loaves on it. Slash the loaves and quickly put the tray into the oven. Bake for 10 minutes at 250 ºC. Turn down the heat to 180 ºC and bake for another 25 minutes. The loaves are ready when they sound hollow. Leave to cool.
Thanks to Peter Reinhart and Jamie Oliver, who have been my main influences in creating this recipe.