Sometimes throughout the year I’ll come across recipes that I want to adapt for particular seasons or ingredients, and this happens to be one of them. I first came across this recipe for Pane Bianco while scrolling through King Arthur Flour’s bread section (as I often do when I’m hungry and in need of carbspiration), and immediately began to drool (always the sign of a must-make recipe!) While the sun dried tomato + basil filling sounded really good, I usually don’t bake much in the summer because it’s too hot and I don’t want to turn the oven on for too long. But once autumn rolls around the weather gets all misty and spooky, I go into full-on baking mode. So I bookmarked it to try making an autumnal version once the fall rolled around.
And folks, that day has finally come! So I rolled up my sleeves and got to work tweaking the recipe for the fall flavor profile I had in my head. I used pureed pumpkin with lots of dried herbs and fresh garlic for the filling, along with crumbled feta and grated gouda cheese. And folks, hooey boy did it come out good. Jeremy and I ate this giant loaf of pane bianco between us within a couple days. There’s something about the sweet and salty combination of savory pumpkin with tangy feta cheese and comforting herbs that just hits all the flavor hot spots I want to scratch in autumn.
So if you’re in the fall baking zone like myself, I *highly* recommend whipping up this loaf on one of your leisurely weekends or cozy evenings. I’m planning on making it again soon (possibly for Thanksgiving, if I don’t have my hands too full with the turkey and pumpkin pie! Also contemplating making smashed potatoes, which are different from mashed potatoes—more on that later!) I was out of town for the Adobe Max conference and then my photography workshop in Croatia for half of last month, so I’m really enjoying being back home and going into deep nesting mode with flour on my hands and some squash in the oven. And now that things are getting back to normal again, I’m planning on posting more regularly this month to give you some tasty new recipes to try over the holidays. Talk soon + stay cozy my friend!!
Pane Bianco Bread with Pumpkin and Feta
Adapted from King Arthur Flour: https://www.kingarthurbaking.com/recipes/pane-bianco-recipe
- 3 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 large egg whisked
- 1/2 cup milk lukewarm
- 1/3 cup water lukewarm
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Pumpkin and Feta Filling
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons pumpkin purée
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon thyme dried
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 3 ounces)
- 1/2 cup grated Gouda cheese about 3/4 of an ounce
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment, add all of the ingredients and mix at medium low speed until a smooth soft dough forms. Alternatively, you can mix all the ingredients together by hand with a wooden spoon until the dough begins to form, and then switch to kneading it on a clean work surface until a smooth soft dough forms.
- Place the dough in a large bowl lightly greased with olive oil and cover. Allow to rise at room temperature out of direct sunlight until it’s doubled in size, about 1 hour. Alternatively, you can place the bowl in the refrigerator to have a slow overnight rise and resume the recipe the next day.
Pumpkin and Feta Filling
- While the dough is rising, you can make the filling. In a small bowl, stir together the pumpkin, garlic, thyme, rosemary, oregano, garlic powder, and black pepper until combined. Set aside for now.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a clean lightly floured work surface. Pat it into a rectangle shape, then roll it out into a long skinny roughly 22-inch by 9-inch rectangle.
- Using a rubber spatula, evenly spread the pumpkin mixture over the rectangle, leaving an empty 1-inch border around the edge. Evenly sprinkle the crumbled feta and grated gouda cheese over the pumpkin.
- Roll up the dough along the longest edge to form a long log, and pinch each end of the log to seal in the filling. Place the log on a lightly greased piece of parchment paper on a large baking sheet. Using kitchen shears, starting from 1” away from the end, cut through the top layer of the log and end about 1” away from the opposite end of the log, exposing the layer of pumpkin filling inside.
- While keeping the cut side facing up, move the ends to form an “S” shape. Then, tuck the ends of the log under the middle part of the “S” to form an “8” shape. Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap or tin foil and allow to rise at room temperature out of direct sunlight until almost doubled in width, about 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Uncover the bread and bake for 25 minutes. Then remove it and place tin foil over the top to prevent over-browning of the filling, and bake until the internal temperature of the middle of the loaf reaches 195 degrees Fahrenheit, about 20 to 25 minutes more.
- Remove it from the oven and allow the bread to cool to warm before slicing and serving. Will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.