Pain au Potiron
3 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 Tablespoons granulated yeast, or 2 packets (increase or decrease to taste)
1 Tablespoon kosher salt (increase or decrease to taste)
2 Tablespoon vital wheat gluten
3 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/4 cups peeled, 1/4-inch diced raw pie pumpkin (sometimes called "sugar" pumpkin)
Mixing and storing the dough: Whisk together the flours, yeast, salt, and vital wheat gluten in a 5-quart bowl, or a lidded (not airtight) food container.
Generously season the pumpkin, squash, or sweet potato with fresh-ground pepper.
Add the liquid ingredients and the seasoned pumpkin to the dry ingredients. Mix without kneading using a spoon until it comes together in a wet dough.
Cover (not airtight), and allow to rest at room temperature until dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top), about 2 hours. Do not punch down!
Dough can be used immediately after rising, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 10 days. Flavor will be best if you wait for at least 24 hours.
On baking day, dust the surface of the dough with flour and cut off a 1-pound (grapefruit-size) piece. Dust with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. Elongate the ball into a narrow oval. Allow to rest on a pizza peel prepared with cornmeal or lined with parchment for 90 minutes (40 minutes if you’re using fresh, unrefrigerated dough).
Thirty minutes before baking, preheat a baking stone in the middle of the oven to 450°F, with a broiler tray on any other shelf that won’t interfere with rising bread.
Using a pastry brush, paint the top crust with water. Slash with ¼-inch deep parallel cuts across the loaf, using a serrated bread knife.
Slide the loaf directly onto the hot stone. Pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the broiler tray, and quickly close the oven door. Bake for about 30 minutes, until richly browned and firm.
Allow to cool on a rack before slicing and eating.
Music Break: Holiday For The Strings