With the Bake Off we know and love drawing to a final end, and Halloween just around the corner, it seemed only right to reconstruct the humble bread bowl into something more…. Halloweeny. Here is a recipe for El Día de los Muertos Tazón de Salsa (‘dip bowl’), an edible cultural appropriation-appropriate decoration that I attempted to alter into a pumpkin shape.
*If desired you could split the dough in half to make two smaller bread bowls – one for salsa and another for guac – or even set more dough to the side to roll into six legs for a spider, or two handles for a cauldron, and substitute the orange food colouring for black.
500g bread flour (white or brown)
1 tsp salt
1 sachet (tsp) instant active yeast
350ml warm water
Gel food colouring (at least two tubes)
Medium red chilli, finely chopped (optional)
Poppy seeds (optional)
- Measure out the warm water in a jug and stir in the yeast until it has completely dissolved. Weigh the flour in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the salt with your fingertips and make a well in the flour (dip in the middle for the yeast mix to be poured into), and pour in the yeast and water. Brush the flour gradually into the mix until a sticky dough is formed.
- If someone else is free, have them on hand to flour a clean surface for you to knead the dough on – you may need them to keep adding flour so that the dough doesn’t stick too much. Knead for 6-8 minutes, then place dough into a separate bowl/cake tin that has been lightly drizzled with olive oil. Turn the dough so that the top and bottom are partly coated with oil, as this will prevent the dough from drying out while it rises.
- Keep the dough in the bowl/cake tin and cover with cling film/foil/a tea towel and leave to proof in a warm place (right next to a radiator works fine) for half an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size. Knead the dough for a further five minutes after the first proof, using this time to incorporate the gel food colouring and chopped chilli into the mixture.
- Preheat the oven to 220°. Divide your dough into the main body (the pumpkin) and the topper (the stalk) and mould into the desired shape. Allow the pumpkin part to rise for a further few minutes on an oven tray while you prepare the stalk by coating it with a teaspoon of olive oil, and then rolling it in a plate of poppy seeds until completely covered.
- Carefully place the stalk on top of the pumpkin, and score the sides of the bread vertically with a sharp knife immediately before placing in the oven. Bake at 220° for 2-3 minutes, and at 180° for a further 20 minutes. Once cooled, cut a circle into the top of the loaf, carefully lift the lid from underneath with the help of a knife, and place it to the side while you scoop out enough of the inside of the loaf to make room for your dip. If you’re feeling particularly creative, try carving a face into the side of your loaf with a small sharp knife so that it looks like a real Halloween pumpkin.