SAVOURY PUMPKIN AND CHEESE BREAD FINGERS
300g Roasted pumpkin
50g good olive oil
2 tsp nigella seeds
100g polenta uncooked or maizemeal
550g white bread flour
20g fresh yeast mixed with 50g water
200g of your cheese of choice, I used strong local cheddar the real Cheddar Cheeese from Cheddar
A good handful of coriander leaves
50g sunflower seeds, set to soak just before kneading the dough, to prevent scorching
Black sesame seeds
First wash and chop, and cook your pumpkin by baking it in the oven in even sized chunks. Then as it is cools enough to handle, cut off the peel and remove the seeds. You can freeze any left over, or keep it in the fridge ready to use another day. I like to bake my pumpkin the previous day, and mix the dough in the morning, then bake by lunchtime.
Into a large bowl, sift the white flour and the polenta to incorporate air, tip anything left in the sieve into the bowl.
Add 300g of the prepared pumpkin to a small pan, add the olive oil, and warm gently to about 40 C. Either mash well, or if you have a hand-blender, reduce it to a smooth-ish puree. Add the salt, and the nigella seeds, then add the egg, and mix well.
Add the contents of the pan to the wheat and maize mixture, then add the fresh yeast and water mix, add a little more water to bring everything together to a kneadable dough. Knead for about ten minutes by hand, then leave to rise for about 1.5 hrs.
Roll out the dough to a long oblong. Here it was about 80cm x 30cm. You will need to keep the work-surface lightly floured to prevent sticking. Scatter the toppings as per the picture, then fold the bottom third up, then the top third back over.
I use my steel scaper, or you could use a knife, but be careful not to damage your work-surface. Cut thin strips. This quantity yields about 36 bread sticks or finger rolls.
Have two or three baking sheets, covered with baking parchment, ready to receive the twisted sticks. As you twist them, you may stretch them to the length that suits you. Place the the tins covered, to rest, for about 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 220 C. Brush the sticks generously with egg glaze then scatter the sesame seeds on half and cayenne pepper on the rest. The black sesame seeds give a good colour contrast with the yellow pumpkin dough and green herbs.
Bake for about 15 minutes, then place on a cooling rack. They freeze very well, and are lovely served warmed up.