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Painted Bread: Fall Pumpkins

Posted Oct 26 2012 10:18am


After painting bread for the 7th World Bread Day was so much fun I decided to play some more. Probably will even more--it's just too much fun!  Poor Gene will have painted bread for dinner for the next...whenever i get tired of painting bread, I guess. Poor, Gene.  Poor, poor Gene, getting home-made painted bread for dinner every night. It's a hard knock life, eh?

The recipe I used this time is my own basic large loaf (1 1/2 to 2 lbs) recipe that easily fills my Pullman Pan or my large Pampered Chef bread loaf crock, although in this instance and often, I simply formed it into a boule (big round loaf), painted it, and baked it without a form of any kind. 

"Working Towards Whole Wheat" Bread

Recipe by Glenna Anderson Muse 


  • 2 cups 50/50 whole wheat/white flour
  • 2 cups All purpose white flour
  • 1/2 cup dry milk
  • 1 Tbsp yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1/3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup warm water (80-- 100 degrees)


Combine dry ingredients in standing mixer and mix for a few seconds to even
distribute everything.  Add honey, oil, and egg. Mix until starting to combine.
Add warm water and "knead" with dough hook for 10 minutes or until dough is
smooth and elastic. If needed, can add a little water or flour to gain a plump
but not sticky texture. Oil hands and smooth dough into ball. Wrap in plastic
wrap and allow to raise 1.5-2 hours.  Shape and allow to rise another 45-60
minutes.  Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until nicely browned and 
until a meat thermometer through the bottom middle of the loaf reads 200 degrees F.

Nutrition per 1/16 slice or roll of recipe:  Calories:  160; 
Protein:  5;  Carbs:  28;  Fat: 2;  Fiber:  4;  Weight Watchers
Points: 4


For the fun part:

After the first rise, punch the dough back down and form into a boule.  In the centerr raise up a stem by smushing a small stub up, very prominently from the top of the boule so it won't get "lost" during the second rise.  (Yes, I know it looks like a breast. My husband made that clear, with a grin.  I think the lesson here is that if you get told it looks like a breast sitting on the counter, you've done it correctly.)


Again, make the nubby prominant enough it's connected by only a thin whisp of dough so it won't "melt" back into the main boule during the second rise.  Allow to rise for an additional 45 minutes to 1 hour.


(Clapping hands)  Painting time!

Mix food safe colors (cake decorating powders or pastes will give brighter colors than grocery store liquids but the liquids will work, I'm assuming, if they're watered down less.)

With a 1/2" wide flat bristled food-safe (again, cake decorating supply) brush, brush on orange (I used Wlton Copper color) that has been watered down with a Tbsp or 2 of water to a small pea sized glop of color paste.  Have a paper plate or something to the side that you can practice test the strength of your "paint" color on.

To actually paint, I started from about an inch out of the top middle (nubby) and painted in down strokes, letting the colors run as they wanted. Then I went back around the same way, starting from the bottom, also using vertical strokes.  This gave a nicely vertically streaked look to the pumpkin.


Then, while the orange was still wet, I cleaned the brush, and covered the top nubby and unpainted diameter of the bread with a mossy green in streaks coming straight out from the center, just like with the orange, allowing the two colors to meld together at the edges.  With the green, I kept the brush dryer so that it wouldn't bleed all the way down the side of the pumpkin since I needed to cover a smaller area. Again, use the paper plate tester to find the right strength of color and brush wetness to work for you.


 Lastly, with a dry, finely bristled brush, I dipped into a small amount of the same green paste food coloring that had not been thinned and painted several little swirly vines coming off the top. A leaf or two would have been beautiful too but I was too impatient to let it dry and add the leaves.

(Don't ever dip brush directly into jar becuase any flour particles picked up off the painted surface could contaminate the food coloring left in the jar)


Bake as directed or until a meat thermometer through the bottom middle of the loaf reads 200 degrees F. 


Once cooled, the colors are almost completely set. I've found that occasionally a bit will rub off slightly on my hands if I play with the loaf a lot, moving it around to photograph, but in general, it's set.


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