Zuni Pepita

Zuni Pepita  

Without Native Americans, there would be no pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving—they were the ones who introduced the pilgrims to pumpkins and other squash. There are hundreds of types of squash that are indigenous to North, Central, and South America. Naturally, these plants and their seeds figure prominently in the diets of native groups throughout the continent, including the agrarian Zuni of Arizona. Native Americans commonly ground the pumpkin seeds (pepitas) into flour, which is what we do in this recipe. Combined with whole-wheat flour and blue cornmeal, the ground seeds make rich, hearty, and satisfying loaves.

The bread is a wonderful partner for fall or winter soups and stews, especially those containing pumpkin or squash. Buy pumpkin seed oil and fresh pumpkin seeds at gourmet markets or natural foods stores. Before buying the seeds taste one or two to make sure they are not rancid-they should be bright green and taste sweet and fresh. Buy only as many as you need, as their natural oils can become stale quickly; roast any you have left over, which is the preserving technique used by generations of Native Americans.

  • 1-3/4 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seed oil or corn oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1-1/2 cups shelled pumpkin seeds, toasted

Dry Ingredients

  • 2-1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup blue cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 egg whites, beaten
  • 1/2 cup shelled untoasted pumpkin seeds

1. Combine the water, egg, and oil in the bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer or in a large mixing bowl.

2. Sprinkle the yeast over the mixture, stir in, and let sit for 2 minutes.

3. Grind the toasted pumpkin seeds in a coffee grinder or spice mill until finely ground.

4. Add the ground pumpkin seeds and dry ingredients to the yeast mixture.

5. Mix with the dough hook (or knead by hand for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the dough appears silky and resilient.

6. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl a cover with plastic wrap.

7. Let rise in a warm place for 1-1/2 hours, or until approximately doubled in volume.

8. Punch the dough down, re-cover with plastic wrap, and let rise again in a warm place for 30 minutes.

9. Place a baking stone on the middle rack of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.


Recipe from:
Flavored Breads
Recipes From Mark Miller's Coyote Cafe
by Mark Miller and Andrew MacLauchlan
176 pages, full-color, 1997
paper, ISBN: 0-89815-862-1
cloth, ISBN: 0-89815-889-3
Reprinted by permission


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This page modified February 2007

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