Servings: Makes 2 loaves
  • 3/4 cup warm water (105–115°)
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk , warmed slightly
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 6 (1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour or bread flour
  • 1 egg , at room temperature and 1 tablespoon skim milk , for egg glaze
  • 4 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 375°.

Pour warm water in a small bowl. Sprinkle yeast and sugar over surface of the water. Stir to combine and let stand at room temperature until foamy, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl using a whisk, or in the work bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine buttermilk, butter, honey and yeast mixture. Add salt and 2 cups of flour. Beat hard to combine. Add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating with a wooden spoon after each addition, until shaggy dough is formed.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead about 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and satiny. Dust with flour a little at a time to prevent sticking.

If kneading by machine, switch from the paddle to the dough hook and knead for 3–4 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and springy and springs back when pressed. If desired, transfer dough to a floured surface and knead briefly by hand.

Place dough in a greased bowl. Turn the dough once to grease the top and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/4 hours.

Gently deflate dough. Turn dough out on a lightly floured work surface. Grease two 9x5-inch loaf pans or grease or parchment lime a baking sheet. Divide dough into two equal portions. Form the portions into standard or round loaves. Place dough in the pans or on the baking sheet. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in bulk, 30 to 45 minutes.

Brush the top of the loaves with egg glaze and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds. Put the pans on the center rack of the oven and bake about 45 minutes or until loaves are nicely brown. Pull away from sides, and sound hollow when tapped with your finger. Remove loaves immediately to a cooling rack. Cool completely before slicing.