28 July 2008

Ah, the Aromas of Autum

You know those ingredients you usually cook/bake with only when the weather starts to feel nippy and your innards want to feel warm? What comes to mind? (Hint: A nice woman named Libby usually discounts this item. If you're lucky, you can hit a sale that's 10 for $10 and will not need to buy anymore for three whole years!) Did you guess pumpkin? It's pumpkin!

I opened a can of pumpkin last week to make a pumpkin-brown butter sauce for pasta, which means I had about half a can remaining that needed to be used up. Luckily, Sam from Antics of a Cycling Cook recently posted a recipe for pumpkin bread that I knew I needed to try. What stood out about this recipe is that it's a yeasted pumpkin bread, not the typical quick bread that usually is very sweet. Since this recipe didn't have much sugar in it at all (mostly to feed the yeast), it allows the natural sweetness of the pumpkin to shine through.

My modifications to the original recipe were to add about 1/3 cup more warmed milk, as the original amount wasn't enough to hydrate the dough (I think it might be due to the weather). I also added one tablespoon of vital wheat gluten since it helps keep the bread fresher longer, I replaced 1 cup of the flour with high gluten fine whole wheat (which may also have had an effect on the liquid content), and I used freshly grated nutmeg.
After kneading for 3 minutes, I covered the dough with the bowl and allowed it to rest for 10 minutes. I've found that this (technically called an 'autolyse') helps the flour hydrate by absorbing the liquid and begins the gluten development, as well as drastically improving the consistency of the dough, meaning less flour is needed during the kneading time, andit helps me not to overwork the dough. I also let the dough rise twice.

When it was reading to bake, I slashed a square pattern on the top, sprinkled with cornmeal, placed the baking sheet in the oven and spritzed the inside with water twice during baking.

Spaghetti with garlic, zucchini, Roma tomatoes, pinto beans, basil, paprika, and olive oil.

The aroma wafting through the kitchen as the bread baked was heavenly. The pumpkin mixing with the nutmeg was lovely, and it made me wish for a mug of spiced apple cider. Then I snapped out of my revery by realizing it was still quite hot outside, and would be for a while still.

After a baking time of 50 minutes, the loaf emerged from the oven in a golden-brown glory, highlighted by an orange-gold color. Waiting for this to cool before slicing was torture, as I really wanted to taste and see if it was as good as it smelled.

Finally, I sliced and saw that it was good! The hue, the scent, the flavor, and the softness were all stellar. Accented by drizzles of honey made it even better. Toasted and spread with a bit of butter, it adds a nuttiness to the flavor. I bet this bread would be great as a panino with pepper bacon, smoked cheddar, and spinach, or made into a bread pudding or French toast. I am in love with this bread!

I am entering this to YeastSpotting, a weekly event hosted by Susan of Wild Yeast.


  1. I have been pushing Autum in the kitchen lately. Its my favorite season.

  2. that bread looks sooooo yummy...i bet it would go great w/ pumpkin/apple butter...YUM.

    and your noodle dish looks scrumptious! i wish i had the energy to make things like that! i'm so lazy these days...

  3. In my opinion, pumpkin can be enjoyed year round (thanks to Libby, haha!! Loved that reference in your post) - WOW that bread looks heavenly.

  4. I'm so glad you tried the recipe, your bread looks fantastic!
    I like your idea of adding nutmeg I'll have to try that next time.

  5. Wow pumpkin never looked so good. The way you described it was beautiful. I just got hungry all over again :)

    Thanks for the tips on the kneading and everything. It sounded scientific and all Bill Nye-ish, but it makes sense :)

  6. Coco - Same here! It's usually the perfect blend of warm and nippy, the calm before the storm.

    Just Me - Oh yes, pumpkin butter! I need to find a recipe for that. I love making apple butter, too.

    HA, the spaghetti dish came from laziness! I just added whatever I had on hand.

    VeggieGirl - It definitely can, though I usually associate certain flavors with seasons. It'll mess with my space-time continuum if I break it too often, oh noes!

    Adam - Bill Nye, the Science Guy!!! Ahh, I love that show!

  7. That is one incredible looking loaf of bread you have there. You need to let Susan of Wild Yeast feature that in her yeast roundup this week.

    And I just bookmarked this for a definite make when I get back from this business trip from hell-o

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  9. Hi Christina
    I've been reading your blog and loving it! Your food looks really good! And well done for keeping yourself so healthy! You gotta have a balance right? That's what I'm also looking for.
    Is that alright if I add your blog t my list?

  10. What a beautiful golden color! Pumpkin is a favorite flavor of mine and love it in savory things like this. Thanks for sending this to YeastSpotting!

  11. My mind is swirling with possibilities for this bread. I have tried a loaf or two of yeasted pumpkin bread before but they didn't taste quite right...yours looks amazing. Definitely going on the to-try list!


Thanks for taking the time to comment. Your thoughts are appreciated! ^,^


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