Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pumpkin bread

Good smells throughout the kitchen this morning. I'm drying onions, and baking bread, and the combination of smells is wonderful, even though it's a sweet bread I made, not an onion bread (that comes on another day, when the onions are dry). What I made today was a pumpkin-cinnamon-cranberry-pecan bread. Yeah, you heard me.

So, there's this book I got for Christmas last year, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. It has revolutionized my bread baking-- from intermittently performed with machine to semiweekly by hand. Basically, the trick is to use a wet dough-- you don't have to knead it, and it stores in the fridge for 5 days- 2 weeks, depending on the recipe. You stir together your liquids and yeast and flour, let it rise for a couple of hours, then stick it in the fridge and bake up a chunk whenever you want fresh bread. No kneading. It really is that simple, and the bread is FANTASTIC. Crusty French breads, sandwich breads, pizza dough, etc etc-- all good, and easy as anything. Way better than anything I ever got from my bread machine. I can't recommend this book highly enough.

Anyway, the bread I made today is a recipe I came up with by riffing on the general principles given in the book.

1 c. lukewarm milk
1 c. pumpkin or winter squash puree
1/2 c. honey
1 Tbs white sugar
2 Tbs brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbs salt
! 1/2 Tbs yeast
1/4 c. oil
3 eggs
6 cups flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg

In a large bowl, stir everything together. Cover loosely and let rise 2 hours (it's very dense, it won't rise much, but don't worry). At that time you can put it in the fridge and keep for a few days, covered loosely. Or proceed to the next step:

Lightly flour your hands and pull out a grapefruit-sized chunk of dough (the remaining dough can be stored in the fridge for a few days). On a floured surface, roll it out into a large rectangle, about a 1/2 inch thick. Sprinkle it with brown sugar, dried cranberries, and pecans (about a 1/4 cup of each or more or less to taste), and sprinkle with cinnamon and ginger to taste. Roll it up and tuck the ends under so it's loaf-shaped. You can bake it in a bread pan or flat on a baking sheet. Let it rise 30 min (or an hour if you're using dough that's been refrigerated). Again, it won't rise much, but don't worry. Slash the top with a knife before baking it in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes.

The leftovers make great bread pudding, by the way. And you could probably turn the same recipe into a cinnamon roll recipe by just slicing it into cross sections instead of rolling it into a loaf. Then frost. A sorghum molasses glaze would be tasty on it, I bet! Gotta try that next time...


Anonymous said...

Hey, isn't that the book I got you?

The Economist

Joanna said...

No, it's the other one I wanted that no one could find anywhere until the Philosopher and I wandered into Davis Kidd and there it was...