Monday, November 24, 2014

Pumpkin Bread from The Book of Bread

One of the benefits of working at a pumpkin farm is that I can usually snatch a few Long Island Cheese pumpkins left over at the end of the season. These large, squat buff-colored pumpkins -- the same color as butternut squash -- make a particularly beautiful pumpkin puree. (This post shows you how I do it.)  As a result, I'm always looking for recipes calling for pumpkin puree.

When I have a hankering for baking any kind of bread, the first cookbook I check is The Book of Bread by Judith and Evan Jones. The writing is great -- as well it should be, as Judith was the editor for Julia Child -- and nearly every recipe I've tried has turned out beautifully, with the curious exception of muffins. This recipe for pumpkin bread was no exception. It was very moist, and just sweet enough to be a yummy breakfast treat, but not feel like I'm eating cake. As with nearly all quick breads, I think this tastes best after an evening in the fridge.

Pumpkin Bread
Adapted from The Book of Bread by Judith and Evan Jones
Makes one 9-inch loaf, or small loaves

1 3/4 cups (217 grams) white flour
1/2 teaspoon table salt or 1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 1/4 cups (250 grams) white sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup pumpkin puree (I use fresh, but you could use canned)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
1/2 cup chocolate chips, chopped nuts or toasted sunflower seeds, optional (if using chocolate chips, toss in a bit of the flour so they don't sink the to bottom)

Preheat oven to 350. Combine the flour, salt, sugar and baking soda in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk together the pumpkin, oil, water, eggs and spices in a large bowl. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ones, enough to mix. Fold in the chocolate chips, nuts or sunflower seeds, if desired.

Turn into a well buttered 9-inch loaf pan (or 3 small pans) and bake in a preheated 350 oven for 50-60 minutes. (For smaller loaves, start checking at 45 minutes.) Let cool for 5 minutes or so, then turn out onto racks and cool.

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