I have never really been on the “pumpkin spice” bandwagon. Most “pumpkin spice” food items are insipidly sweet and taste little if any of actually pumpkin. And is the “spice” even made from real spices? Due to this utter ambivalence bordering on disdain for all things “pumpkin spice” I rather surprised myself when I bought a loaf of pumpkin bread at the grocery store on a whim. It was really pretty – all streusel topped and with its wrapping boosting a lovely autumnal scene. I really wanted it to be good. It didn’t even have to be great. It did however need to taste like pumpkin and spices, not apple and raisin. Whhhaattt?! Yep, folks, APPLES and RAISINS. I am not sure that I even like raisins on a good day. And the flavor of apple most certainly does not translate to pumpkin on my taste buds. What’s an earthy, crunchy, irritated mama to do? Make her own spiced pumpkin bread, I guess.
- To create pumpkin bread that actually tastes like PUMPKIN.
- To spice it just enough to give it interest and depth, without tasting like a pumpkin pie.
- To have a classic, yeasted bread loaf – not a cakey or, conversely, overly dense quick bread.
- To a have the streusel topping stick (a difficult feat considering the smooth dough texture of goal #3)
- To create a recipe that made two full sized loaves.
- To have it be really freaking good. Like toast it, smother it in butter and forget about the world good.
Folks, I did it. Like first try. I am that good, if I do say so myself.
I did find that I had to invite a bit more sugar to the party than I would normally, but I tried to offset that sin with the inclusion of some whole grains. First, I ground some organic rolled oats for the bread dough, and then I decided to also include a blend of hemp, flax and coconut that I keep around for smoothies, granola and other baking. Sugar sin somewhat atoned for. I also utilized some of the vast quantities of Cinderella pumpkin that I cut , cubed and froze last year by making my own pumpkin puree (I am not going to judge you if you buy the canned variety ). I also ground all the spices fresh – believe me it is worth the effort, but again, if this is not your regular M.O., use what you have. It will still be delicious. Finally I brushed the top of both pumpkin bread loaves with a bit of egg was before firmly applying the streusel topping prior to the second rise.
The results of this spiced pumpkin bread are pretty darn good, folks. Pumpkin-y, perfectly spiced, not too sweet, rich and moist. I am so pleased that I think I will be making several batches to give as Christmas presents this year. I will also be making pumpkin bread to serve to the kids while I am harried and crazy setting about Thanksgiving dinner while they watch the Macy’s parade. Given that I have a super nice stand mixer, compliments of last Mother’s Day, the task of bread making was pretty simple. If you are making it by hand, well, you have some work ahead of you. It will be worth it though, I promise. If you use a bread maker, don’t ask me how to modify the recipe – I have never owned one!
- 1 cup milk, warm to about 110F
- 2 teaspoons active rise yeast
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoon flour
- 10oz pumpkin puree
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon ground clove
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 1 cup ground rolled oats
- ½ cup whole grain blend or whole wheat flour
- 4-5 cups bread flour
- [b][u]Streusel topping[/u][/b]
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup rolled oats
- ½ cup dark brown sugar, packed
- ½ cup sliced almonds (optional)
- 6 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 beaten egg
- Combine the first four ingredients in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, or in a large bowl if mixing by hand. Stir briefly to combine. Although to proof for 20 minutes until it smells yeast-y and starts to bubble.
- Add pumpkin puree, melted butter, spices, salt and sugar, stirring to combine. Add rolled oats, whole grain/flour, and 2 cups of bread flour and mix/knead at low to medium speed until it is all incorporated. Add the remaining flour in increments until the dough pulls away from sides of bowl and is somewhat dry and springy to the touch. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and continue to knead for a about 3-5 minutes onto the dough is smooth and even.
- Return to a greased bowl , cover with plastic wrap and although to rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1.5 hours.
- Meanwhile, make the streusel topping by combining the flour, oats, brown sugar, nuts and butter in the bowl of a food processer with a few pulses, until well combined.
- After the dough has completed its first rise, turn out again onto a floured surface and shape into two loaves. Place into two well greased leaf pan, pressing the dough so that it fill to the edges. Brush with beaten egg. Firmly press the streusel topping into the top of each loaf. Don’t be afraid to use some force.
- Loosely cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled, approximately 1-1.5 hours.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. When the oven is up to temperature place loaves on middle rack and bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden, fragrant and an internal read thermometer inserted into the center of a loaf reads about 200 degrees F.
- Allow to cool and remove from pans. Wrap tightly if not eating immediately. Awww, who are we kidding – fresh baked pumpkin bread… where’s the butter.