Great Pumpkin Bread!
A few weeks back, I highlighted some of my favorite pumpkin treats for fall. One of the recipes that I mentioned was for pumpkin quick bread. Moist, spicy and utterly delicious, this pumpkin quick bread is a staple in my house during the crisp days of autumn.
My recipe for pumpkin bread is an adaptation of a recipe I found on King Arthur Flour's web site 7 years ago. Over the years, I have made several modifications to the recipe to meet my particular tastes. If you would like to try the my modified recipe, just click here. Let's get started.
First things first, while the oven is preheating, prepare your bread pans. This recipe makes two 9 x 5 loaves. I lightly grease both pans with butter. Then I insert parchment paper into each pan and grease the paper with butter. I got this trick a few years ago from a baker who commented on a quick bread recipe that I was reading online. I ALWAYS read the comments left by other bakers because they have such good ideas. Case in point, inserting parchment paper in a bread pan. I had always hated the fact that when turning a loaf of quick bread out of the pan, the top of the loaf got damaged. Then, another baker suggested cutting parchment paper to fit the bread pan up both long sides and the bottom of the pan, forming a sling of sorts. Be sure to leave a length of parchment overhanging the top of the bread pan. It's those hanging edges that you will use to lift the bread out of the pan when its done. Here's what I'm talking about ... check out the photo to the right.
Okay, let's get cracking on the batter. First thing I do is get my dry ingredients measured and ready to go. I modified the recipe to include both AP flour and white whole wheat flour, just to give a boost of whole grain to the bread. In the same bowl, I measure out the baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. The original recipe called only for nutmeg. I wanted the bread to be a bit spicier so I added ground cloves, cinnamon and ground ginger to the batter. These additions gave me the spice kick I was looking for. Since the vanilla goes into the mixer bowl with the dry ingredients, I get that ready as well.
Now for the wet ingredients. The original recipe called for 1 cup of vegetable oil and 2-2/3 cups of sugar. I wanted to reduce the calorie count so I made two modifications here. First, I substituted applesauce for half of the vegetable oil. Then, since the applesauce has sugar in it, I reduced the granulated sugar to 2 cups. I set out the eggs and measure the pumpkin and the water. Remember to use 100% pure pumpkin and not the premade pumpkin pie filling.
Finally, I get my add-ins ready to go. The original recipe called for nuts and chocolate chips. I don't care for either of those ingredients in pumpkin based treats so I made some changes. Instead of nuts, I use dried cranberries. I love cranberry and pumpkin together! And instead of chocolate chips, I use cinnamon chips to give an extra hit of cinnamon goodness. If you prefer nuts and chocolate chips, go for it. There's no right or wrong way when it comes to quick breads.
Okay, ingredients are measured. Now, it's time to mix up the batter. Cream together the oil, applesauce and sugar. Let that go for a couple of minutes, then add in the eggs, pumpkin and water. Once, the wet ingredients are fully incorporated, add in the dry ingredients and the vanilla. Mix these ingredients in just until they are combined then stir in your add-ins of choice. Equally divide the batter between the prepared pans. Here we are, ready for the oven.
Bake the breads in a 350 degree oven for one hour or until a tester comes out clean. Once the breads are done, let them cool in the pans for 5 minutes then lift them out onto a rack to cool. Be sure to slide the breads off the parchment so that the bottom of the loaves don't get soggy.
And there you have it! Two beautiful pumpkin quick breads, one to keep and one to share. Or share both loaves. After all, sharing the bounty is what baking is all about; right?