I have an irrational fear about yeast and I have done everything within my power to stay away from the stuff. I mean, I still eat yeast bread, I just won’t make them. I always thought they would be complicated and I would somehow screw it up. I have very little confidence in some areas of baking. Should I be saying this? I hope no one reading my blogs thinks I’m an expert. If so, that last statement must have really let you down…
Now. Back to the bread. Since it’s now September I decided it was high time I started using pumpkin. I would have started using it in August but I just seems so out of place in the summer. Am I right?
I found this recipe in the King Arthur Website and knew right away it was going to be the pumpkin winner and my first foray into yeast breads. Now that I’m done with the process and have eaten several slices I only have one thing to say “why did I wait so long?” For real. Why did I wait so long?! Not only was the bread amazing it was therapeutic to do all the kneading by hand. I took all my frustration out on that bread. It was amazing. I thought about my day and all the things bugging me. I kneaded some more. I thought about my difficultly finding a “grown-up” job and how I hate my student loans. I kneaded some more. By the time the bread was ready to rest I felt like I had been through a therapy session. I loved it.
After I let the bread rise I molted it into a loaf and placed it gently into my pan. I looked after that thing like it was my child. I wanted it to turn out perfectly. After it rose some more it was finally time to bake. Oh and when I mean “rose some more” I really mean “it rose crazy big and looked all weird and funky” but I wasn’t going to turn it away. It was my child! Since it was time to bake I put it in the oven and hoped for the best. It turned out BUT it was crazy big. It was like a giant popover of a loaf of bread. It was sorta funny looking. But I loved it. It was my first yeast bread and I was going to love it no matter what it looked like or tasted like.
It was only after I went on Twitter did I learn (thank you friends!) that I could have punched down the dough and let it rise again to a more reasonable height. Oh well I guess. I kind of like how this loaf had a “built in handle” thing going on. It was really convenient.
So I’m sure you are all wondering about the taste. It’s not overly pumpkiny (?) and the spices are really delicate and do not overpower the bread. It has a soft, chewy texture and is great plain or slathered with honey butter. I’m thinking it would be amazing as french toast too…ok I really need to do that. Maybe tomorrow for breakfast?
Pumpkin Yeast Bread
1/2 cup warm water
2 packages (2 tablespoons) active dry yeast
2/3 cup warm milk
2 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups puréed pumpkin, either fresh or canned
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 1/2 cups (approximately) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (original recipe called for cardamom)
In a large bowl, stir yeast into water to soften. Add milk, eggs, pumpkin, oil, 4 cups flour, brown sugar, salt, ginger and cinnamon to yeast mixture. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes.
Gradually add remaining flour, a little at a time, until you have a dough stiff enough to knead. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead, adding flour as necessary, until you have a smooth, elastic dough.
Put dough into an oiled bowl. Turn once to coat entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
Turn dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface. Divide dough in half. Shape dough into loaves and place in well-greased 10 x 5-inch pans or, shape half into a loaf, and other half into 12 large dinner rolls. Cover with a towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.
Bake in a preheated 375°F oven. Loaves bake about 30 minutes, rolls about 20. Check the internal temperature of each with an instant-read thermometer; a reading of 190°F means bread or rolls are done.
Immediately remove bread or rolls from pans and cool on a wire rack to prevent crust from becoming soggy. For a shiny crust, brush tops of bread or rolls lightly with vegetable oil. Makes 2 large loaves, or 1 large loaf and 12 dinner rolls.
*I successfully halved this recipe
This post has been linked to Family Fresh Cooking HappyPost