Pumpkin in Many Forms: Pumpkin Bread
When a man with a toothache says he wants pumpkin bread, you make it for him. Especially if you’ve already been planning to make some, and it’s a Sunday afternoon, and you really want the house to smell good.
I have been planning on this for a while, but I didn’t actually bother to find a recipe until it got time to settle down to it. I figured I’d try my cookbook collection first, but they turned up nothing of consequence. (Okay, that’s a stretch – they turned up plain old nothing.) So I turned to my trusty internet, with its trusty other-people’s-cooking-blogs (and with AllRecipes – let’s give credit where it’s due), and low and behold found an amazingly simple recipe on of my old faithfuls – My Baking Addiction.
The best recipes call for things you already have around the house. We’re now solidly into pumpkin season, so canned pumpkin is firmly in that category. I had a brief moment of panic about pumpkin spice, though – until I realized that Jamie makes her own, and has that recipe on her website, too! Of course, it turned out I had plenty of store-bought, but next time I run out, I’m just going to make more instead of buying more. I always have all the other basics in spades!
So the kitties and I settled in to make our first batch of pumpkin bread. They helped by holding down the couch; I did all the measuring and mixing.
The liquids go first, including the pumpkin. I always make more dishes than I can handle, so I try to double up whenever possible. Here I measured the oil, then poured in the water, and topped it off with the vanilla all in one measuring cup. I felt very clever.
Sugar is an essential part of holiday baking and of any dessert bread (banana bread was actually my first thought, but it’s all about the pumpkins right now). Never make the mistake of underestimating the sugar, or thinking something will be better with less of it, until you’ve actually tried it first. (I just learned this big time with my apple butter, but it’s definitely also true for pumpkin and banana bread.)
Blending the dry ingredients is always a toss up for me. I’m about 50/50 on putting the spices and baking soda directly into the liquids so I can make sure they blend evenly. But for something like this, I was afraid I’d end up with clumps of soda, so I went the old fashioned route and whisked the dries together.
Then I poured them into the mixer and got flour everywhere. (Seriously. In every crevice of the mixer as well as all over the counter. There’s probably some in the dishwasher, too.) Tricky, tricky flour.
The trick with most batters, as I’ve been learning, is not to over-blend. (The exception to this is crepes. Blend that batter like there is no tomorrow.) So when a recipe says “blend until just combined”, I take that seriously. Over-blending messes up the final texture of your bread/pancakes/whatever – it takes the fluffiness out of it, and you end up with dense, heavy whatevers.
Also, I apparently don’t have two matching loaf pans. For some reason I thought I did, but clearly I was wrong. So I used one metal 8″ pan like I was supposed to, and then my other silicone 9″ pan, which I do love. After I poured the batter in, it occurred to me that it would have been fun to make muffins instead, but too late this time! (As a side note, I did learn my lesson with Alimonkee’s chocolate cake this Spring, and I did grease the silicone pan as instructed. They’re awesome, but they can’t do everything for you.)
Here are the kitties helping me bake. Reenie has also been helping me knit.
While the bread baked, we napped and knitted, and I took the achy man for a distraction walk. We found some really interesting houses, saw lots of other people’s kitties, and came home to a house that smelled spectacularly like fresh baked pumpkin bread!
The bread wasn’t actually quite done, though. After the first round of 60 minutes, the metal pan needed another 10, and the silicone pan needed another 15. I have found that silicone always needs a bit longer, which sometimes means that the tops are overcooked. I do need to experiment with that – maybe the trick is slightly higher temperatures.
Once the extra time was up, and both my chopsticks came out clean, I flipped the bread out of their pans to cool a bit. It may have been a coincidence, but the metal pan left one small chunk of bread stuck to the bottom, while the silicone pan didn’t stick at all. I was able to press the bread out of the silicone pan, though, so maybe that’s the difference.
Ultimately, it was delicious. Very moist, light, and flavorful. Not too terribly sweet, but sweet enough. I made a cream cheese pumpkin sandwich for Calin (which he devoured before I could document it), and did round two with just butter. I would make this again in a heartbeat. (Maybe I will right now! Good thing it makes two loaves already…)
Makes: 2 loaves
Takes: 20 minutes prep; 60-70 minutes baking
- 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2/3 cup water
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Grease and flour two 8.5 x 4 x 2.5 inch loaf pans (or whatever close approximation you have on hand).
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, combine pumpkin, eggs, oil, water, vanilla and sugar until well blended.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice until well combined.
- Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour batter into the prepared pans.
- Bake in preheated oven for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (My toothpicks aren’t long enough, so I used a chopstick.)
- Cool in the loaf pans for 5 minutes, then run a butter knife around the edges of the pan, and invert loaves onto a cooling rack for another 5 minutes before serving.
This bread only gets better over the next day or so, and should be stored at room temperature, not in the fridge, unless you’re going to take much longer than that to eat it. But I promise, you won’t.