Spiced Pumpkin & Walnut Yeast Bread

Tuesday October 4, 2016

My latest kitchen obsession has been breads. For years, I’ve been making the same whole wheat raisin bread for Bean’s lunch. Then while we were at a beach house this summer, I came across a bread machine cookbook on the shelves.

The clouds parted, the sun shone through — it was like the bread messiah touched down and showed me a world of endless possibilities.

The recipes in that book didn’t actually work out perfectly, but I’ve been experimenting ever since. They’ve inspired me to think way past the usual sandwich bread.

My latest concoction is this pumpkin and walnut bread. It’s not that gummy sweat thing that you might be thinking of. It’s not a dessert bread at all, actually. It’s a little savory, spicy, and mild-flavored. Perfect as a slight nod to fall in the bite of a sandwich.






I could also see this as the foundation for an INSANE bread pudding or for some post-Thanksgiving sandwiches filled with turkey, cranberry, greens, and stuffing. Yesterday, Dave and I toasted a few slices and topped them with cream cheese, pumpkin seeds and honey.

OH, or maybe some apple butter too. Or even orange marmalade. Oh, man, or thickly sliced french toast? YUM.

Note that I try to bake without sugar, so I pureed a handful of prunes instead of adding sugar, brown sugar or honey. The texture of prunes isn’t noticeable in the final bread, but they add a smooth, nutty sweetness.


Spiced Pumpkin & Walnut Bread

2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast

1 2/3 cups bread flour

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup pureed prunes (you can also sub in 1/4 cup sugar, brown sugar or honey if pureeing prunes isn’t in your future)

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil

3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree

3 teaspoons Egg Replacer + 4 tablespoons water (or you can sub in 2 eggs)

3/4 cup water

1/4 cup chopped walnuts


First, if you’re baking without eggs, mix Egg Replacer and water in a small bowl until all clumps are gone. Set aside.

If you’re using a bread maker, as I did, prepare everything in your breadmaker according to the manufacturer’s instructions and bake on basic bread setting.

Otherwise, in another small bowl, add water, prunes (or sugar option) and yeast. Mix and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix pumpkin, water, eggs or Egg Replacer mixture, spices, salt, and oil. Add in yeast mixture. Then add in one cup of bread flour and mix together. Slowly add in the rest of the flour (mixture should be slightly sticky at this point).

Pour dough out onto floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. Towards the end of kneading, knead in the walnuts.

Transfer to bowl that’s been wiped down with olive oil, cover and let rise for 45 minutes to a hour.

After the first rise, punch down dough. Mold into loaf and place in a loaf pan. Let rise for another 45 minutes or until bread is domed over the pan (this might take less than 45 minutes, this bread rises quickly). Preheat oven to 375°

Once loaf has risen, bake for 35 minutes. Sides of loaf should sound hollow when the bread is finished baking.




More reading:

My Go-To Spicy Pumpkin Pie (optionally vegan)

How to wear a scarf — the twist and tie

Apple picking in Sonoma

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