Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Pumpkin Bread

Before last week, I had never made pumpkin bread before. As of yesterday, I've made two loaves! Fun.

Sorry, no pics. Because I am a sucky loser why don't you stop punching me I just want my mommy please leave me alone I am going to cut you you bully.

It's really because I keep cutting into the loaf and eating it before I stop to get a picture. Next time, I swear.

I used Alton Brown's recipe.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups shredded fresh pumpkin
1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Sift the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together.

In a separate bowl, mix the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla. Combine both mixtures and fold in the shredded pumpkin and pumpkin seeds. Once the ingredients are all incorporated pour into a non- stick 9 by 5 by 3-inch loaf pan. If your pan is not non- stick coat it with butter and flour.

Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. At this point a knife inserted into the middle of the loaf should come out clean. Cool for 15 minutes and turn out onto a cooling rack. Cool completely. For muffins temperature should also be 325 degrees F., but bake for 30 minutes.

Note: It's extremely important to sift the dry ingredients and have the wet ingredients mixed up by themselves before combining. Here's why
  • Tenderness. You want to mix as little as possible so as to not develop gluten and have a tender loaf. Sifting the dry stuff and premixing the wet stuff lets the dry & wet spend less time together potentially becoming a rubber blob. Try to fold gently and as little as possible.

  • Lift. You want to pretty much throw the stuff in the oven as soon as you are done bringing the ingredients together. Sifted dry ingredients incorporate much faster w/ wet stuff, as far as I can tell. Fewer blobs to break up. It's a really dense loaf, so let the second part of the double-acting baking powder do its job before gravity overwhelms the first part of the double-acting baking powder.

The first time, I used canned pumpkin. The second time, I used fresh pumpkin and a mix of freshly ground cinnamon & preground stuff. I also accidentally doubled the amount of baking powder. I didn't use toasted pumpkin seeds in either recipe. The second time, I made them on the side, but I just put them aside to eat. :D

Over all, I really like the recipe because it's not too sweet (in general, I hate overly sweet things) and it makes for a very fluffy textured bread. However, I'd reduce the amount of oil by just a little bit. It's not because of the fat content (I'm looking at you TU PbC!!) but because the resultant bread was just a touch greasy. The eggs are needed to provide the right amount of lift, along w/ the baking soda and powder, so I'd leave that alone.

Round 1: Canned pumpkin. Also, too much canned pumpkin. I used 3.5 cups instead of 3 because I wanted to use up the entire can. Bad idea.
Pros: Crusty & moist. Almost a caramelly flavor compared to fresh.
Cons: Too wet and had to bake for an extra 45 minutes, 15 of which was at a higher temperature! The heavy puree sank to the bottom where it took on a custard-y, pumpkin pie-y consistency. It wasn't really bready. The top half of the loaf where it had proper lift was divine though. The extra cooking time made the most delicious crust. Mmmm.

Round 2: Fresh pumpkin.
Pros: A more subtle flavor. Nice to have the shredded pumpking mixed throughout the dough, rather than a completely homogenous mixture you get when you use the canned stuff. The texture was much fluffier and lighter, and the consistency was even throughout. Also, having the pumpkin guts to make toasted pumpkin seeds is a plus.
Cons: Took f'ing forever to cut, gut, and shred. Less of a caramelly flavor.

I think next time, I might try this same recipe with the following modifications:
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree

  • 2 cups fresh shredded pumpkin

  • Use extra baking powder like this time.

  • Bake for required amount of time, then finish at 375 for another 15 minutes to compensate for the wet & dense puree.

Also, I butter my nonstick loaf pan with salted butter because I like my crust to be a little extra crusty and salty. Heheh.


Blogger h said...

Ooh! I'm totally going to make this while my sister and her family are in town. Canned pumkin only, of course. I don't have all day, here.

4:52 PM  
Blogger ei-nyung said...

You should probably use only about 2 cups, 2.5 cups TOPS of the puree based on my first trial.


4:59 PM  
Blogger Seppo said...

I thought shredding the pumpkin wasn't that bad. The key was to cut the pumpkin into relatively small pieces, then rather than grate until it hits the skin, just cut the skin off with a knife, and grade the whole chunk. I would be surprised if this took you longer than 15 minutes.

10:52 PM  
Blogger ei-nyung said...

It was actually gutting that took so dang long.

Also, I read a couple of recipes that said you shred the flesh and skin. I had no idea! It would have been easier if we had known that before.

10:56 PM  
Blogger Joseph said...

I will sacrifice time to shred pumpkin next time. Of course I enjoy the results of the pumpkin bread, so I ought to help out. Maybe I"ll do the clean up. HAHA, who am I kidding. Round one was pumpkin pie bread and YUMMMY (got in a wrestling match at work over a bite of it, the bite fell on the floor, I ate it). Round two was pumpking bread. YUMMY!! Both very good, but VERY different.

5:14 AM  

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