Wednesday, February 08, 2006

One fine Pumpkin day

I have been meaning to make pumpkin bread for a long time, but I never find canned pumpkin in the groceries anymore. It did occur to me to make pumpkin puree from scratch, I just didn't thought it was worth making at the time. Nevertheless, the day came when incessant pumpkin cravings got the best of me and thus, I diligently steamed some pumpkin and mashed was relatively easy, actually too easy. Not to mention very cheap! Fresh pumpkin costs even less than half the amount of a canned pumpkin! Plus, I don't get any leftovers to stock in the fridge. Although it is wise to stock some if you often make use of mashed pumpkins, otherwise it might just rot, forgotten in the farthest nook in your fridge.

It was a lot of fun incorporating the pumpkin to the flour and yeast mixture. It gave the dough an orange hue and a silky touch. What amazes me is one can never really tell their is pumpkin in it--aside from the color, that is. The recipe makes use of brown sugar and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. After a few minutes in the oven, the bread emitted a wonderful home-y aroma and changed into a deeper orange color. I brushed the top with egg wash and it gave a nice shine to the loaf. I made use of a rich egg wash, made of yolk, a bit of cream and a pinch of salt. And I applied them before and after final rising.
Here's the recipe. Enjoy!
Pumpkin Yeast Bread
2 1/4 t yeast
5/8 C milk
1/2 C canned/fresh pumpkin
1/4 C butter/shortening
1/3 C brown sugar
1t cinnamon
3/4 t nutmeg
3/4 t salt
3 C bread flour
1/2 C whole wheat flour
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Combine milk and yeast. If using fresh milk, scald it first and let cool,(milk contain enzymes that hinders yeast growth). Add pumpkin, sugar, 1 C flour, salt and spices. Combine well using paddle attachment.
2. Combine remaining flours. Switch to dough hook and gradually add the flours to the batter. You may not need all the flour. Protein content of flours vary.
3. When dough comes together, knead in softened butter/shortening a tablespoon at a time. This will give a more malleable dough. It may not mix well with the dough at first, just continue mixing on medium-high speed and it will eventually incorporate itself.
4. Once gluten has developed, stop kneading. With greased hand, gather the dough, shape into a ball, grease, cover and let rise, 40minutes -1 hour, until doubled in bulk.
5. Punch out gas and shape into buns or loaves. Do not forget to grease your pan. One recipe weighs around 925g, good enough for two medium loaves. Let rise again until doubled in bulk. A poke on the dough will have a dent that will slowly rise back. It may already have over risen when the dent stays. Brush with egg wash.
6. Bake in a preheated oven, 35-45minutes. Remove from mold, let cool before slicing, or crumb will be gummy. This keeps well, frozen and tightly sealed.

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