Wednesday, December 10, 2014

yeasted pumpkin bread.

It wasn't until college that I was introduced to the gloriousness that is monkey bread.  For those of you unfamiliar with this epic treat (I feel sorry for you), it is essentially small balls of yeasted bread dipped in cinnamon sugar and baked in a bundt pan.  What emerges from the oven is a tower of sugar and spiced deliciousness that is best eaten warm. I promise you it is impossible to eat anything less then half.  Once you consume this, you will spend the rest of your life looking for pull-apart bread recipes that involve cinnamon and sugar.  

While in California, I had a pretty super yeasted pumpkin roll from Acme Bread.  It was so good that one of the first things I did upon returning to the East Coast was Google "Yeasted Pumpkin Rolls" to see if anyone had a recipe.  The search for rolls proved less then fruitful  but I did uncover a recipe for yeasted pumpkin bread which is basically the money bread cousin I never knew existed.  I practically wept with happiness and proceeded to make it as fast as possible.

So yeah...I think the pictures speak for themselves but if you wanted some verbal feedback it would be something along the lines of "pumpkin spiced sugar awesomeness".  Layers of pumpkin bread envelope sugar and cinnamon.  It's epic, it's amazing, it's best eaten on lazy Sunday mornings though I think it would be a mighty fine addition to your Christmas brunch spread.  

Yeasted Pumpkin Bread
Recipe from Sprouted Kitchen

Note - You have 2 options with this bread.  You can use the full 1 ¼ cup of sugar (white and brown) and omit the glaze (just drizzle on a little maple syrup instead) or you can dial the sugar back to 1 cup and include the glaze.  Up to you and your preference!

If you are using your own homemade pumpkin/squash puree, just be mindful of how watery it is.  Mine was for some reason more wet than normal and I required additional flour. 

Note this is not a slicing bread, it breaks in chunks for a free form breakfast treat. 

For the Bread

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
½ cup milk
2 ½ teaspoon active dry yeast
¾ cup white sugar, divided (see note above)
½ cup dark brown, maple, or muscavado sugar
¾ cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon. sea salt
1 1/3 cup unbleached bread flour or all-purpose
1 cup spelt flour (can replace with all all-purpose flour)
1 tablespoon. olive oil
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg

In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook 2 tablespoons of the butter, without stirring, until brown bits form, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the milk and get the mixture to 110' (too hot and it'll kill the yeast). Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, stir in the yeast and 1/4 cup of the white sugar. Let it stand for 10 minutes.

Stir in the pumpkin puree, salt and 1 cup of the bread/all-purpose flour. When combined, add the rest of the flour in several additions, kneading between additions. Knead the dough until it is elastic and slightly sticky, 6-8 minutes.  (This can also be done in a mixer with the bread hook.) 

Brush a large bowl with olive oil, place the dough ball inside and turn it over several times until it is well greased. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise in a warm, draft free place until doubled in size, about 1 ½ hours.

Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1 cup (¾ if making the glaze) sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg and remaining 2 tablespoons butter (chop the butter into small pieces before adding) and stir well. After the dough has doubled in size, knead it for two minutes. Roll it out into a 12x9 inch rectangle. Sprinkle the sugar mixture on top, gently pressing it into the dough. Slice the dough lengthwise into six strips, and stack them on top of the other. Cut the strips into 6 squares and stack them into a 9x5 inch loaf pan lined with parchment. Cover with a clean dishtowel and allow it to rise for 30 minutes to an hour, until it doubles in size again.

Preheat the oven to 350'. Bake the loaf on the middle rack for 30 minutes until edges are golden. Set the pan on a rack to cool.

Optional Glaze 

If omitting the glaze, just a drizzle of maple syrup is pretty perfect.  

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 ½ tablespoons real maple syrup
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1-2 tablespoons. milk
3/4 cup roasted and salted pecans, chopped

In a medium bowl, whisk together the confectioners sugar, syrup, butter and 1 tablespoon of the milk. Whisk in more milk for a thinner consistency if desired. Drizzle the glaze over the bread and sprinkle with pecans. Serve warm.

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