Today´s recipe for the Tuesdays with Julia group is Cranberry-Walnut Pumpkin Loaves. It is quite enjoyable to be baking loaves with yeast, making the dough, waiting for them to rise and then baking them in the oven and watching them turn out to be wonderful loaves of bread that the whole family enjoys.
The first task was to get a pumpkin since the recipe requires puréed pumpkin. So on Sunday, we took the kids to a “pumpkin farm”. They grow countless varieties of pumpkins and winter squashes there, still somewhat unusual for Europe. You could choose between butternut or spaghetti squash, Musque de Provence, acorn squash, butternut, Hokkaido and many other kinds. I chose a medium sized Hokkaido squash and when we were home, I immediately baked it in the oven and ended up with about one and a half cups bright orange pumpkin puree.
Steve Sullivan is the contributing baker for this recipe and it is a recipe that is easy to follow. The ingredients are but a few, namely bread flour, freshly ground cinnamon and nutmeg as the spices, a bit of sea salt, active dry yeast (although I must admit that I usually prefer to bake yeast breads with fresh yeast cakes), good quality unsalted butter, homemade pumpkin purée, an egg, plus walnuts (which I left out in my second loaf but had them in my first one) and golden raisins and fresh cranberries.
Turns out that the most difficult part of this recipe was trying to find fresh cranberries and since I could not find them anywhere, I substituted dried cranberries in my first loaf and dried cherries in my second loaf – both turned out to be delicious (albeit not quite as colorful) additions to the Walnut Pumpkin Loaves.
After the second rise and just before baking my second loaf, I placed a small clay plate in the middle of the bread. A few years ago, we used to buy bread at a small bakery not far from where we live and the bakery was in a small town amidst numerous resident pottery makers, so the owner of the bakery had the idea of having one of the artists create these little clay plates to place on his bread before baking. Unfortunately, that small bakery does not exist anymore but I have faithfully kept the clay plates and every so often, I put one on top of my unbaked breads – this process always makes them sink a bit in the middle, but I do not mind, I love the look it lends to my baked goods.
We liked this bread and I certainly enjoyed baking these Walnut Pumpkin Loaves. We all adored the wonderful smell emanating from the oven while the two loaves were baking.
Wonderful bread – great color, perfect for the season and easy to make.
The bread can be enjoyed fresh or toasted with just some good quality butter and whatever else strikes your fancy.
The hostess for today´s recipe is Rebecca of This Bountiful Backyard. “Thank You”, Rebecca !
To see how the other Doristas baked wonderful Cranberry-Walnut Pumpkin Loaves today, please click here.