October 10, 2010

Pumpkin Bread

Fall is finally upon us.  Yay!  To me, fall means crunchy leaves, cool nights, sweaters, pumpkins, apples, and only a short time until winter.  Most of my favorite things are lumped into one beautiful season.

I thought pumpkin bread was a good way to start the season.  A couple of weeks ago, I went to Sur la Table and purchased my own copy of The Art & Soul of Baking.  It was a very exciting day!  I couldn't wait to make something from it, so I went with pumpkin bread.  The bread was delicious!  Warm spices, nuts, and pumpkin all in one.  It was simple to make, using the muffin method.  I did have to cook my bread longer than the instructions stated, but it wasn't a big deal. 

Pumpkin Walnut Bread

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup neutral-flavor vegetable oil (such as canola)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position an oven rack in the center.  Lightly coat a loaf pan with melted butter or high-heat canola-oil spray and line it with a piece of parchment paper that extends 1 inch beyond the edge of both sides of the pan.  In the large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, ginger, and salt until thoroughly blended.  Add the pumpkin puree, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract and blend well.

Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk until blended and smooth.  Add the walnuts and stir until they are evenly distributed.  Use a spatula to scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and level the top.

Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, until the bread is firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Transfer to a rack to cool completely.  To serve, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices by sawing gently with a serrated knife.  Any leftovers should be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Makes 1 loaf

Hat Tip - The Art & Soul of Baking by Cindy Mushet

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