Baking Delicious Pumpkin Bread For Fall

Bake up a loaf of pumpkin bread for a fantastic seasonal treat.
Bake up a loaf of pumpkin bread for a fantastic seasonal treat.

The English poet John Keats called autumn the “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.” No flavor sums up a season full of colors and roasting smells quite like pumpkin. The delightful squash returns like an old friend each year, making its way onto our front porches, into our coffee and, best of all, into our baking. Pumpkin brings back fond memories of childhood trick-or-treating while serving as an excellent, sweet base for a wide range of seasonally appropriate spices and flavors. Of course, pumpkin pie is a wonderful desert, but no home should pass fall by without a loaf of pumpkin bread. Follow these tips to bake up a pan today.

Choose your pumpkin wisely: The big, mature pumpkins that make the best jack-o’-lanterns are not ideal for baking. If you want to bake pumpkin bread that is sweet and flavorful, rather than a bland, stringy disappointment, you should try to find a pumpkin that is small and smooth. These are often labeled as “pie” or “sugar” pumpkins. If you cannot find the right one for you, there’s no shame in picking up a can of pure pumpkin, or even pumpkin pie filling, from the store.

IMG_7524 Keep your wet and dry ingredients separate: Like banana bread, pancakes or brownies, pumpkin bread is a quick bread. That means it will rise rapidly when the wet and dry ingredients are mixed together, so it’s very important to use separate bowls for preparation. One bowl should contain dry ingredients like flour, salt, cinnamon and baking powder. Use the other for mixing vegetable oil, eggs, vanilla extract and sugar (yes, sugar is included with the wet ingredients because it serves to lighten the eggs). Lightly and slowly stir the wet and dry ingredients together just before you pour them into the pan for baking.

Mix in more flavors: You will definitely want some cinnamon and salt in your pumpkin bread. However, you can make your loaf unique and surprising by trying out some other spices as well. Consider mixing in nutmeg, cloves, ginger or molasses. If you have pumpkin seeds, sprinkle them in the batter as well to add a welcome bit of crunch. Alton Brown recommends toasting a cup of the seeds at 400 degrees for five minutes ahead of time. Once you’re successful at making a basic, sweet pumpkin bread, you might try experimenting with adding even more flavors, like toasted coconut or chocolate.

IMG_7465 Get the baking time right: Preheat your oven to 325-350 degrees (always remember that oven temperatures may vary and are inconsistent). The bread will require about 60-65 minutes baking time. Be sure to test by inserting a knife into the center of the loaf and ensuring it comes out clean before removing the pan from the oven. Don’t be impatient; give the bread some time on cooling rack. After about an hour the starches will grow firm and it will be ready for you cut off a slice. Pumpkin bread can sit for up to three days and retain its freshness, but it will be best if it’s still a bit warm when you dig in.

Make muffins instead: It is unquestionably a great idea to keep a loaf of pumpkin bread in the pantry for a few days, adding a seasonal touch to your meals. However, the same batter can easily be repurposed to bake up a pan of pumpkin muffins instead. Muffins, of course, have the benefits of being fun and easy to share, making them a perfect treat around Halloween. Remember that while you can use the same quantities of ingredients for muffins, they will require a shorter baking time: about 30 minutes should be sufficient.


Earn your diploma online with Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts

Comments are closed.