"When there is very little else left to believe in, one can still believe in an honest loaf of fragrant, home-baked bread." --Anna Thomas
Lately, I've been feeling paralyzed about making big life decisions.
As a result, I've been baking a lot.
Within the past week, I've made this whole wheat pumpkin yeast bread (for us), cinnamon swirl bread (for my ESL student), oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (for friends that just had a baby), and cranberry orange scones (for a brunch party).
This whole wheat pumpkin loaf is the best thing I've baked all week.
You might be thinking, "why go through the trouble of making a pumpkin bread that requires yeast and 2 hours of rise time when I can just make a pumpkin quick bread so easily?"
I love quick breads, I really do. But they're dense and sweet and predictable.
This pumpkin yeast bread is airy, soft, and decidedly worth the fuss and the rise time.
When everything is confusing and uncertain, it's comforting to make something tangible with my hands, something substantial, and good.
No matter what kind of week you've had or what kind of week lies ahead, the smell of this bread baking will make you feel as if everything is right in the world, even if just for a moment.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! I'll be making pumpkin whole wheat rolls with this recipe as well as strawberry pretzel cheesecake.
Whole Wheat Pumpkin Yeast Bread
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon warm water
1 package instant yeast
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup of assorted grains and seeds. I used oats, sunflower seeds, and chia seeds
Prepare a clean surface on your counter and sprinkle with flour. Prepare a large bowl by spraying it with non-stick spray or olive oil.
*Optional--preheat your oven to 200 and then turn it off. (This will provide a warm place for the bread to rise)
In a medium bowl, add the yeast and hot water. Stir gently for a moment and then let sit for 5 minutes. Add the sugar, vegetable oil, and pumpkin.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, salt, ginger, allspice, and cinnamon.
Add the flour mixture to the west mixture. If the dough is very sticky, add another tablespoon or two of flour until the dough is soft and smooth. Turn dough onto a cleaned floured surface and knead for 5-6 minutes. Dough should be smooth and elastic.
Add dough to the prepared bowl and turn over so that all sides are covered in non-stick spray/olive oil. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes-1 hour. (I like to let my dough rise in the oven)
Punch dough down and shape into a loaf size. Transfer to a greased 9 by 5 loaf pan. Cover the pan and return to a warm place to rise for an additional 45 minutes-1 hour. The dough should rise about 1 inch above the rim of the loaf pan.
Preheat oven to 350. Brush the top of the bread with the egg. Sprinkle with assorted seeds and nuts. Bake for 35-45 minutes. Test dough by giving the top of the loaf a thump with your finger. It should sound hollow!
Let bread cool for about 5 minutes before removing from pan to cool on a wire rack. Let bread cool completely before slicing.
Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour.