My long-time recipe for pumpkin bread, almost elegant in its very simplicity. The crumb is firm and moist, spiked with autumn spices and studded with seasonal nuts.
When the weather cools down, it’s somehow automatic to crank up the oven. During hot summer days, baking is like a too-rich dessert, a treat to be consumed sparingly. During cool autumns and down-right cold winters, a hot oven warms both house and belly.
This pumpkin bread is a long-time favorite and makes up in just a few minutes, a real “quick loaf”.
The recipe makes two large loaves. One for a neighbor? One for the freezer? Serve it plain, toasted for breakfast or in half-sandwiches with a bit of cream cheese. I’ve lowered the calorie count by substituting buttermilk for part of the vegetable oil. A side-by-side taste test yielded no difference at all. You can also reduce calories by eliminating the pecans, although nuts do provide a welcome crunch to a fairly dense loaf.
AUTUMN PUMPKIN BREAD
Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Total preparation time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 4 eggs
- 16 ounces (2 cups) canned 100% pumpkin purée
- 3-1/2 cups flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1-1/2 teaspoons table salt
- 2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1-1/2 cups pecans, chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F. Spray two 9x5 loaf pans with cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl, combine oil, buttermilk and sugars and beat until smooth using an electric hand mixer. Add eggs and pumpkin; beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Separately, combine flour, spices, salt and baking soda. Add to pumpkin mixture and combine until just blended. Remove beaters. Add pecans and stir in with a wooden spoon. Pour evenly into two loaf pans and bake 45 minutes or until a knife inserted into center is removed cleanly. Remove from oven, let cool five minutes Remove from pans and continue to cool. Keeps several days but do refrigerate if not eaten within a day.
PLAYING AROUND Substitute up to half the flour with whole wheat flour. The 'crumb' will change to a heavier, more substantial bread, versus the almost cake-like crumb with all-purpose flour. I've also used 100% whole wheat pastry flour, it's expensive flour but turns out nearly as light as with all-purpose flour. When I make Light 'n' Fluffy Whole-Grain Bread, I use the leftover pumpkin to make a loaf of Autumn Pumpkin Bread. There's no missing the 1/3 cup used in the yeast bread. I've substituted eggnog for buttermilk, just be sure to add 1 teaspoon baking powder.
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