Thursday, January 16, 2014

Pumpkin is another flavor that is deeply associated with the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but it doesn’t need to spend the rest of the year in exile. A pumpkin, after all, is nothing more than a squash, a long storing autumn veggie that, if handled correctly, can hold throughout the winter months.  

As much as I’m happy to roast and puree my own pumpkin for recipes like Pumpkin Soup, Pumpkin Parmesan Sauce, or Pumpkin Risotto, this recipe uses canned pumpkin. I honestly prefer it for baking as it contains a standard amount of water per volume, and produces reliable results. I likewise steer clear of fresh or canned pumpkin puree that has been frozen in baking. The freezing process degrades the integrity of the cell walls of the flesh releasing extra water during thawing and cooking/baking. This excess water will affect the texture of baked goods that use flour by producing excess gluten, and in the custard emulsion that is pumpkin pie filling, which is dependent on a delicate balance of sugar, fat, and water, it can spell disaster.  
Pumpkin Bread Recipe
Yield: 2 loaves 1,120g each ~ 24 servings 

You’ll need:
385g all purpose flour
7g baking powder
12g baking soda
6g ground cinnamon
1g freshly grated nutmeg
1g ground allspice
2g ground ginger
3g fine grade sea salt
500g pumpkin puree
210g granulated sugar
220g light brown sugar
200g eggs [at room temperature] ~ 4 large eggs
50g canola or vegetable oil ~60ml
400g buttermilk [at room temperature] ~400ml
- unsalted butter for baking pans and parchment [at room temperature] 

- orbital stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or other electric mixer
- 1 large mixing bowl
- 2 medium measuring cups or other vessel with pouring spout
- 1 small measuring cup or other vessel with pouring spout
- 2 9.5x5.5 inch loaf pans
- parchment paper
- pastry brush
- rubber or silicone spatula
- 18x12 half sheet pan
- medium sized sieve appropriate for sifting
-digital scale

Mise en place:
Preheat oven to 180ºC [350ºF]  

Measure and cut parchment paper so that it fits the bottom of the loaf pans and rises about 2 – 3cm [1 inch] above sides of the pan to form a sling. Butter the pans, place the parchment sling into the pan and then butter the parchment. Place both of the loaf pans on the sheet pan and set aside. 

Weigh the pumpkin puree and both sugars into the work bowl of the stand mixer and set aside.  

Weigh the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and spices into the large mixing bowl and set aside. Sift these ingredients together.  

Weigh eggs into one of the medium measuring cups and set aside. 

Weight the vegetable oil into the smaller measuring cup, and the buttermilk into the second medium sized measuring cup. Set aside.  

With the bowl and paddle attachment locked in place, beat the pumpkin puree and sugars together until the sugars are fully incorporated. About three minutes. You shouldn’t feel any grittiness when you rub a small amount of the mixture between your fingers. 

With the mixer running (medium speed) add the eggs to the mixture one at a time, allowing enough time for each egg to be fully incorporated between additions. About one minute each. 

Add the vegetable oil to the running mixer in a slow steady stream, allowing the mixer to establish a stable emulsion. About one minute. 

Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl and paddle.  

On low speed mix in half of the flour mixture until just combined, follow with all of the buttermilk.  

Stop the mixer at this stage and scrape down the bowl. 

Add the second half of the flour on low speed and mix until just combined. 

Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and scrape any batter from the paddle. Using the spatula stir the mixture a few times, making sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl.  

For best results use a scale to evenly divide the batter between the two pans. Return both pans to the sheet pan and place in the oven.  

Bake 50 – 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each loaf comes out clean.  

Cool the loves in the pan for 10 minutes and then using the sides of the parchment sling remove them to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Once fully cooled you can store the loves in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic wrap for up to two days at room temperature. You can also double wrap them first in cling film and then tin foil, and freeze for up to six months. Allow 1 to 1 ½ hours to thaw before serving.  

Short form:
Creaming method, adding one egg at a time, followed by oil. Add dry ingredients alternating with buttermilk. Bake 50 – 60 minutes at 180ºC [350ºF]

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