I hope you are not sick of pumpkins already. Please don't be. It is only November, and if you, like our family, are trying to embrace the local, sustainable, seasonal movement (and I'd love to know that you are), then pumpkins and winter squash are your friends. And really, they are quite versatile. You can do a lot more with them than making pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, pumpkin bread, etc. But then again, why not pumpkin bread? Yes, I know you can buy canned pumpkin puree all year long at any megamart, but why not bake some using some fresh pumpkin puree?
Well, actually, you don't even really need pumpkin. I should rename this post "Kubocha squash" bread. What is Kubocha squash? It is a winter squash, originally from Japan, and is also called Japanese pumpkin. Texturally, it is very similar to butternut squash, but it has gorgeous deep orange flesh. And unlike some pumpkins, the puree is extremely silky. And, did you know that many so called 'canned pumpkin purees' are actually not pumpkin, but winter squash? Yup! This is true. So go ahead and use pumpkin puree, or squash puree. You can't really tell the difference when you bake with it.
My kids are funny about nuts in baked goods. Sometimes they like 'em, sometimes they don't. So today, I decided to bake the loaves without nuts in the batter, but with almonds sprinkled on top.
So go ahead, double the recipe, and pass some warm-spiced pumpkin bread on to your neighbors. Even the chilliest ones will warm up :-)
Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
Makes one 9 x 13 inch loaf
1 cup white whole wheat flour (you can use regular whole wheat too)
1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp fresh ground/grated nutmeg
1/4 cup (2 oz, 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup dark brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup pureed pumpkin
1/4 cup buttermilk (or yogurt)
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.
2. Whisk or sift together flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices in a medium bowl.
3. Cream together the sugar and butter. Add oil gradually. Beat in the eggs one at a time, stopping to scrape the bowl. Beat in the vanilla, pumpkin, and buttermilk.
4. Add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until evenly moistened. If using nuts, now is the time to add them in.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle nuts on top, if using. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, approx. 1 hour (if your loaf seems to be browning too fast, loosely tent with foil).
6. Remove the bread from the oven. Place it on a rack to cool for 10 minutes. Gently run a knife along the edges of the pan to help release the bread.Turn it out of the pan, and place on a rack to finish cooling. Serve warm (yum!) or at room temperature. Also, note that this bread freezes extremely well.