Pumpkin Bread

Through the maelstrom of changing jobs and moving, cooking keeps me centered.  It maintains a sense of normalcy to my life no matter what’s going on.  And if all else fails – bake.  Pumpkin bread is a comforting winter treat, it fills the house with warming spices and bears a cheery golden hue – with a Red Kuri squash begging to be used, it seemed like a natural choice.

If you’ve never tried making pumpkin bread using a winter squash like Red Kuri, Potimaron or Kabocha, then it’s high time to try it.  The natural sweetness, moistness, depth and flavour of the squash means that you can reduce on sugar and oil, creating a dessert that combines decadence with health.

Yield: 2 loaves

What you need:

  • 2 cups mashed squash (steam about 4 cups of peeled, cubed squash, cool a bit and mash)
  • 3-1/2 cups flour (I like a 3:1 combination of whole wheat and buckwheat flours)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1-1/4 cups Sucanat (or coco sugar)
  • 2/3 cup sunflower oil (you can cut this down to 1/2 cup if necessary)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (organic preferred)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoon flax seeds, ground
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds, ground

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and then grease and flour two 8”x4” bread pans.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the water, ground flax and ground chia.  Let everything go goopy; this usually takes about 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, sift together (or just mix them really well) the flour, soda, salt, spices and Sucanat.
  4. In a small bowl or large measuring cup, mix together the mashed squash, oil, applesauce and flax/chia/water goop until smooth.
  5. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet ones.  Stir just until everything is mixed.
  6. Divide the batter between the two pans.
  7. Bake 1 hour and 5 minutes.  Don’t worry if the bread doesn’t seem to rise at first, it will take about 25 minutes in the oven before you see significant lift as the batter is quite dense – particularly if you used home-milled whole-grain flours!
  8. Place the pans on cooling racks and let cool at least a half-hour before unmoulding.
  9. Serve nice thick slices alongside a cup of hot tea.

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