Tuesday, October 2, 2012

TWD: Baking with Julia - Cranberry-Walnut Pumpkin Loaves

The recipe for our Tuesdays with Dorie, Baking with Julia group this week is Cranberry-Walnut Pumpkin Loaves.  You might see the name of this recipe and think it would be a quick bread, like banana bread, but this is actually a yeast bread!  And wowie is it good!  Rebecca, of This Bountiful Backyard, is the host for this recipe and I highly suggest you check out her blog, get the recipe, and make this bread as soon as possible!  Or, you can find it on pages 108-109 of Baking with Julia

Since my most recent Tuesdays with Dorie bread did not turn out so well, I was a bit nervous to make this recipe and made sure I followed the instructions exactly.  I needn't have worried.  For whatever reason, this bread worked out for me this time!  It must have been meant to be.  A Cranberry-Walnut Pumpkin Loaf truly screams AUTUMN to me, which happens to be my favorite season.  However I live in Houston, Texas, where we do not really have autumn.  At least not the autumn I know and love.  You know, the autumn where the weather turns cool, you wear long sleeves and maybe a sweater, your cheeks turn pink when you go outside, hot tea and chocolate become part of your regular beverages, the leaves turn their brilliant colors, and the air outside has that amazing crisp perfect smell.  Sigh.  Autumn in Houston means that the air might (or might not) get cooler, and cooler means that it is no longer in the 90s but likely in the 80s.  There is less humidity (always a welcome change) and the leaves, mostly still green, just give up hope and jump from their branches, tired of waiting for their colors to change.  I usually try to visit my parents in St. Louis during autumn so I can get a good dose of autumn-ness each year.  I digress.

As I was saying, maybe this recipe was meant to be because the day I decided to make it, we actually had a cold front come through!  Remember, I am in Houston, so a cold front means something different here.  It meant though that the temperature dropped a bit and it felt almost autumn-like!  Even the clever girl ran outside and asked if autumn was here.  She has been anxiously awaiting autumn as well and is in constant search of pretty leaves.  She craves wearing long sleeves and long pants.  She truly is my kid!  I digressed again.  Apologies!  This was the perfect autumn bread to make to celebrate the "autumn" coming in Houston!

The recipe is very well written and since it turned out so well I can't say I have any complaints!  Well, other than a warning that this is another recipe where you do something, WAIT, do something, WAIT, etc.  But it is totally worth it.  Get your timers ready and make this bread!

You start by mixing the yeast and some tepid water and letting the yeast get to a "creamy" state. 

While the yeast gets ready, cream some butter and sugar.  Feels like a quick bread, doesn't it?  But don't forget that yeast!  Also, whisk together some bread flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in another bowl.

Add pureed pumpkin and an egg to the butter/sugar and then slowly add in the flour mixture.  I used organic canned pumpkin I find in my grocery.  For reasons I don't actually understand, the organic pumpkin is WAY less liquid-y or squishy than regular canned pumpkin.  It is almost solid in the can.  I like the flavor better and I think the consistency is better for most baked goods.

Once the dough has been kneaded in the bowl for 10-15 minutes, add the walnuts and raisins and mix only until incorporated.  Then carefully add fresh cranberries and mix extremely briefly.  The more you mix, the more you will pop the cranberries!  Not a problem, but the whole ones are amazing in the bread!  

Oh, and here is a little tip about fresh cranberries.  You might find them impossible to find in your grocery stores except around Thanksgiving and maybe Christmas (for here in the US), or whatever holidays your culture celebrates where cooks might use fresh cranberries.  When I see them, I always pick up a couple of bags.  One to use during the holidays and another to just keep on hand.  They keep perfectly well in the freezer.  Then you can use fresh cranberries throughout the year, in punch, in spritzers, in desserts, the options are endless.  Unfortunately the availability of cranberries is NOT endless unless you plan ahead!  So this year, grab an extra bag (I get the giant ones!) and throw it in your freezer.  It will come in handy!

This dough gets placed in a buttered bowl and covered tightly with plastic wrap for 2 hours, until the dough doubles in size.  I worried that my dough wasn't entirely doubled at the end of my 2 hours but it was really late and I was falling asleep, so I decided it would have to be good enough!  And it was!  Phew!  Refrigerate the dough overnight.


About 6 hours before you intend to bake the dough, take it out of the refrigerator and allow it to slowly warm up.  When it gets to 64F, divide the dough into 3 equal sections.  Pat each section into a 5-inch by 7-inch rectangle, roll short-wise, pinch the edge closed, and place into a buttered 5 3/4 x 3 1/4 x 2-inch loaf pan.  Cover with a tea-towel and allow to rise for another 1 1/2 to 2 hours. 

Bake at 350F for 35 minutes.  Allow to rest on a cooling rack for 5 minutes and then cool completely out of the pans.

Let's take another look at that top picture:
The raisins and walnuts and cranberries are randomly strewn throughout the inside of the bread, so each bite is like a little surprise.  You might get the sweet taste of a juicy raisin.  Or maybe the crunch of a walnut.  Or a tart pop of a cranberry!  The bread itself is really light with a tiny amount of sweetness.  It almost looks swirled with the cinnamon and nutmeg, though it isn't really.  And the pumpkin, besides adding a delicious flavor, gives the bread a beautiful golden hue.  It looks like autumn!  Autumn on a plate, I tell you!  Make this bread.  Yes, there are steps involved, but they are not hard and the end result is divine.  

To see what other TWD members think of this bread, visit the Tuesdays with Dorie blog and click on the LYL:  Cranberry-Walnut Pumpkin Loaves link.  There you will find a list of people who made this recipe, with links to their blogs!


24 comments:

  1. Your bread looks beautiful. I agree with you about the cranberries; I always buy and freeze a bag or two, so I had them on hand. Unfortunately, I thought they were too tart.

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    1. Thanks! Huh, I thought the tartness was a nice contrast with the sweet raisins. I do really like tart things though, so that is probably the difference!

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  2. Beautiful bread! I really wish I had been able to find cranberries. Either way, next time I make this bread I WILL be using the fresh cranberries, only I will probably toss them in a bit of sugar so as to offset the tartness a bit.

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    1. That might be a good idea especially if you don't use the raisins to balance the sweet-tart factor! Thanks for visiting!

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  3. Nice bread! This was my favorite recipe for TWD so far.

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  4. Yep, I was one of those who couldn't find cranberries! I opted for sweetened dried cranberries, and they were yummy as well. :)

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  5. I usually do freeze cranberries, but I guess I forgot last year:(. I won't make that mistake again! I missed the fresh cranberries this time around. Maybe that's why I changed things around when I made this. Sigh. Yours looks really yummy.

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    1. Thanks! I loved this bread. I'll definitely make it again. Maybe try jazzing it up somehow different next time.... we'll see!

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  6. A lovely breakfast bread.
    I did not find fresh or frozen craberries so I made it twice: first time with cranberry in syrup (not a good idea) and the second time with dried sugared cranberry.
    I love it toasted - but it's not my favourite bread of the book: the whole wheat loaves are the ones!

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    1. So far this is my favorite bread recipe in this book by far!

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  7. Beautiful post. Ah, the wondrous heights only gluten flour can produce. Love your presentation.

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  8. Autumn is my favorite season as well! Lovely post.

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    1. Thank you. We are kindred autumn spirits!

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  9. Thank you on several accounts. I haven't seen "organic pumpkin" but am going looking for it. Also -- I have never frozen cranberries and kept in the freezer, however I sure wish I had them on hand for this recipe. Our grocery stores aren't stocking them yet ... At your suggestion I will be storing up several packages this holiday season! Blessings, Catherine www.praycookblog.com

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    1. You are so welcome! Glad I could share something that you found useful!

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  10. I love all things pumpkin, Sharron! Do you have any leftovers for sampling?! I have passed this post along to my mom. I think we might try to make it while she's here during the holidays!

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    1. If you show up for church this Sunday, you'll get a sample for sure! I'm "hospitality" again!

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  11. Love your description of autumn in Houston, especially the leaves giving up hope. I'm originally from FL so I totally sympathize. Your bread looks beautiful! Perfect for sweaters and apple cider!

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    1. Thanks! I know you understand, with Florida in your past. I hope you are now somewhere with lovely autumns!

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  12. I agree--autumn on a plate, a perfect description for a delicious bread. We loved it. Have a great week.

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  13. I enjoyed this too. It was so autumnal! I can't imagine living somewhere without an autumn-feeling fall. You'll have to have that vicariously through the bread.

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    1. Yes, it is truly depressing this time of year to not have a true autumn... I live vicariously through many many things in order to get that great fall feeling!

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