Pastry Series: Pumpkin Bread

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I realize that a basic pumpkin bread recipe isn't exactly the classic French gourmand fare one would expect from pastry school, and yet I share another first week introduction, easy-to-make recipe because it's a favorite that I make over and over again. It is also a recipe that I have tried countless times to convert from weight measurements to cups, but have come up with lacking results. So again, a kitchen scale is needed to make this bread.

This bread is simple. As simple as they come. The spices are mellow, the crumb is tender, the top is crisp and the bread is moist. In the past, I have made this bread essentially vegan by substituting some banana for the egg. I have also used brown sugar when the white sugar canister was empty. I may have even used spelt flour on one occasion. Quick breads, like this one, are very capable of handling a bit of substitutions. Though one should expect the results to vary a bit, you can certainly play around with this recipe. That said, I feel that no substitutions need to be made. Of course you can add chocolate chips or the terrible rum soaked raisins like we did in school, but I wouldn't recommend it. I recommend making this uncomplicated bread as it is, so you can actually taste its delicate flavor. It wraps up nicely as an understated holiday gift and is certainly a family-favorite appetizer when served alongside a dish of whipped cream cheese. Surely there are dozens, maybe hundreds of pumpkin bread recipes floating around this Fall season, but again this year, I will be sticking to the tried and true recipe from my pastry school notebook. 

Pumpkin Bread

Cooking Note: The batter for this bread can be made 1 day ahead of time to allow the spices and flavor to intensify.

Makes 1 loaf


butter for greasing the pan
7 ounces flour
4 1/2 grams baking powder
2 1/2 grams baking soda
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon clove
3 1/2 grams salt
7 1/2 ounces pumpkin puree
9 ounces sugar
3 ounces canola or vegetable oil
2 eggs
3 ounces oil

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan with butter and line with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine the pumpkin puree and sugar until completely blended. Add the oil and eggs until thoroughly combined. Gently fold in the flour mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the bread. Let the bread cool in its pan for 10 minutes. Use a butter knife to loosen the bread from the pan and pull the ends of the parchment paper to lift the bread onto a wire rack to cool completely. To store the bread, wrap tightly in plastic wrap. It will keep for up to four days.


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