March 26, 2012

Winter Cleaning: Pumpkin and Cheese Bread

If you asked me what's the weather in here, I would show you my shoes that have been in operation lately, and it would be the most accurate answer. There are five pairs ready to go out any minute starting with very warm winter uggs, usually followed with double layer of socks, to late spring ballerinas, mostly used for beauty and comfortability, but definitely not for warmth. And in between you can find the gumboots to deal with the rain as well as something for not-too-cold-but-not-too-warm-either conditions.

So, that's the weather reality out there - nothing else but one big contradiction. Embraced by it one should always be ready for any kind of extremeness, and so here we are - me and my five pairs of shoes basically representing all four seasons. Every day is a new story behind the window: sometimes rushing with a dangerously catchy wind, other times - taking the snappy sun into consideration. It's not boring, after all. But unfortunately it's so far away from the spring that the rest of the Europe is happily enjoying with smiley sophistication on the face. I am talking about those warm days that insist on you changing the wardrobe, that makes you leave the comfort zone and start moving in the running track, or those long evenings without a second thought sacrificing another lazy minute of beauty sleep. Sadly, but in my case saying goodbye to the sweaters and bringing all the dresses to a new life is somewhere in the postpone phase.

Just, please, tell me that after all we are getting there!

pumpkin and cheese bread

But even though the wardrobe still represents something and everything else rather than spring, the freshness has already fully penetrated at least into the farmers market. The stalls are all covered in green lettuce and sharp-featured spinach leaves, rosy and lovely radishes as well as first tasty redskin tomatoes. The salad period fiercefully invaded into the lunch box, and that made me start thinking about the winter storage and the way to get rid of it.

The first on my list happened to appear frozen homemade pumpkin puree that together with some cheese and cayenne pepper ended up in the bread. However, since instead of using only all-purpose flour I mixed it with some whole wheat flour the deep latter's flavor slightly shaded mild pumpkin taste. But even without a strong expression the pumpkin itself made a bread incredibly moist and tender with very attractive crunchy crust. And the best thing is that it lasted for almost a weak, while even in its final days after warming or toasting it was nearly as fresh as in the beginning.

pumpkin and cheese bread1

Pumpkin and Cheese Bread
adapted from Country Living, November 2011

1 cup (120 g) whole wheat flour*
2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour (+ a little bit more for flouring the surface)
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 packet/0.24 oz (7 g) dry yeast
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup (240 ml) water
1/3 cup (75 g / 80 ml) pumpkin puree
4 oz (120 g) shredded Cheddar (or any similar cheese, the sharper the better)
1 Tbsp butter
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tsp water

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar, yeast, salt, and cayenne. Add 1 cup water, pumpkin, and cheese. Stir to combine. Dough will be slightly sticky.
Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it forms a smooth ball. Add a little bit more flour if needed (but not more than 1/4 cup).
Sprinkle a large bowl with flour and add the ball of dough, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Line 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper and spread it with butter.**
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and with your hands flatten it to a rectangle to fit into the loaf pan. Cover the pan with a kitchen towel and let rise at room temperature for 1 hour (the dough should almost double in volume).
Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C). 
Using a sharp knife, slash loaf down center. Brush it with egg wash, and bake 40-50 minutes, until loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
Turn out of pan onto a wire rack to cool.

* The original recipe calls only for all purpose flour (3 1/2 cup), but mixing it with whole wheat flour adds a great rustic flavor (but shades a little bit the pumpkin).
** You may skip the parchment paper part and use only buttered loaf pan, but the truth is that parchment paper  makes it easier to take the baked loaf out of the pan. Just don't skip the buttering part, because you really don't want to be stuck with scraping the paper from the bread.

The recipe also appeared on YeastSpotting.

pumpkin and cheese bread slices


  1. You said 1/3cup pumpkin but then said 240g

    Which measurement is correct?

    1. I really don't know why I wrote 240g. The cup measurement is the right one. It would be either 75 g, or 80 ml. I corrected the recipe above. Thanks for noticing ;)