Pumpkin season has started and I’m so excited! This is my favorite time of year, when everything I eat is filled with pumpkin and spice and everything nice. Pumpkin waffles for breakfast, my favorite! Pumpkin soup for lunch, perfection! Pumpkin pasta for dinner, the best! Don’t you just love how versatile this beautiful vegetable is? It can go from sweet to savory and everywhere in between. Oh man, now I’m really hungry.
As soon as my birthday is over, I like to crack open a giant can of pumpkin puree and just start slopping it into everything. This year, I started with bread. I love the traditional pumpkin quick bread, but I thought “Why not add it to my favorite whole wheat yeast bread recipe?” And it was a good idea. This bread is not like a quick bread, it is super light and fluffy, without too much sweet and a delectable pumpkin spice swirl!
This bread is the perfect bread to toast in the morning with a pumpkin latte. A little melted butter on top, or even a little cinnamon butter. Yum! Or for an afternoon snack, you can eat half a loaf. That’s what me and the hubby did 🙂 We couldn’t stop eating it. The kids didn’t even get any of the inaugural loaf cause we ate it all in just a couple hours. So when I made the next batch, I had to double it and make 2 loaves. So here is your warning, it’s that good, you might want to double this recipe.
I used my favorite whole wheat sandwich bread recipe as a base. This recipe is so great, it only requires one raise, so it’s pretty quick for a yeast bread. But it is still so soft and even better, it stays soft for days (if you can withstand eating it all in one sitting). For all my tips and tricks, check out my bread post here. Then you will be armed with all you need to make the most delicious pumpkin bread ever!
Start by combining 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, 3 Tbsp vital wheat gluten and 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix it all together.
In a 2 cup measuring cup, mix 3/4 cup milk and 3/4 cup pumpkin puree then heat until about 120 degrees. It takes me about 2 1/2 minutes in my microwave. Pour that into the flour mixture and mix it together. Then turn your mixer up to medium-high and beat the flour and pumpkin mixture for 1 full minute. It will start to get stringy.
When the minute is up, cover your bowl with a clean towel and let it sit for 10 minutes. It should be all bubbly after the 10 minutes it up, if not, your yeast is dead so you’ll want to get new yeast and start over.
Next add in 1 tsp salt, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 1/4 cup melted butter. Mix it up, then turn your mixer to medium-high and beat for 1 full minute again.
Now is the time to take the beater off and put on your dough hook. The dough is really sticky so I grab a spatula and scrape it clean, then I scrape down the sides to help things along.
Then start adding in your flour. You want to go slow, too much flour will mean you have a stiff, heavy bread instead of a beautifully soft & delicious one. You will add up to 1 1/2 cups of flour, but start with 1/2 cup and mix it in. Then a 1/4 cup at a time until your bread just starts pulling away from the edges like the picture below.
When my dough starts pulling away I stop adding in flour, I know you will want to keep going but trust me, it’s better to use less flour than have too much! I like to scrape the dough off the sides of the bowl to get the dough to come together. Just keep kneading it in your bowl until it comes together and is smooth on top. It will also pull all the pieces stuck to the sides of the bowl off so you will be left with a mostly clean bowl. This will take about 7-8 minutes.
Lightly oil your work surface, then turn the dough out onto it. Roll it out into a long rectangle, you want it the width of your bread pan, I like to put my pan above my dough so I can make sure the size is right.
Now mix up 3 Tbsp brown sugar and 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice and sprinkle it all over the dough.
Roll the dough up. I like to tug on it as I roll so that there aren’t any bubbles inside. When you get it all rolled up, place it in a well oiled bread pan seam-side down. Then pat the dough so it squishes into the corners a bit.
Place the dough into a warm oven. I like to preheat the oven for about 1 minute until it’s just getting warm, then turn it off. Now the oven will be warm enough to raise the bread but not too warm to start cooking it (and kill your yeast), you want it no hotter than 100 degrees for that perfect happy place for yeast breads. Let the dough rise in the warm oven for 15-20 minutes. Just until the bread is barely over the top of the pan.
Then leave the dough in the oven and turn it on to 350 degrees. The bread will continue to rise as the oven heats up and then it will cook. Set the timer to 30-35 minutes (my oven heats up slower so I need the whole 35 minutes, but if your oven heats up fast start with 30 and go from there). The bread is done when it has a nice golden brown all over. Take it out and immediately take it out of the pan and cool on a wire rack.
Now try really hard to wait for the bread to cool completely before cutting into it or it will just smoosh up and be a gummy mess. But don’t worry, this bread is amazing when it’s at room temperature with a little soft butter!
Just don’t be afraid to try this bread because it is a yeasted bread, this is the best soft & fluffy whole wheat pumpkin bread ever!
And I am just getting started with my pumpkin love. Next week, I have a caramel pumpkin drink syrup for the best at-home pumpkin lattes, or pumpkin hot cocoa for the non-coffee lovers! I can’t wait. This month is all pumpkin all the time 🙂