tuesdays with dorie / baking with julia: cranberry-walnut pumpkin loaves

When I read the name of this autumnal recipe, I envisioned just another quick bread, so I wasn’t planning to make it. When I realized that it was a yeasted bread, I got more interested. Pumpkin in batter made me think of the Chart House’s Squaw Bread. Not that I ever figured out what was in it, but the memory drew me in.

There’s nothing like a stand mixer to make bread making nearly effortless. If you recall, my last bread attempt was the TWD whole wheat loaves a couple weeks ago. While it was successful, I also killed my stand mixer. With the help of the internet (for both diagnostics and retail), my ever-handy husband Howard determined that I had managed to strip the worm gear. He had it fixed and ready to go for this week’s recipe.

The pumpkin loaf dough is like an enhanced brioche, where the usual flour, yeast, salt and water are enriched by butter and egg (and, in this case, pumpkin as well). It was very sticky. I had some doubts that it would form a ball on the dough hook because after 10 minutes, it was still rather loose. The last five minutes worked its magic, producing the desired silky ball on the hook. Toasted walnuts, cranberries, and golden raisins were mixed in to stud the dough.

This was a happy lump of dough, and it grew heartily.

After First Rise

I was a little confused about the overnight chill. When I’ve chilled dough overnight before, it’s been for an overnight rise, but that didn’t seem to be the case in this recipe. I placed the dough in a bowl just slightly larger than the deflated dough, wrapping tight in plastic. It had a little room to grow, and when I checked for bedtime, it was pushing against the plastic already. Hoping it wouldn’t explode, I just let it be for the night. Good thing that I didn’t use a larger bowl. Though the plastic wrap successfully held the dough in place, I’m sure it would have continued to grow, if unrestrained.

Next morning, I removed the dough from the fridge to let it warm up to 64F. This was the hardest part. The recipe said it would take 3 or 4 hours. Ha! I think it depends on the temperature of your house. It is early fall here in New England, but I’m playing the game of “how long can we wait to turn on the heat”. Of course, I don’t think the heat is needed at all yet, but the thermostat said the kitchen was 65F. It took all day, nearly 8 hours to get to “room temperature”.

Finally, the dough was divided and shaped into little loaves, left to rise for the second time, and then baked.

My verdict on this one? I absolutely love the texture of this bread. It’s moist and light and airy. The pumpkin’s flavor wasn’t noticeable, but I’m sure it added to the wonderful texture. I felt lukewarm about the cranberries. They dotted the loaves like rubies, which looked gorgeous, but tasted a bit too tart. Maybe I would have preferred dried cranberries, which are usually sweetened. I also like the smaller loaves, great for sharing.

Much to my surprise, I can definitely see making this again, playing around with the spices and the add-ins. It reminded me of a moister panettone, the Italian holiday bread, so I’m thinking this American cousin would make a great gift around the holidays.

If you’d like to make it yourself, you can find the recipe at this week’s host Rebecca’s site, This Bountiful Backyard. The recipe can also be found in Dorie Greenspan’s book, written with Julia Child, Baking with Julia. And, to see how the other TWD bloggers fared with their pumpkin loaves, check out their posts here.


Posted on 2 October 2012, in Autumn, Baking, Tuesdays with Dorie and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. Aw, the cuteness of the mini loaves is killing me. This is the first time I didn’t make mini loaves with this recipe and I miss them! I guess I’ll just have to make them again. I used dried cranberries because fresh ones haven’t arrived here yet and they were good, but I missed the tart freshness.

  2. Lovely loaves! Cudos to your team efforts on fixing the mixer!

  3. Your loaves rose so beautifully!!

  4. I loved this too but mine did not rise until it got into the oven! But I am a big fan!

  5. Your loaves turned out perfectly! I think you solved my problem…I didn’t check the temps on the second day. I bet mine never reached 64º! Thank you!!!

  6. I am totally fighting turning off the heat – especially since that means I will have to call in for an oil delivery. I don’t think I am going to be able to hold off much longer…
    Your loaves look perfect – this was a good one…

  7. Your loaves look perfect!! This was a great bread and we really enjoyed it…I think this might become a favorite at my house. Glad your stand mixer is repaired…it really does make kneading the bread so much easier. Happy Tuesday, Betsy!

  8. Yes, it is like a panettone. How I love them. Now I can make my own. I wish mine rose like yours did in the refrigerator.

  9. Beautifully done. We also liked this recipe and think it would lend itself for the holiday season. You were so patient and waited until it reached room temperature again, but as a result you created the perfect loaves.

  10. Your loaves turned out beautiful. This was one tasty bread, I’m glad we baked it.

  11. Your bread looks fab – I think this was much nicer than panettone

  12. Your Pumpkin Loaves have a wonderful warm color and they look so perfectly shaped and risen – terrific! I am glad that you enjoyed this recipe so much! As far as the cranberries were concerned, I had no choice but to opt for the dried version (no fresh ones to be found anywhere here) and for some dried cherries, the taste testers liked both versions.

    Have a good Wednesday!

  13. Mmmm. They look delicious! I am so jealous that you are even considering putting the heat on! Not for me in Houston, the A/C is still running here. Phooey! Funny that your bread took about 8 hours to get to 64F! Mine took just a couple of hours. Climate is definitely a factor there! Oh, three cheers for your husband for fixing your mixer!

  14. Your loaves look great!
    I had such high expectations for this one and I was disappointed I couldn’t taste the pumpkin either! I thought it might have been due to not adding the cranberries and now I wish I added some dried cranberries! I found lots of those!

  15. Hi, Betsy! I have missed you! Your loaves look perfect and beautiful! Before I went to bed, I punched my dough down. It didn’t say to do that in the recipe, but I know we’ve done that for other doughs during frig time. As soon as I did it though, I thought I made a mistake. I wonder if mine would have risen more if I had left it alone. I want to get some of the little loaf pans because it would be nice to make some of these for gifts.

  16. Your loaves rose beautifully – they’re making me wonder what I did wrong :-) I agree, this is a great holiday gift idea.

  17. Your cranberries are so perfectly dispersed – mine seemed to all hang out at the bottom of the loaf. They were my favorite part of the bread!

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