Friday, November 16, 2012

Joybee Baking Journal: Pull Apart Pumpkin Bread


A delicious, sweet, and easy to pull apart yeast bread flavored with pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spices. Modified from A Dash of Cinnamon.


When I came across this new recipe for my seasonal favorite, pumpkin bread, I had to try it. This relatively simple, but messy and time consuming, recipe takes a basic cinnamon bun dough, adds pumpkin and pumpkin pie spices. Then, strips of the sugar spiced dough are stacked into a loaf pan and baked. The resulting bread is everything great about cinnamon buns but with pumpkin flavor, in loaf form, and it's easy to tear off a piece.

I keep an active sourdough starter, that I've kept alive for 2 years, in my fridge and use it for just about all of my breads. I think it adds so much more flavor and just a hint of sourness to any recipe, regular breads just taste bland to me now...I guess I've spoiled myself. Even though I use sourdough, sometimes I spike the dough with a small amount of instant yeast. This allows the bread to rise in a much shorter time yet I still get the flavor from the sourdough (just not as much). For this recipe I was too excited about it to wait so I  spiked the dough. You could easily make this without sourdough, or make it totally sourdough. Here is what I did:

Makes 1 loaf

12 oz sourdough starter--2oz sourdough barm+ 5oz flour+ 5oz kefir
3.25 oz sugar (6 1/2 Tbsp)
.25 oz salt (1 tsp)
1 oz butter (2 Tbsp)
5 oz canned pumpkin (about 1/2 cup)
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
10 oz bread flour or all purpose flour (2 cups) *16oz (3 1/2 cups) if not using sourdough
1/2 tsp instant yeast *2 tsp if not using sourdough
2 oz kefir or buttermilk (1/4 cup) *9-10 oz (1 1/8-1 1/4 cups) if not using sourdough

Sugar mixture:

1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
or 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spicemix

For the sourdough version, I fed my barm the night before.  That means I took my sourdough starter/barm out of the refrigerator and 'feed' it.  I usually 'feed' it, with equal parts flour and water, at least once a week, but I keep a small amount on hand (about 10-12 oz) so when I will be using a big batch  of it I take out about 2 oz and 'feed' that.  Feeding means that I take any amount of my original barm and add equal parts flour and liquid to at least double (by weight) the amount of barm.  I always do this by weight because it is simpler, but you could measure however you prefer.  So I turn 2 oz of barm into 12 oz by adding 5 oz each of flour and liquid and let it sit, covered, overnight.

The liquid I used was kefir, a cultured milk product, but you can use buttermilk or just milk.  I use kefir because I have my own culture going and I always have some on hand.  It gives a similar flavor as buttermilk, and I don't have to go out and buy it.  As long as I have milk I can keep making kefir.  For more on kefir click here.

Now that we have 12 oz of sourdough, add it to the bowl of a stand mixer, or just a large bowl if mixing by hand.  Add sugar, salt, butter, pumpkin, egg, vanilla extract, flour and yeast.  Mix on slow speed with paddle attachment, or by hand, until all ingredients come together and form a sticky ball, add the rest of the kefir/milk as needed to reach this consistency.  Switch to dough hook and knead for about 10 minutes (it may take longer by hand), adding flour as needed, until the dough is smooth and tacky.  It should pull away from the sides of the bowl but stick slightly to the bottom.

Transfer dough to an oiled bowl and roll around to coat all sides.  Cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for 2 hours.  If making with only sourdough it will take at least 4 hours

Once dough has risen to at least double it's size, roll out into a rectangular sheet about 14x12 inches and about 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Slather on some butter, enough to cover entire sheet. Then sprinkle on the sugar mixture.  At this point you could roll the dough up, cut into 1-2 inch sections and you have pumpkin spice cinnamon buns, but that's not what we are making.

Cut the sheet of dough into 6 strips.  Stack the sugared strips on top of each other, then cut the stack of strips into about 6 sections.  Then stack the sections into a greased 9-5 inch loaf pan.  Sprinkle any remaining sugar on top then cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes to 1 hour (about 2hrs if only sourdough) or until dough fills pan and crests a little above the rim.

Bake the bread in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for about 30-35 minutes (turning 180 degrees half way through for even baking).  Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes then slide out onto a plate or platter.  Wait 20 minutes, for loaves to set, before serving (if you can).  Enjoy.

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