Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pumpkin Pull-Apart Bread

Time consuming: yes.
Difficulty: hard.

Pumpkin | Part 2

This bread is so good, words can't describe how happy I was it turned out. I've never made a yeast bread before so that's partially why I was excited it turned out but also why I thought it was difficult to make. This bread is like an amazing fusion of pumpkin pie flavors and a cinnamon roll.

I first saw this recipe on Pinterest, then my Cooks Illustrated did an article on a pumpkin quick bread and I knew I had to make this for my school's monthly special Ed team meeting.

This recipe, although tasty, had a lot of down time between steps. While preparing this recipe I: did the dishes, wrote an IEP, skimmed through a new cookbook from the library, made chili, and watched tv and tooled around on Pinterest.  So be warned, have things to do.

The recipe

3/4 cup + 3 tablespoons canned pumpkin
2 oz cream cheese
1/8 cup milk

2 tablespoons butter, unsalted, melted
1/2 cup milk
1 envelope (2 1/4 teaspoon) active dry yeast
1/4 cup white sugar
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt

1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons butter, unsalted, melted
2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
1/8 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons milk
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 - 3 teaspoons spiced or white rum, depending on how strong you want it to taste OR 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Heat pumpkin puree in a saucepan stirring constantly to cook the puree and caramelize the sugars in the pumpkin, about 6-8 minutes over medium heat. Remove from heat. Add cubes of cream cheese and stir until melted and incorporated. Add milk and mix until combined. Set aside to cool (the fridge is fine).

2. Mix 2 tablespoons melted butter with warmed milk (microwave is fine). When mixture is around 100-110 degrees (check using a candy thermometer) mix into the bowl of your stand mixer with sugar and yeast - stir quickly to combine,then let sit for about10 minutes so the yeast can activate. It will look frothy and bubbly and smell like bread.

3. Add cooled (but not cold) pumpkin mixture, salt, and 1 cup of flour. Stir until combined. Add remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time. Knead for about 6 minutes (using a kitchen aid mixer on speed 2 and the dough hook). If after 6 minutes the dough is still wet or sticky, continue to knead adding 1 tablespoon of bread flour at a time until the dough is only slightly sticky and smooth.

4. Transfer dough to a greased bowl, cover with a damp towel, and leave in warm place to rise until about doubled in size (about 60-90 minutes). Because I live in Ohio and the weather is temperamental in the fall, it was particularly cool in my kitchen so I heated a small cup of water in the microwave, moved it to the back corner of the microwave, and set my bread bowl in to rise. **Do NOT turn on your microwave - just keep the door closed. If your kitchen is "normal" you can just leave it on the counter to rise.

5. While the dough is rising, melt 2 tablespoons of butter (if you haven't already) in a small bowl and mix with the sugar and spices to form a paste. Set aside. while you're waiting, prepare the pan. Grease and flour a 9"x5" loaf pan and set aside.

5. Once 90 minutes have passed or your dough has doubled in size, deflate the dough (aka punch it down) and turn onto a flour surface. Roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 12"x20" but don't stress if you can't eyeball measurements and end up with a rectangle 24"x16". If the dough becomes challengingly tough to roll, cover with a damp cloth and let rest for a few minutes then keep going.

7. Once your dough is rectangular, spread with the butter/sugar/spice mixture and evenly coat. Use your hands to press the mixture into the dough.

8. Cut dough into 3 long strips (if you rolled your dough out right you'd now have 3 strips each measuring 4"x20"). Stack the strips and cut in half so that the strips are now 10" long. Cut each 10" strip into thirds. Stack the strips so they stand vertically in the loaf pan. Put pan in a warm place, cover with a damp cloth, and let rise for 45 minutes. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

9. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until deep golden brown. While it's baking, prepare the glaze.

10. Combine all glaze ingredients (2 tablespoons butter, brown sugar, milk, powdered sugar, rum/vanilla) in a sauce pan and heat until combined and sugar has dissolved.

11.  After the loaf has baked, let cool for about 5-10 minutes.  Run a knife around the loaf and turn onto a plate, then carefully turn right side up.  Pour glaze over loaf, pull apart, and enjoy!  Alternatively you can glaze the loaf while it's still in the pan.

Inspired and slightly altered from Sunny Side Up

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