Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Cranberry-Walnut-Pumpkin Loaf : "TWD : Baking with Julia"

Although America has a grand tradition of baking with pumpkin around this time of the year, the idea has never really appealed to me. It's not that we don't get pumpkins in India. Oh we do and plenty of it!! Drive through the rural countryside and you will see them growing on a vine along the roofs of people's homes!! But it's largely cooked as a savoury dish and for someone who till very recently thought about baking only in terms of chocolate, the very idea of pumpkin in a cake was a bit off-putting, to be honest.

But lately, I have been intrigued ... I have seen pumpkin pies, muffins, cheesecakes, candy, bread, cake on every other blog I've been to in the past two weeks ...I've read the recipes, gawked at the photographs and finally, told myself 'the time has come'!! So, this week's 'TWD:Baking with Julia' choice of recipe, Cranberry-Walnut-Pumpkin Loaf, could not have come at a more opportune time!!

 
The recipe is a yeasted bread dough that has roasted pumpkin puree, egg, toasted walnuts, raisins and cranberries (I used dried ones) added to it. Much like the brioche dough that we used for these buns, the dough is kept overnight in the refrigerator after one rise and before it is rolled into shape for the second rise.
 
This is an extremely sticky and wet dough to work with but apart from that there is nothing difficult about this recipe. However, with all the waiting required, it does take almost a day to make from the time you first start.

 
The dough rises beautifully and because of the presence of the egg, it bakes into a beautiful golden-brown crust, complete with some of the cranberries peeking out from the top. It helps that with the cinnamon and nutmeg present in the dough, your kitchen smells beautiful!!
 
As for the taste, no, you do not taste the pumpkin. My question.. is that normal, for when you bake with pumpkin?? Is it just there for texture and volume and not so much for flavour??? But apart for that, this bread is along the lines of a sweet fruit bread. With the toasted nuts, sweet raisins, tangy cranberries and cinnamon, it begins to evoke the flavours of Christmas, just a teeny bit!! You can have a slice of it plain or lightly toasted. We preferred the latter option!!

 
My issue with this bread is not so much with the recipe. It is more to do with the fact that with the same flavour combinations, instead of a yeasted dough, this could have been made along the lines of a 'quick bread'. The texture would have been more cake-like, saved us a lot of time and it would have still tasted just as good. In fact, I've seen recipes where orange juice has been added to a similar quick bread .. now, how good would that have been??? Just a thought....  

Due to copyright considerations, only the person hosting the recipe for the group 'TWD:Baking with Julia' can post the recipe on their blog. The recipe for this loaf will be available on Rebecca's blog. Alternately, you can write to me at bakerindisguise@gmail.com and I will mail you the recipe
 

36 comments:

  1. I found the pumpkin flavor too subtle and also wondered if all the time involved was worth it. For intense pumpkin flavor, I recommend making pumpkin pie.
    Your bread looks marvelous, by the way.

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    1. Thanks Judy!! I think the majority of us would have preferred a quicker option... will keep the pumpkin pie idea in mind!!

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  2. The pumpkin flavor was very subtle. You really need a good pumpkin cookie with chocolate chips to get a good pumpkin experience! I think I will post a quick pumpkin bread later this week just to show the difference. But I thought the bread was yummy--toasted with a bit of butter for breakfast.
    Loved your post! Have a great day.

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    1. Thanks Cindy!! Pumpkin cookie with chocolate chips.. that sounds like an idea!! :) We enjoyed the bread too.. would have just preferred a quicker option. Have a great week ahead!!

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  3. Your photographs are lovely.

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  4. Your loaf is gorgeous! I had trouble with my yeast...so a quick bread would have been so much nicer :)

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    1. Thanks Lizzy!!! A quick bread would have been a simpler and a more fool-proof option!! :)

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  5. Your loaf looks great. I know that the pumpkin taste in my bread was very subtle. Only the color gave the flavor away.

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    1. Thank you!! But you know something.. I noticed that the loaves made by all you guys in America looks way more yellow than my loaf.. I guess its something to do with the pumpkins available in our respective countries!!! :)

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  6. I totally agree a quickbread would be great! I didn't realize it took so long so I won't finish it until tonight.

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    1. Oh.. it definitely takes a while... and that's why I feel I wont be coming back to this recipe!!

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  7. You made a lovely loaf!
    I'm with you: toasted is so much better.

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  8. Your bread looks delicious! I think this recipe was a good introduction to baking with pumpkin. A pumpkin quick bread or pumpkin pie has a much stronger pumpkin flavor. I liked this bread a lot.

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    1. That's what I gather Jill... a pumpkin pie seems to be the opinion if I wanna understand the flavour of pumpkin better!!!

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  9. I'm glad your bread turned out. The pumpkin flavor of baked goods usually comes through a bit more than it did with this bread, but it is still usually so melded with spices that it isn't front and center in the way apples or berries tend to be in baked goods.

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    1. Thats what my mom was saying too... like i said earlier.. only in a pumpkin pie would the flavour come through.. i get it would get lost even in a cookie or a cake!!

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  10. I think pumpking in general doesn't have a lot of flavor - it seems that spices and other flavors dominate in baking and cooking. But it does add lovely texture to baked goods.
    Beautiful bread!

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  11. Pumpkin is one of my favorite ingredients this time of year in both savory & sweet dishes but I agree the flavor was less pronounced than anticipated. I still loved the color & moisture it added... Your loaf looks beautiful!

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    1. I guess pumpkin is a baking favourite with much of America.. I have seen an avalanche of pumpkin recipes from blogs in the past 2 weeks.. I guess in this bread.. it was just there for texture and colour!!

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  12. Love your photography. Pumpkin has a unique subtle flavor of its own, somewhere between squashes and sweet potatoes, making it a great compliment for spices like cinnamon and ginger. Overall, we loved this recipe, though by omiting the yeast, we actually ended up with a quick bread, sort of like coffee cake. Still really delicious though. Great job and thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thank you!! Heading over to see yours.. because I think this would be so much better as a quick bread!! the flavours were delicious though..

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  13. Beautiful bread! Mine did not have much of a pumpkin flavor either - not sure why. There are pumpkin quick bread recipes out there, that in my opinion, are far better.

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    1. Thanks Cathleen!! I have seen this beautiful quick bread recipe on joy of baking.. that uses orange juice.. am so taken in with that recipe.. will give it a go sometime..

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  14. Great bread! I think the pumpkin was there to give it color because there wasn't enough of it to give it flavor! Blessings, Catherine www.praycookblog.com

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    1. Thanks catherine.. To understand the flavour of pumpkin.. I think I'll have to look for another recipe.. but apart from that, I really enjoyed the flavours of this bread!!

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  15. absolutely divine - love the combinations of flavor here. isn't it amazing how we have pumpkins almost throughout the year?!

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    1. I know!! who would have thought good ole kaddu has such exalted status in America when it comes to baking!! My vegetable lady would have a good laugh ...

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  16. Your Loaf looks stunning and moist - I had no idea that pumpkins are popular in India - I love to learn and it is so much fun reading your blog and looking at all your lovely pictures and always learning something new! Since we do not use a lot of pumpkins around here, I bought a hokkaido pumpkin and ended up with a bright orange purée, the taste of the pumpkin was quite pronounced.

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    1. Thank you Andrea.. such kind words!!! I have learnt so much from blogs and its not just the cooking/baking.. its about people.. their thoughts.. their lives..the towns they live in.. blogs are so much personal than just recipe websites!!!

      As for the bright orange puree.. I need to see that.. you would have got an excellent colour!! I've seen that in a lot of blogs.. where the colour has been quite pronounced!!!

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  17. Pumpkins and oranges - this is a great idea! What kind of pumpkins are used for baking and cooking in India? Your bread looks lovely!

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    1. I know.. that quick bread recipe with orange juice has been bookmarked!! Well.. you know pumpkins are available all year round in India.. and frankly... it hardly has the exalted status it has in the West.. the vegetable stores always have these huge pumpkins (and i don't know what type they are called in Western terms.. for us .. they are just pumpkins :)).. and on your weekly shopping trip..depending on how much you need for your home, the store will slice out that much of the pumpkin for you!! We use it as a vegetable dish or in curries.. we don't really bake with it!!! I think I just went on a pumpkin info over drive!!:)

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  18. A wonderful autumn bread. Very soft and moist, great with a pot of freshly brewed tea for the breakfast.

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    1. That's exactly how my mum's been having it!!! :)

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