Friday, January 3, 2014

Pumpkin Monkey Bread

We wished 2013 farewell and greeted 2014 along the Oregon coast. Amid all the natural beauty, I had the opportunity to peruse my Christmas present of Chad Robertson's latest cookbook, Tartine 3, and resolved that this year I will learn about the intricacies of whole grain bread baking with wild microbes.

But returning to Eugene, I realized I had a more immediate problem of a glut of winter squashes from CSA shares and exuberant farm visits. So I resolved to roast more squash and make another batch of yeasted pumkin monkey bread from The Kinfolk Table: Recipes for Small Gatherings, which I had read about here.

The recipe is actually frustratingly poorly edited. The amount of flour called for produces something closer to a batter than a dough, the instructions to line the loaf pan with parchment paper come after one is told to arrange the dough in the pan; and the baking time was much too short. But with some ad hoc adjustments (included in the recipe below) I produced a dough that could be manageably rolled out, 



and baked into a tasty treat. Nibble with satisfaction, knowing that it is part of the solution to winter squash overpopulation problems.

Pumpkin Monkey Bread
adapted from this Kinfolk recipe
for the bread dough
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup milk
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup pumpkin puree, or puree from any roasted winter squash
1 tsp sea salt
2 cup unbleached white flour (or more as needed)
1 cup whole wheat flour

for the sugar crumble
2 Tbsp butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook 2 Tbsp the butter, without stirring, until brown bits form, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the milk and get the mixture to 110' (too hot and it'll kill the yeast). Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, stir in the yeast and 1/4 cup sugar. Let it stand for 10 minutes.

2. Stir in the pumpkin puree, salt and 1 cup of the bread/all purpose flour. When combined, add the rest of the flour in several additions, kneading between additions. You may need more flour, depending on the moisture content of your pumpkin puree. Knead the dough until it is elastic and slightly sticky, 6-8 minutes.

3. Brush a large bowl with a little olive oil, place the dough ball inside and turn it over several times until it is well greased. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise in a warm, draft free place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

4. Meanwhile, prepare the sugar crumble filling by melting 2 Tbsp butter and combining with the sugar and cinnamon. After the dough has doubled in size, knead it for two minutes. Roll it out into a 12x9 inch rectangle. Sprinkle the sugar mixture on top, gently pressing it into the dough. Slice the dough lengthwise into six strips, and stack them on top of the other. Cut the strips into squares. If you wish, line a 9x5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper for easier clean up. Arrange the stacks of dough squares into the loaf pan and sprinkle any stray sugar crumbles on top. Cover with a clean dishtowel and allow it to rise for 30 minutes to an hour, until it doubles in size again.

5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees C. Bake the loaf on the middle rack for 45 to 55 minutes until edges are golden and a skewer comes out clean. Set the pan on a rack to cool.

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