The smell of this bread is reason enough to make it. When cut the sweet, wholesome smell wafted through the room followed by requests for a slice with sweet butter. The cranberries are tart but somehow the tartness is balanced by the pumpkin and walnuts. This recipe does take two days as the dough has to refrigerator for 24 hours. The shape of the loaves was quite pleasing too. I loved how the rose so tall above the loaf pan. Freezes well.
Cranberry-Walnut Pumpkin Loaves
Makes 3 Small Loaves
2 2/3 to 3 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons tepid water (80 F to 90 F)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
8 ounces (1 cup) pureed cooked pumpkin canned solid packed
1 large egg, at room temperature
3/4 cup walnut pieces, toasted and chopped to desired texture (I like mine fine chopped)
2/3 cup cranberries (if frozen, thaw and pat dry)
Mixing and Kneading
Whisk 2 2/3 cups of the flour, the cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together in a large bowl just to mix; set aside until needed.
Pour the water into a small bowl, sprinkle in the yeast, and whisk to blend. Allow the yeast to rest until it’s creamy, about 5 minutes.
In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar at medium speed until creamy. Add the pumpkin and egg and beat until blended. Don’t be concerned if the mixture looks curdled; it will come together when you add the dry ingredients.
Set the mixer speed to low and add the yeast, then begin to add the dry ingredients, about 1/2 cup at a time. As soon as the mixture starts to form a dough that comes together, scrape the paddle clean and switch to the dough hook. If your dough does not come together, add a few more tablespoons of flour.
Mix and knead the dough on medium-low speed for 10 to 15 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl and the hook now and then with a rubber spatula. At the start, the mixture will look more like a batter than a dough, but as you continue to work, it will develop into a soft, very sticky dough that will just ball up on the hook. (This dough develops much the way a brioche does.)
With the machine on low speed, add the walnuts, mixing only until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the cranberries and mix as little as possible to avoid crushing them.
Scrape the dough into a lightly buttered large bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature to rise until nearly doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.
Chilling the Dough
When the dough has doubled, fold it over on itself a couple of times to deflate it, wrap it tightly in plastic, and refrigerate overnight.
Shaping the Dough
At least 6 hours before you want to begin baking, remove the dough from the refrigerator. Leave the dough, covered in its bowl, until it reaches at least 64 F on an instant read thermometer. (This will take as long as 3 to 4 hours–don’t rush it.) If you don’t have an instant-read thermometer, look for the dough to be slightly cool and just a little spongy.
Lightly butter three 5 3/4- by 3 1/4- by 2-inch loaf pans.
Working on a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into thirds and pat each piece of dough into a 5-by 7-inch rectangle; keep a short end facing you. Starting at the top of each rectangle, roll up the dough toward you and seal the seam by pressing it with your fingertips. Seal the ends, then place each roll, seam side down, in a prepared pan.
Cover the pans lightly with a kitchen towel and allow to rise at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the dough has nearly doubled–it will rise to just above the rim of the pans.
Baking the Bread
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 F.
Bake the loaves for about 35 minutes, or until deeply golden. Remove the pans to a cooling rack; after a 5-minute rest, turn the breads out of their pans and allow them to cool to room temperature on the rack.