Looking for a Pumpkin Bread Recipe
September 24, 2014 1:13 PM   Subscribe

I am looking for a pumpkin bread recipe that meets the following criteria

The bread should:

1. Have a strong pumpkin flavor
2. Be spicy
3. Mildly sweet
4. Simple ingredients
5. Does not require a stand mixer.

I see a lot of recipes online, but many of them seem to go light on the spices (nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, etc.) or are heavily loaded with sugars and oil that I don't feel comfortable tweaking them. So I hope there is a recipe I can use that meets my needs without having to change it.

If you have a go to recipe that would be great or a specific website that you trust.
posted by Julnyes to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
I see a lot of recipes online, but many of them seem to go light on the spices

Dude just crank that shit up. Fall flavor recipes NEVER have enough spice in them for my taste, so I regularly up them as much as 5x without any problems. If you've got a recipe you otherwise like, crank up your spice levels and just add a smidge more liquid to balance it out. In my experience it doesn't topple the chemistry enough to make a real difference in consistency.
posted by phunniemee at 1:15 PM on September 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

IME, my favorite pumpkin bread meets all of your criteria -- the only ingredients I might consider to be outside the realm of 'simple' are molasses and coconut oil. I am totally obsessed with this recipe and make it all the dang time: soft pumpkin bread by Averie Cooks. It is so spicy, so delicious, and so easy to make, no stand mixer required.

I'm not sure what 'loaded with sugars and oils' means in terms of precise amounts, but there's 1 cup of sugar (3/4 cup white, 1/4 cup brown) and 1/3 cup of oil in this recipe, which appears to be less than average when it comes to pumpkin bread. I usually leave out 1/4 cup of the white sugar and have experienced no appreciable decline in quality.

You can also feel free to leave off the streusel topping to decrease the sweetness even further; the bread remains utterly divine on its own. OMG, I need to make some tonight.
posted by divined by radio at 1:35 PM on September 24, 2014 [5 favorites]

You're in luck- the kinds of changes you want to make are ones you can easily make to any recipe.

You can use your arm and a spoon for any recipe that calls for a stand mixer - it'll just take you longer. And as for the spice - just increase the amount of spices that the recipe calls for. (Don't go TOO nuts - maybe a quarter teaspoon to start. If that's not enough, then add another quarter teaspoon for the next loaf.) You may have to test a few loaves to get it to your taste, but as this means you will have multiple loaves of pumpkin bread to hand I hardly see how this would be a bad thing.

So I would pick any recipe that seems to have simple enough ingredients the rest of the way, and then just ignore if it says to use a hand mixer and use your own arm, and kick the spices it calls for up a notch.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:37 PM on September 24, 2014

Try using Chinese Five-Spice instead of cinnamon. It has pepper and anise in it, and really makes a big difference.
posted by suelac at 2:13 PM on September 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Typically, stand mixers are only "required" equipment with yeasty, glutenous breads that require a lot of kneading to add structure to the loaf, or with really stiff doughs like cookie dough. Stuff like pumpkin bread has more in common with muffins or cake and will produce something more batter-like than dough-like, which is easily made with a hand mixer or even with a whisk or spoon. Not to say that you can't use a stand mixer if you have one, just that it's not necessary.
posted by Aleyn at 2:15 PM on September 24, 2014

This went over very well here last week. I particularly like that it uses an entire 15 oz can of pumpkin instead of 1 cup. I made the following tweaks:
put the whole can of pumpkin in the bowl and blotted with several paper towels (didn't spread out on baking pan as listed)
slightly increased spices (most people's spices are old and have lost some strength so keep that in mind with regard to your particular spice supply)
used avocado (or any flavor-less oil or flavor that you want to taste in your bread) oil instead of butter and slightly less than the called for butter of 6T
used about 1 cup sugar - slightly less than called for (I'd guess you could go slightly less even)
started checking for doneness at 50m but need the entire hour
do not over measure the flour
mixed all the wet with all the spices and the baking powder and soda then stirred in the flour
posted by RoadScholar at 3:52 PM on September 24, 2014

This is my mom's recipe. It is amazing. It is moist and flavorful, and I have never found one like it. Make a double batch, put a few in the freezer and pull them out whenever you need friends. There is almost no other question you could have asked that I could answer as enthusiastically.

2 loaves
350 degrees

4 eggs
1 cup veggie oil
1/2 c water
16 oz pumpkin (can or fresh)
3 c sugar
2.5 c flour
2 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 T each cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves

On preview, perhaps this is what you mean by loaded with sugar and oil. If so, my apologies, but I'm still going stand by it.
posted by oryelle at 5:09 PM on September 24, 2014 [5 favorites]

You can replace 1/3 of the oil (butter) with applesauce. It is sweeter, so adjust the sugar. I like walnuts or pecans in pumpkin bread, to bring out the savory flavor. You could also try some chopped apricot or dried cranberries.
posted by theora55 at 6:22 PM on September 24, 2014

Also, try looking at recipes for pumpkin scones which should not be as sweet, or have as much shortening, though scones seem to have been muffin-ized.
posted by theora55 at 6:23 PM on September 24, 2014

Dorie Greenspan's pumpkin muffin recipe is so good and works great as a loaf. It's been a while since I made it, but it seems like I remember her spice amounts being right for my taste, though I know I always add extra cinnamon. And as others have said here, you can always tweak the amounts.

It can be a little hard to judge the spiciness of something like this by tasting the uncooked batter, since the flavors change in the oven, but you can always get a basic idea of "damn, I can't taste the cloves at all" or whatnot that way.
posted by jessicapierce at 8:31 PM on September 24, 2014

The Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread recipe linked here is my all-time favorite. I've been making this for about 7 years now. I cut the sugar to either 1.5 cups or 2 cups, depending how sweet my tooth is that day.

It is also delicious when you mix in chocolate chips--semi-sweet or dark!--lightly dusted with flour. The only tools I need are a mixing bowl, measuring utensils, spatula and a fork (don't want to beat it too much or it gets tough). Pumpkin bread is forgiving, as far as recipes go.

It kills whenever I make it for parties, dinners, and potlucks. Good luck on your quest!
posted by sums at 10:38 PM on September 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

oryelle, how long do your loaves need in the oven, please? Also (sorry if this is a stupid question, but I'm British and not wise to the ways of pumpkin bread), should they pass the toothpick test when they're done?
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 12:15 AM on September 25, 2014

FWIW, I came here to recommend the EXACT recipe (Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread) that sums links to above. It's been a staple in my house as well!
posted by theantikitty at 10:06 AM on September 25, 2014

oryelle, how long do your loaves need in the oven, please? Also (sorry if this is a stupid question, but I'm British and not wise to the ways of pumpkin bread), should they pass the toothpick test when they're done?

Sorry, I did leave that part out. They should pass the toothpick test, and I usually start testing around 40 minutes.
posted by oryelle at 5:28 PM on September 25, 2014

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