This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe featured a Cranberry Walnut Pumpkin Loaf. At first, I thought this would just be another pumpkin quick bread. Not that I have anything against quick breads (they are delicious), but they are not really all that fun to make. They make a nice, quick snack in a pinch, but the basic method is pretty much the same for all quick breads, involving at maximum about 20 minutes to throw together. Nothing too exciting. I really do enjoy the involved process of baking different types of yeast breads. You can imagine my excitement when I opened my copy of Baking with Julia and discovered that this was, in fact, a yeast bread! And a yeast bread absolutely stuffed with all my favorite Fall flavors: pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon, cranberries, raisins, and walnuts.
I did end up making a couple changes to the recipe. For one, I could not find fresh cranberries in my grocery store. So, I substituted a generous portion of dried. I also could not resist adding a cinnamon-swirl to the center of the loaf. I simply rolled out the dough to an 11x14 rectangle, brushed the surface generously with milk, sprinkled about 1/4 cup of cinnamon-sugar all over the surface, and then rolled up the loaf nice and tight.
The dough itself was a breeze to throw together. My son even joined in by guarding the stand mixer as it slapped the dough around during the kneading process. He was tickled pink when I let him add in the cranberries, raisins, and walnuts. His excitement pretty quickly turned to horror when the mixer kicked up quite a bit of the dried fruit right back in his face. After that he refused to help anymore. Baking is just too dangerous.
I did end up making one large loaf in a 9x5" pan and this definitely changed the baking time from 35 minutes to closer to 55 minutes. The bread rose beautifully during the baking process, producing a very tall loaf that came precariously close to touching the oven coils. I ended up covering the pan with foil a little later than I should have...but the crust did not taste charred.
And the taste? Superb. The pumpkin kept the loaf perfectly moist and the sweetness level was perfect. I cannot wait to make a couple different types of sandwiches with this bread. This was definitely my favorite recipe from the book so far!