Monday, February 10, 2020

Puppies and Pumpkin

On Saturday I had fun with puppies...six week old golden labradoodles in fact. A friend will be getting one later in the year and the breeder had an open house, so there were puppies but also grown dogs who had once been puppies there. I sat on the ground and was swarmed by about 7  of the cute little doggies. One tried to eat my shoe...and I had specifically not worn shoes with laces to avoid that.

One began chewing on a long green squeaky snake, another tried to climb my leg and other played with each other or rolled on their backs for a rub. Eventually I sat in one of the chairs and cuddled a little guy who promptly fell asleep on my lap. And, no, I'm not going to get a puppy. When we next need a new dog I'll get a rescue. No matter how cute the puppies are, the rescues need a's not optional. Our current sweet dog, Pit, is a rescue and he might just be the best dog we ever had.

A few days before the puppy time I was cleaning out the fridge and discovered a small container that had some pumpkin puree in it. It was the perfect amount for Pumpkin Soda Bread, a recipe in a book I recently purchased, The Harvest Baker by Ken Haedrich. The days are getting longer, so the time for winter spiced treats is waning. This may be the last pumpkin recipe for a while.

The makes a wonderful soda bread. Because of the yogurt it's moister than usual and keeps well. I love the golden color.  As usual I made a few changes, including doubling the amount of butter (although I used margarine), substituting soy creamer soured with apple cider vinegar for the buttermilk, and using a whole egg instead of a yolk. I also added some cinnamon to the flour mixture.

Do try this delicious bread! Do remember to handle it as little as possible once you add the liquid, which is a good idea for any quick bread. There is no yeast in this bread and you don't need a bread pan. It goes together quickly and is perfect with a cup of tea or coffee.

Pumpkin Soda Bread
from The Harvest Baker by Ken Haedrich
makes 2 loaves

Parchment paper or oiled foil for lining the baking sheet
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons butter at room temperature, cut into 1/2-inch slices (I used 8 T margarine)
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 2/3 cups buttermilk (I used soy creamer soured with 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar)
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg yolk (I used a small whole egg from a local chicken)
Milk for glaze (soy creamer)
Sanding sugar (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or oiled foil.

Combine the flour, cornmeal, 1/2 cup sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon in a large bowl. Mix well with a large whisk. Add the butter and toss it with the dry ingredients. Rub the butter and dry ingredients together thoroughly, until the fat essentially disappears into the mix. Add the raisins and nuts and mix in by hand.

Whisk the buttermilk, pumpkin, and egg in a bowl. Make a well in the dry ingredient mixture and add the liquid mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon just until the ingredients form a cohesive dough. Scrape the dough out onto a floured work surface and divide it in half. Using floured hands, gently shape each half into a ball, kneading in the last dry bits gently if needed.

Place the dough balls on the baking sheet, leaving 5-6 inches between them. Brush each loaf sparingly with milk. If desired sprinkle the tops with sanding sugar. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut a 1/2-inch deep cross into the top of each loaf.

Bake for about 40 minutes, until good and crusty. When done, the bottoms of the loaves will sound hollow when tapped with a fingertip.

Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack and cool well before slicing. Leftover will keep well in the fridge, wrapped in foil and a plastic bag. These breads freeze well, too.

1 comment :

  1. Not sure which I’m more drawn to the book, the bread or the puppies!