Spiced Honey Pumpkin Bread

Mission: To create a pumpkin bread that is just-my-kind-of-perfect pumpkin bread. 

Requirements as follows: 

- obviously pumpkin-y
- whole grain
- naturally and lightly sweetened
- plenty of spice (especially cinnamon)
- very moist
- a strong, tender crumb
- crunchy top crust

Mission: Accomplished. Yessssssss.

Notes: This is a really great base recipe for pumpkin bread. You can certainly bake the batter in muffin tins or even double the recipe to bake in a bundt pan. I've included a three options for slightly different variations; one simply sprinkles a little sugar and some pumpkin seeds on top, another adds a cinnamon-oat streusel topping, and the last is a bittersweet chocolate chunk version. As for the sweetener, honey or maple syrup will do just fine. My reason for using honey (other than the excellent flavor and moisture it adds to the bread) is the fact that we have gallons of the stuff thanks to our busy bees out back. And as for the flour, I found a little white flour gave just enough structure to the bread. A substitution of spelt flour or even white flour may be replaced for the whole-wheat pastry flour.

A Flour Sack original
Spiced Honey Pumpkin Bread

1 1/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour (or spelt flour)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons freshly-ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (or melted coconut oil)
1/2 cup honey (or maple syrup)
2 eggs, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 8 1/2 x 5-inch loaf pan with olive oil. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the pumpkin puree, olive oil, honey, and eggs until well-combined. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and whisk for 10 seconds, just until the flour disappears and the batter is mostly smooth.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with desired toppings (see below) and bake for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean.

Let the bread sit in the pan for 10 minutes on a wire rack, then remove bread and finish cooling on the wire rack. Slice the bread once it has cooled for at least 1 hour.

Yield: one loaf

:: Variations ::

Crunchy Pepita Topping
Pour pumpkin bread batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle top with 2 tablespoons pepitas (pumpkin seeds), then 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. Bake as directed above.

Cinnamon-Oat Streusel Topping
In a small bowl, mix together 1/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour, 1/4 cup rolled oats, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, and a pinch of sea salt. To the mixture, add 4
tablespoons of chilled unsalted butter that has been cut into cubes. Rub the butter between your
fingers, breaking it into smaller bits. Continue rubbing until the mixture feels coarse like cornmeal, with some larger chunks of streusel as well. Add in 1/4 cup chopped pecans. Pour pumpkin bread batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle top with streusel. Bake as directed above.

Bittersweet Chocolate-Chunk
Fold 6 ounces of coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate into batter after combining flour and pumpkin mixtures. Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle top with an additional 2 ounces of coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate, then 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. Bake as directed above.

This post shared on The Nourishing Gourmet and Beyond the Peel