Pumpkin Nutella Swirl Bread

Autumn is the start of what we Minnesotans call the baking season, when the leaves start to change, the air is crisp, and all we want to do is pour a cup of tea as the kitchen fills up with the smell of baking bread. Pumpkin is one of the most classic fall flavors and is really the heart of the holiday meals to come. This bread is one of our favorite ways to showcase pumpkin: the orange gourd’s subtle flavor blends beautifully with warm spices and is marvelous all on its own, swirled with Nutella (page 73) or cinnamon, and topped with cream cheese icing.

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Makes enough dough for at least two 2-pound loaves. The recipe is easily doubled or halved.

INGREDIENT

VOLUME (U.S.)

WEIGHT (U.S.)

WEIGHT (METRIC)

All-purpose flour

7 cups

2 pounds, 3 ounces

990 grams

Granulated yeast(1)

1 tablespoon

0.35 ounces

10 grams

Kosher salt (1)

1 tablespoon

0.6 ounce

17 grams

Pumpkin pie spice (2)

1 ½ tablespoons

Lukewarm water (100F or below)

1 cup

8 ounecs

195 grams

Honey

½ cup

6 ounces

170 grams

Vegetable oil

½ cup

3 ½ ounces

98 grams

Pure vanilla extrat

1 teaspoon

Canned pumpkin puree or a “pie” pumpkin for roasting

1 ¾ cups

15 ounces

425 grams

Egg yolk wash (1 yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water), for brushing the loaf

Nutella

¾ cup

  1. Can decrease (see pages 15 and 33).
  2. Or mix together 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, and ¼ teaspoon ground allspice.

PICKING PUMPKINS There are pumpkins for carving into jack-o’-lanterns and there are pumpkins for eating; the two are not interchangeable. The giant pumpkins we decorate at Halloween are fibrous, watery, flavorless, and generally trash to eat, beyond scooping out the seeds to roast. “Pie” or “sugar” pumpkins are tiny in comparison, and the flesh is tighter and dense with flavor. You can find these small baking pumpkins at the grocery store or your favorite pumpkin patch.

1. If making your own fresh pumpkin puree: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Split the “pie” pumpkin in half (see sidebar above), starting at the stem, and place it cut-side down on a baking sheet lined with foil or a silicone mat. Bake for 45 minutes. The pumpkin should be very soft all the way through when poked with a knife. Allow to cool slightly before scooping out the seeds.

2. Scoop out the roasted flesh of the pumpkin and puree it in the food processor. Set aside 1¾ cups (15 ounces) for the dough and use any leftover in your favorite pumpkin pie recipe.

3. Mixing and storing the dough: Whisk together the flour, yeast, salt, and spices in a 5-quart bowl or a lidded (not airtight) food container.

4. Combine the liquid ingredients with the pumpkin puree and mix them with the dry ingredients without kneading, using a heavy-duty stand mixer (with paddle), Danish dough whisk, or spoon. You might need to use wet hands to get the last bit of flour to incorporate if you’re not using a machine.

5. The dough will be loose, but it will firm up when chilled. Don’t try to use it without chilling for at least 3 hours.

6. Cover (not airtight), allow to rest at room temperature for 2 hours, and then refrigerate.

7. The dough can be used as soon as it’s thoroughly chilled, at least 3 hours. Refrigerate the container and use over the next 5 days.

Baking Day

1. To bake: Generously grease a parchment-lined 8½ × 4½-inch nonstick loaf pan. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1-pound (grapefruit-size) piece. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a rough ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.

2. Roll the dough out to a ⅛-inch-thick rectangle, about 12 × 15 inches. As you roll out the dough, add flour as needed to prevent sticking.

3. Spread the Nutella evenly over the dough.

4. Starting with the long side of the dough, roll it up into a log. Pinch the seam closed. Stretch the log until it is about 2 inches thick. Cut the log in half, lengthwise. Twist the 2 long pieces together, with the cut side facing up. Form an oval with the ends together and place in the prepared pan.

5. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temperature for 90 minutes.

6. Preheat the oven to 350°F, with a rack placed in the center of the oven.

7. Bake the loaf for about 45 minutes, or until golden brown and well set.

8. Allow to cool on a rack completely before eating (good luck with that!).