Perfect Pumpkin Bread

Servings: Makes 2 loaves

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, leveled-off
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1-1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-3/4 cups fresh pureed pumpkin* (how-to below), OR one 15-oz can 100% pure pumpkin

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. 
  2. Grease two 8 x 4-inch loaf pans with butter and dust with flour (or use a baking spray that contains flour.)
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk until well combined; set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed until just blended. Add the eggs one at a time. Continue beating until very light and fluffy, a few minutes. Beat in the pumpkin. The mixture might look grainy-- that's okay.
  5. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined.
  6. Divide the batter evenly into the baking pans, and bake for 65 – 75 minutes, or until a knife or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the loaves cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
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Fresh Pureed Pumpkin

Here’s how to make your own fresh pumpkin puree at home. It’s easy and works perfectly in your favorite pumpkin recipes (substitute the same volume - 1 cup puree for 1 cup canned): Look for baking pumpkins often labeled “sugar pumpkins” or “pie pumpkins”. There’s lots of variety so if you are buying directly from the farmers at farmer’s markets, ask them which pumpkins work best for your needs. Makes 5 to 6 cups pumpkin puree

Ingredients

  • 1 small baking pumpkin, 4-5 pounds

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400* F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Rinse and pat dry the pumpkin. Cut it in half lengthwise and pull the halves apart. 
  3. Scoop out the seeds and most of the stringy bits (seeds can be roasted later if wanted).
  4. Place cut-side-down onto the baking sheet. Bake until the pumpkin can easily be pierced with a knife and the flesh is pulling away from the skin, 45 to 55 minutes.
  5. Cool, then peel off the skin or scoop out the flesh.
  6. Put chunks into a food processor (or a blender will work too, just add a little bit of water) to puree. Depending on how large the pumpkin is, you may need to do this in two or more batches. If it looks too dry, add a tablespoon or so of water. Process until very smooth, 3 to 5 minutes. 
  7. Use immediately in any pumpkin recipe or store in freezer for later use.