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Author Notes: I love the versatility of butternut squash but had never made it into a bread. So I've been thinking since last Friday how I might want to approach it. To a puree of roasted butternut squash, I decided to add some nicely spiced apple butter (I had some of June Taylor's Gravenstein Apple Butter in the fridge which I highly recommend if you don't have time to make your own). I added some sweetness in the form of both brown sugar and honey (since I just couldn't make up my mind which to use). After the first rising, I decided to split the dough in half; flatten the dough into rectangles; baste them with melted butter; sprinkle a mixture of cinnamon, cardamom, sugar and raisins; and roll it up like a jelly roll. I baked one free-style; the other in a loaf pan. Both worked just fine. My mouth really couldn't tell the difference. The bread just melted in my mouth either way. The ultimate breakfast bread. Or dessert, for that matter. —TheWimpyVegetarian
Serves 2 loaves
- 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 2" chunks (3/4 cup pureed)
- olive oil
- 1/4 cup apple butter that's nicely spiced
- 22-25 ounces unbleached AP flour (I recommend King Arthur)
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon instant yeast (you can buy this in the little packets in the baking section)
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup raisins (or more if you want)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Preheat the oven and roast the squash until soft. Puree it in a food processor until very smooth. You only need 3/4 cup of the puree for the bread, so keep the rest for another use. Add 1/4 cup of apple butter to it, to make 1 cup of puree.
- Combine the flour, brown sugar and instant yeast together with a whisk.
- I have a food processor with a bread dough blade. If you don't have this attachment, go to Step 5. If you do have it, then throw it in the food processor and add everything else except the water. Pulse about 20 times until the dough is coming together and then add the water. Continue to pulse about 5-6 more times to allow the dough to absorb the water.
- Turn it out onto a lightly floured work space and knead the bread, adding flour if necessary, until the dough is soft, but not sticky, and becomes elastic (meaning the gluten is well-developed). The best way I have of testing it (although there are probably a bunch of effective ways to do this) is to pinch off a good-sized chunk and stretch it slowly with your fingers. It should stretch a bit and hold without tearing. If it tears, you need to keep kneading it until it stretches. The dough should be smooth and soft.
- If you don't have the food processor attachment for kneading bread, you'll have to do it the old fashioned way, which I actually love to do when I'm not in a hurry. In a large bowl place the puree, butter, egg, honey and salt. Mix them up well. Add half of the dry ingredients from Step 2. Mix the flour in with a spatula. Add half of the rest of the dry ingredient and mix in. Then add the rest of the dry ingredients and start to work it with your hands. When it's holding together, place on a lightly floured work space and continue to knead, adding flour if necessary. See the directions in Step 4.
- Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic (but not tightly as the yeast needs to breath), and place in a warm area of the kitchen until it doubles in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
- Split the dough in half, covering one half while you work with the other half. Press the dough with your fingers to make a rectangle that's the width of your loaf pan (about 7 inches) by about 12 inches. Brush on melted butter; mix together the sugar, cinnamon and cardamom and sprinkle 1/2 of the mixture on the melted butter; roll the dough up like a jelly roll starting with the short side that measures about 7 inches. Pinch the seam together to get a good seam, butter the loaf pan if you're using one, and place the loaf in the pan - seam side facing down. If you're not using a loaf pan, just place the loaf on a baking sheet, seam side facing down.
- Do the same thing with the other loaf. Cover them and place them in a warm place until they double in size, about 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350F. If using a baking stone, preheat the oven 1 hour before you bake the bread. Bake the bread for 45 minutes. The best way to know for sure if the bread is done is to stick a temperature probe into the bottom of the loaf. For this bread, it should be 200F to be done.
- Let the bread cool for about 15 minutes before slicing. Serve with butter, apple butter, maple butter, or aargersi's butternut butter! Yum!!
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Holiday Breakfast
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Butternut Squash