Raised Pumpkin Bread with a Pumpkin-Pecan-Cranberry Swirl

The festive twist on cinnamon-swirl bread makes this loaf special enough for a holiday brunch, but don't limit yourself. A toasted, buttered slice can warm up any chilly morning.

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  • Servings: Makes one large 10-inch loaf
  • Time(Other): Plus cooling

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  • 1/4 cup whole milk, lukewarm
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast (2 packets)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter—6 tablespoons softened, 2 tablespoons melted
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups pure pumpkin puree
  • 4 3/4 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
  • 3 tablespoons pure pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

How to make this recipe

  1. In a small bowl, stir the milk with the granulated sugar and the yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes, until the yeast is foamy. Meanwhile, in a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, cream the 6 tablespoons of butter with the brown sugar, salt, nutmeg and orange zest at medium-high speed until light in color, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for 1 minute more. Add the pumpkin puree and beat until incorporated. Pour in the yeast mixture and beat at low speed to fully incorporate. The mixture will look curdled.

  2. Switch to the bread hook. Add the 4 3/4 cups of bread flour and knead at low speed until nearly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and shiny, about 8 minutes; it will be very soft, but it should not be sticky.

  3. Brush a large bowl with some of the melted butter and turn the dough out into it. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours, until doubled in bulk.

  4. Using a rubber spatula, mash the pumpkin puree with the softened butter in a small bowl. In a food processor, combine the turbinado sugar with the pecans, cranberries, cinnamon and ginger and pulse until the nuts are finely ground.

  5. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a 10-by-5-inch loaf pan. Press down the risen dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Gently press it into a rectangle and sprinkle with flour. Roll out the dough to a 12-by-18-inch rectangle. Spread the pumpkin butter over the dough and sprinkle with the swirl mixture. Starting with a short side, tightly roll the dough up to form a 12-inch log. Pinch along the seam to seal. Fit the loaf into the prepared pan, seam-side down, tucking the ends underneath. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes, until the bread has domed above the edge of the pan.

  6. Brush the top with melted butter and bake in the center of the oven for about 1 hour, until the top is a deep golden brown and the bottom of the pan sounds hollow when tapped. Let the loaf cool in the pan for 5 minutes; then unmold it onto a rack and let cool completely before slicing.

Contributed By Photo © Alexandra Rowley Published November 2011

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