February 17, 2012

Butternut Squash Bread

I had a butternut squash lounging around desperate to be transformed into something magical, but I didn't want to roast it or make a soup out of it.  I had some dill bread recently on a cookbook shoot and was so obsessed with it that I ended up making two loaves of my own.  As I was already fixated on bread, it seemed like the logical thing to do was to roast and puree the squash and transform it into a loaf of bread.  It turned out surprisingly well, fragrant with spices and lovely served toasted with some cream cheese and maple syrup.

Butternut Squash Bread
makes one 9x5 inch loaf

2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup milk
3-1/4 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon clove
1/8 teaspoon allspice
dash of freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup pureed squash (doesn't have to be butternut)
1 egg

1 tablespoon melted butter

Heat milk until lukewarm and add to yeast.  Let dissolve for 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt and spices and mix until evenly distributed.  Add the yeast+milk, squash and egg and mix until a ball of dough forms.  Turn out onto floured surface and knead dough for about 10 minutes until a smooth and elastic ball forms.  Add flour in small increments if dough starts sticking to surface.

Transfer dough to a large oiled bowl, turning once to coat.  Loosely cover with plastic wrap and set bowl in a warm place.  Let dough rise until doubled in size, about 1 to 1-1/2 hours.

Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.  Gently deflate the dough and form into a loaf.  Place in pan seam side down.  Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise again until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

When almost ready to bake, preheat oven to 350ºF.  If you like, brush top of loaf with melted butter.  Bake until golden brown and when bottom of loaf sounds hollow when tapped, about 35 to 40 minutes, or when thermometer inserted through bottom of loaf registers 200-210ºF.

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