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Old 03-27-2010, 01:18 AM   #1
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Pumpkin Bread Problem

Hi everyone, I was wondering if I could lift some advice of of more experienced bakers. I recently tried to make some pumpkin bread, but it didn't work out. I think I know why, but lemme know what you think.

I live in a place where it is next to impossible to get pureed pumpkin in a can, so I went out and bought a pumpkin. It looked more like a squash, but my friend told me for sure it is a pumpkin. And when I gutted it, it did look every bit like a pumpkin. So then I put the pieces in a blender and pureed them, and went onto use a pretty standard recipe, with the usual flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking soda. But, I did not put white sugar in. I am trying to bake without white sugar, so instead I used a mild amount of honey.

When the batter was all done, I have to say, it didn't smell so good. When I make banana bread or cookies I can't stay out of the batter, but it was no problem with this one. I threw some brown sugar in thinking that maybe it was the lack of sugar. Anyway, I baked it, and it came out looking pretty much like you'd expect a bread to look. But it tasted horrible. The pumpkin part tasted horrible.

Perhaps I needed to do something more with the pumpkin? I don't know, it just had this "raw" taste about it.

Any advice???

thanks!
-deltoid

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Old 03-27-2010, 02:32 AM   #2
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Nice to meet you mr.deltoid...i'm new too. It was good that you didn't use a field type pumpkin as they are grown mostly for jack-o-lantern purposes only. Sugarpie pumpkins are best...the kind with the dark orange flesh.

I'm no chef but sounds like maybe you didn't cook the pumpkin flesh first before making your pumpkin bread. To do that you can either bake it at 375 for 1 1/2 hrs, or boil the cut-up chunks until tender, or microwave it for about 7 minutes.

Be sure to first cut your pumpkin in half and discard all the stringy stuff inside. If you bake it then place the halves upside down in a shallow pan with foil. Once it's cooked then puree it in a food processor or mash it.

Better luck next time and don't let this one discourage you
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Old 03-27-2010, 03:03 AM   #3
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Mollyanne,

I figured that must be it. Everything I've seen around the web says you need to bake it or boil it first. I skipped that step thinking it didn't matter, I was most wrong. Do you have any idea why that step is necessary? What does baking it do to the pumpkin flesh?

thanks!
deltoid
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Old 03-27-2010, 04:11 AM   #4
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...well, my guess is that the pumpkin needs to cook longer than the rest of the ingredients because it's so dense. I hope you try again because i'm curious about the use of honey verses sugar and how that affects flavor and consistency. I don't think you could really tell this time around because of the strong raw pumpkin flavor. I like the idea of not using white refined sugar...that's got to be the worst thing for us
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Old 03-27-2010, 04:27 AM   #5
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That sounds like a fair guess. It's a real bummer, cuz otherwise, it was a good loaf. It smelled quite good, but tasted totally raw. Regarding the honey, I use it because I have heard that white sugar is horrible for you, although I have also heard that in the end, both are sucrose (?) so there's no big difference. A health nut friend of mine confirmed that, but said honey is just a more "wholesome" food. I'll be trying it again in the next week or so, and I'll let you know how it turns out.
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Old 03-27-2010, 07:44 AM   #6
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People tend to like honey when they are trying to eat healthier because it is a natural product and not refined. I think (I'm no nutritionist or biologist) that even though the end product in the body is the same, they break down differently. It's like with you pumpkin that you have to gut it first then bake it then puree or mash it to use it. Honey is the raw pumpkin and white sugar is the stuff in the can. I hope your next go around with pumpkins are more successful.
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Old 04-01-2010, 10:09 AM   #7
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the results...

Ok, so I tried again. I used basically the same recipe, but was more careful this time in doing all the measurements. Most importantly, I did not just use raw pumpkin, but according to someone's advice I boiled the pumpkin for 25 minutes, which softened it up quite a bit. Then I used this recipe:

1 c. honey
1 puree pumpkin (boiled it first)
1 cup olive oil
2/3 cup water
4 eggs
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Check this video:

Results: it baked just fine, a nice looking loaf. But the taste, while better than my first attempt, still is quite raw-pumpkiny. It doesn't taste bad, but there is still something...strange about it, and I wouldn't bring it to work for coworkers to try.

Theories:

1. The Pumpkin I Used is not a Pumpkin. Or not the right kind. I live in Asia, and man, they have everything here. That can be a problem some times, cuz there isn't enough vocabulary to cover varieties. I wonder if this pumpkin is more of a squash. When I boiled it and pureed it, it tasted just like sweet potato.

2. There Wasn't Enough Sweetener. The original of this recipe calls for a lot of sugar, like 3 cups I believe. I ain't doing that. I might settle for brown sugar instead, which might taste better. I have also wondered if the honey interacts with these other ingredients and loses its honey flavor. It is much more pronounced when I use it in cookies.

3. I Am Crazy and it Tastes Fine. It could be. But it's not the pumpkin bread I am fantasizing about. I have in mind that bread that has the flavor of pumpkin pie, not too sweet; moist, rich, maybe with some chocolate chips inside (and yes, I know this is silly when I'm talking about avoiding white sugar. But sugar foods are drugs, and I'm a hopeless addict). But it just isn't getting there...

I must perfect this!! My banana bread has been a hit at work. I want my pumpkin bread to get up to that standard.

Thanks!
-deltoid
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Old 04-01-2010, 02:15 PM   #8
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I admire your tenacity mr. deltoid! I hesitate to give any more advice because you could use an expert at this point but that's never stopped me here before so here's a little recipe I found for you that the Amish use (and who's going to argue with them right?). Notice the difference in oil. I question the use of olive oil in your recipe, mr.D...olive oil has such a strong flavor. Also, did you poke your cooked pumpkin cubes with a fork to see if they were tender first?:

oops...wrong recipe posted...brb
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Old 04-01-2010, 02:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr. deltoid View Post
... But it's not the pumpkin bread I am fantasizing about. I have in mind that bread that has the flavor of pumpkin pie, not too sweet; moist, rich, maybe with some chocolate chips inside ...

Make the recipe once with the recipe amount of sugar.

If it still doesn't taste right, find another recipe.

If it does taste right, you have to decide what the appropriate balance of taste vs. sugar reduction you're willing to live with.
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Old 04-01-2010, 02:38 PM   #10
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OK three things.

1. You need to cube the raw pumpkin and put it in a pot with a bit of water. (Just enough to fill about an inch) Put the pot on low and let it simmer. When the pumpkin cubes will smoosh with a spoon the pumpkin is done. You need to find a "sugar pumpkin" as the regular ones just don't work for baking.

2. Use sugar. Sugar and honey are basically the same thing. You are not saving yourself any calories at all. If you want, use brown sugar as it is refined less than the white stuff. 1 cup is likely not quite enough though. Go with 1.5 - 2 cups. Its not just about taste, its also about texture.

3. Add a couple of carrots to the pumpkin as you cook it. Sounds nuts, but trust me, it works. It will also add sweetness and you won't need too much sugar.
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