As you might know, I have been wanting to bake or prepare different things which are gluten and casein free for my nephew Advik. I had been asking my sister to give me some ideas about some gluten free recipes which she would like me to make and then finally she mentioned about the pumpkin spice bread. On checking some recipes I found that it is a quick bread which does not require any xanthan gum either. I had most of the ingredients and only needed to buy pumpkin. So, I thought, before the pumpkin season is completely over and I cannot get any of them any more in the market, let me get one and try a recipe of pumpkin spice bread, which I also found very fast.
I did very careful calculations to convert the cup measurements into grams, and planned and checked and rechecked everything, and got going with it this weekend. I had no idea of how it would turn out, not a clue. But, I made the recipe very carefully, and didn't make any substitutions, or only that what was really unavoidable. I went step by step slowly beating everything one by one, taking time for every step carefully. It looked good, almost all the way until I had also added the milk. Then all that I could think of was : "Oh no! That does not look so good.....", as all the fluffyness which I had acieved with all the beating seemed to go away. So, I stopped beating it and continued with adding the flour and beating the batter side by side. This time I had to hurry up as I had added soda, which, once added to the wet ingredients start working. The end result didn't look bad. So, I quickly poured it into a springform pan and put it in the preheated oven.
Pumpkin Quick Bread
I converted the amounts using the online weight conversion calculator and have given the weight in grams I actually used, if deviating, at the end.
2 3/4 cups (480 g) rice flour - I used gluten free whole meal rice flour, coarsely ground
1/4 cup (30 g) soy or gram flour - I used 35 gram flour – Indian besan)
1 heaped tsp turmeric powder (optional -I used it to give it a yellowish tinge)
1/2 tsp. baking powder - I used 1 tsp gluten free cream of tartar baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt - I used 1 tsp
1 tsp. cinnamon (powdered)
1 tsp. cloves (if using for the first time: use ½ tsp) - I ground about 15 -20 cloves with my coffee mill
2/3 (150 g) cup butter or margarine - I used margarine, free from trans fats and milk products
2 cups (460 g) dark brown sugar - I used 400g whole cane sugar / powdered jaggery and 50 g castor sugar
1 envelop (about 5 g) of bourbon vanilla sugar ( contains ground vanilla bean, vanilla extract and sugar)
4 eggs (medium sized)
1 can (1 lb.) or 2 cups (500 g) mashed squash or pumpkin - I used cooked and mashed fresh hokaido pumpkin
2/3 cup (11 measured tbsp) water or milk - I used soya milk
2/3 cup chopped nuts (I used soaked almonds chopped coarsely)
1/3 cup (60 – 80 g) golden raisins - I had none, so used chopped soft dried-apricots)
1/3 cup (60 – 80 g) raisins
- In a bowl mix both the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices
- Cream butter and sugar with a hand blender until it turns from brown to creamish in colour and is fluffy
- Add eggs one by one and keep beating
- Add pumpkin and milk one after the other and keep beating
- Add the flour mix to the pumpkin batter
- Stir in almonds, apricots and raisins
- Pour into a greased springform pan or into two 9''x5'' loaf pans
- If you use a springform pan, then almost double the amount of time will be required, like in my case
- Bake at 350 ° F (175 °C: 160°C convection) for one hour or until a toothpick or knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
I baked the bread for the first hour at 160°C and then for the next hour at 165 °C in a convection oven, since I had used a larger spring form pan instead of a loaf pan.
Changes I plan to make for next time:
1. reduce the amount of sugar to about 380 g, if using castor sugar, to 350 g
2. reduce the amount of salt to 1/2 tsp; 1 tsp was still too much for my taste
3. leave out cinnamon or replace with half with dried ginger: saunth
4. leave out cloves, gives too strong a flavour, or use ½ tsp
I was quite afraid about how it would turn out. But after about 15 minutes itself, I could see how it had risen, to my happiness. And after another 15 minutes it had risen even more to make me even more happy. I felt that it was a good sign as that could be a good indication of the bread being soft and spongy. But, after an hour when I checked the bread with knife, I found that the centre was all wet and undone. So, I knew it needed to be baked for at least half an hour more. I also increased the temperature by 5 °C. Afterwards when I checked the cake, it was much better but still far from being done, much too soft at the centre. So, another half an hour of baking and then I swithed off the oven and let it stand there as it was in the oven for a while, before I took it out and checked. And yes! The bread looked quite good. Infact much too good! No... wait... it was perfect! As perfect as I could imagine it to be. Soft, and with a nice sponge. Perfect crispy crust. It was just wonderful! It tasted sweet, a bit too sweet actualy , which I realised only later on. But, it did not disturb us. We like to eat things too sweet, if only the health factor wasn't there. :)
But, there was one thing which had started worrying me by the time I had switched off the oven. The smell. I guess some would love it, but I don't like cinnamon and clove in sweet things so much and I could smell it distinctly. I had purposefully kept the recipe the way it is . After all it is pumpkin spice bread. But, my fears were unfounded. The bread tasted very good.
But, still I would reduce the amount of these spices, as I feel that would be more like my bread. And sugar, I felt that it was too much, but didn't feel like making an changes and in the last moment added the remaining sugar as per the calculations.
Hubby was the first person to eat it and found it wonderful. Sonny boy loves this bread, I served it with whipped cream, but to go with the recipe I also wanted to prepare a gluten and casein free icing and found a nice recipe at Sophie's Flour Arrangements. But, as I wanted to make the spread I realised that I had finished off the margarine while making the cake. I had forgotten to stock up on it when I went shopping last time. So, I used butter instead to prepare it and, of course, left out all the spices, as I felt these were enough in the cake this time and only mixed some powdered jaggery with butter to make a simple but lovely icing. The jaggery gives a wonderful flavour to the butter so that nothing else is really needed.
And I also prepared an orange sauce for the cake from one of my cookbooks. Here also I had to use butter instead of margarine. If you wish to have the recipe, then ask me and I'll send it to you. And I sprinkled the butter icing with oraganic lemon zest and poure some orange sauce over it. Yummy!
And now I have to mention one thing: I was planning to send this recipe for Zorra's Bread Baking Day event: Coloured Breads for December, but this turned out to be dark brown as you see. Now breads usually look dark brown and I had hoped for something in yellow or orange. So, I would think, if I were to use regular caster sugar for this, it might actually turn yellowish in colour. Well, to find that out I'll have to wait for a while, before I try this recipe again. But this is one good recipe I would preserve carefully so that when one day the need arises, I can bake it for my my nephew, my dearest Advik.
And this wonderful and successful experiment I am so proud of, I'm sending off to Srivalli's Rice Mela at Cooking 4 All Seasons !!