It was so chilly and grey as I walked into the kitchen Wednesday morning, I felt in my very bones that it was time to make the first batch of Pumpkin Bread for the autumn.
I *love* the recipe I’ve been using for years now, out of a cookbook by Darlene Glantz Skees, given to me by my aunt. The page of the recipe is stained and dirty, with grease smears across it and decade-old sugar crystals stuck to the page. Did I say I love it?
As much as I love it, it has a lot of white flour, veg oil, and a bucketload of sugar in it. So, I’ve been thinking of how I might modify the recipe to still get the amazing, moist, spicy, flavorful loaf that I treasure while exchanging a few things… I plan to do it in some test stages to see what might work and to hopefully isolate anything that might not. The three things I plan to try are: substituting up to half the flour with whole wheat flour; substituting some of the oil with applesauce or more pumpkin puree, and subbing as much of the sugar as possible with some version of Stevia extract.
I’ve already switched this recipe so that I use unbleached raw sugar rather than white. I like the slightly carmel-y flavor the different sugar imparts. So for this recipe I tried the first flour substitution: replacing 1/3 of the recipe’s total amt of white flour with 100% whole wheat, and increasing the amount of baking powder by 50% to compensate. So here goes…
Because there are a LOT of individual ingredients, I like to measure out everything ahead of time. That makes the mixing go smoothly and relatively quickly. I think it also helps with incorporating the components well.
As I measure out the spices, soda, and baking powder, I tend to put them away as I measure. I doubled the soda one time because I wasn’t careful. You can imagine how that turned out. But as I was putting things away, I couldn’t find my baking powder. I’d measured it – I knew that, but it wasn’t on the shelf where I keep everything. Oh well, I thought, I’d find it whenever.
Yep, this is my life . Baking powder in the spoons, keys in the freezer. Welcome to Contemporary Insanity, folks.
Thankfully, I had this to focus on. Mmmmmm, yummy smells:
OK, so I had everything measured and ready to go. Good scents? Check! Cute muffin liners? Check!
Wait a tic… Notice anything missing? Check out my prep again:
Pretty hard to make Pumpkin Bread without, er, PUMPKIN. Gah!
Incorporating the wet ingredients: I like to whisk this a bit to evenly incorporate the eggs. I really get squicky about egg chunks in tea breads. After that quick work, however, I only use a rubber spatula to gently fold in the dry ingredients.
These are sifted into the wet items with my sweet-a$$ old-skool sifter. Which I totally bought at an antique junk store for $4. I can not tell you for how long I have wanted one of these ancient babies; the newbies just are not the same.
Innards and crank: stock. The handle so completely is not. I have no idea where that handle came from, but it magically fits the original screw holes. However, the handle extends down past the bottom edge of the sifter can. It is an exquisite shambles and I LOVE it.
I won’t share with you the words that might be heard in my kitchen when I think I’m done but see this in the bottom of the sifter:
Here’s what it looks like during the second incorporation of dry ingredients. It is so fun to see the swirl of spices drift across the flour and sugar.
Filling the tins: Before I start scooping, I let the batter rest for just a few minutes to give the baking powder a moment to percolate before it’s jammed by oven heat. I have nearly come to terms with the realization that I may be pathologically incapable of filling muffin forms without globbing batter all over everything. I’ve not yet managed a batch with a clean tin.
First out of the oven:
The crumb is perfect on these babies. They are light and still moist, not at all heavy from the whole wheat flour. Exactly what I wanted!
The overall texture is just a tiny bit more toothy than the original recipe, which is what I expected from the whole wheat flour. I like this result so much that I may not try to replace a full half. I think using Stevia is the next item up for substitution.
I bagged the muffins in individual sandwich zips and then put them all in a freezer-rated gallon zip. The mini-loaves I sealed in vacuum packs because I think tea breads keep better in those than in freezer zips. (Learning after the first one, which had all the air sucked out and compressed into “pumpkin bread pudding”, to quickly hit “Manual Seal” as soon as the process started.) Everything was in the deep freezer before the end of the evening.