Weekend Food Prep–Oatmeal Pumpkin Sandwich Bread

I like bread, but I don’t eat it terribly often. So, like a lot of other baked goods, I make it in bulk, slice it up, and store it in my freezer. This recipe makes 3 moderately-sized loaves of delicious sandwich bread. The pumpkin adds color and with the long fermentation time, there’s a nice balance between sour and sweet notes.

This recipe began as a recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francios. I have updated it to make the recipe more convenient, including using a full 15 oz. can of pumpkin, and I don’t do the cloaking thing (a technique that is supposed to make kneading unnecessary). Honestly, I can’t get the hang of it, and I end up with flat boules every time I try. So, I make it in traditional bread pans and use my mixer to give it a proper kneading.

Oatmeal Pumpkin Sandwich Bread

one. In a large mixing bowl, stir together:
1 15 oz. can pumpkin (about 2 cups)
3 cups warm (about 105oF) water
2 1/4 Tbs. yeast
1 1/2 Tbs. table salt
8 Tbs (one stick) butter, melted
1/2 cup honey

two. Add, and then stir just until everything is incorporated:
3/4 cup oats
2 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 1/4 cup rye flour

three. Add until you have a loose dough:
5-6 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

four. Using the dough-hook of your mixer, knead the dough until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.

five. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to ferment overnight at room temperature, or 8-10 hours. (Alternately, you can refrigerate the dough for a few days.)

Photo description: A large metal mixing bowl, nearly overflowing with bread dough that has risen up over the rim.

six. Turn the dough over a few times and then divide into 3 equal portions. Form into loaves by flattening each piece into an oblong and then rolling it up, sealing the seam.

seven. Place each loaf into a lightly buttered 9×5 bread pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours. (If you are using refrigerated dough, this will take several hours. And while this will result in a lovely flavor, I’ve never had it rise quite as high this way.)

eight. Preheat oven to 350oF. Place a baking sheet on the lower rack.

nine. When they’re ready, brush the loaves with a bit of melted butter and sprinkle with some oats or dust with flour. Place in the middle rack of the hot oven.

Photo description: A couple loaves of Oatmeal Pumpkin Sandwich Bread, right out of the oven and on a cooling rack.

ten. Pour about 1 cup of water into the baking pan. Bake until a thermometer reads 195-200oF when placed inside one of the loaves, about 55 minutes.

eleven. Remove from pans and allow to cool on a rack completely before slicing.

Image description: A piece of oatmeal pumpkin sandwich bread with homemade berry jam on it set on a cutting board. There is a bite out of one corner.

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