Cranberry-Walnut Pumpkin Loaf sounds like a quick bread, but this version from Baking With Julia is anything but quick. It’s a yeast bread with two rises interrupted by a six-hour chilling in the refrigerator followed by three to four hours warming back up to room temperature…baking the loaves is definitely a two-day affair. Except for my grandmother’s apple kuchen recipe, the only breads that I’ve made where the dough is chilled are ones that use small amounts of yeast and a long rising time. I’m not sure the chilling is really necessary to this recipe.
It’s a little early in the season for fresh cranberries to be available in the markets here. I tried a couple of local stores with no success, but then while in Philadelphia on Friday and walking through Reading Terminal Market, I stopped into a produce stand and scored a bag of fresh cranberries. I’m glad I did, because the tart bursts of flavor from the cranberries was my favorite part of these loaves.
The recipe called for baking the loaves in three small loaf pans. I do have some small loaf pans somewhere, maybe smaller than the 5 3/4″ x 3 1/4″ size specified in the recipe. Mine are four pans linked together, and I don’t use them often - it beats me where I stored them. Instead I used two standard sized pans, about 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″. If I were to bake these again, I would either persist in searching out my mini-pans or make one larger loaf with about 2/3 of the dough and use the rest to make a few rolls. The quantity of dough really wasn’t quite enough for two large loaves.
I thought the dough was sluggish in rising. It was weighed down by the added-in cranberries and walnuts, and my kitchen isn’t so warm now that fall has settled in. I gave it a boost in a slightly warm oven for the rise in the pans.
The bread smelled wonderful while baking, and it was good, but not amazing. The recipe can be found on pages 108-109 of Baking with Julia or on the blog of Rebecca at This Bountiful Backyard.