Pumpkin nut bread

Pumpkin nut bread made entirely from scratch

Recently, John and I took a leisure trip to Macy’s in search of things on which we could use the last of our registry Star Rewards credit. Ever since the Paris part of our honeymoon, John has been on a French baguette kick. About a month ago, he decided to finally give baguette baking a try. He bought bread flour, looked up recipes, rolled up his sleeves, and started kneading. The first baguette looked awesome but wasn’t fluffy like a true baguette. The second attempt looked unappetizing and hardened into a rock within two days. Then our friend, Mei-Mei, said, “Why don’t you just buy a bread maker?”

At first, John was reluctant; he knew that now, when any bread turned out delicious, it wouldn’t be due to his blood, sweat, and tears. He would have to give most of the credit to the boxy machine on our kitchen counter. But we had leftover credit at Macy’s and opted for the Cuisinart CBK-200, a 2-pound convection automatic bread maker. The thing is heavy-duty, taking up a fourth of our counter space, but what it lacks in sleekness, it makes up for in efficiency and convenience. Now all John has to do is pour the measured ingredients into the machine, close the lid, and turn it on. It’ll beep when it’s ready for mix-ins (e.g. nuts) and beep again once it’s done. Like a slow cooker, we can just throw everything in and forget about it for a few hours. Then later when we return to it, we’ll have a freshly baked bread. A bonus is how nice the house smells when you’ve got something baking. Mouth-watering, I say.

In the month we’ve had it, John’s used it to make a French loaf, banana bread, pizza dough, and the latest creation, pumpkin walnut bread. Except for the French loaf (which still turned out edible), everything has been pretty damn delicious. He’s gotten a lot of compliments for his breads, and while our friend Daniel said that with all this baking, John’s lost his nuts in his bread, John says real men bake.

The truth is I’m happy John’s been spending more time in the kitchen. It gives the Blind Cook a much needed break. The following recipe is one he found online for banana nut bread. He used the same recipe to make both the banana bread and the pumpkin walnut bread; for the former, he baked it sans nuts since we didn’t have any on hand, and for the latter, he simply substituted the bananas with the fresh pumpkin he had spent five hours the other evening preparing. (That in itself was a whole ordeal. First he had to cut open the pumpkin, roast it in the oven with a layer of brown sugar on top to sweeten the field pumpkin, puree it in the food processor. That wasn’t all. Then I had to stand there with a knee-high sock in hand, which we read was an acceptable substitute for cheesecloth, while he spooned globs of pumpkin puree into it in order to extract all the water from the orange mass. Craziness, I tell you.)

But what we got out of it was a pumpkin walnut bread truly made from scratch. I’m so proud of my hubby. If a computer geek can bake it, so can you. You just may need to throw some money down for a bread machine first.

Banana bread

Banana bread sans the nuts


Recipe: Banana Nut or Pumpkin Nut Bread for the Bread Machine

Summary: Original recipe from the Bread Maker section of All Recipes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c. margarine or butter, softened
  • 2/3 c. milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2.5 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. white sugar
  • 2.5 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 c. mashed bananas or pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 c. chopped walnuts

Instructions

  1. Spray bread machine pan with vegetable oil spray.
  2. Pre-mix ingredients in the order listed. Place mixture in bread machine pan.
  3. Select the “Quick Bread/Cake” cycle. Press “Start.” Check after 1 min. to see if dough is well-blended.
  4. Cook until cycle ends. Remove pan and cool completely before removing bread from pan.

Quick Notes

For best results, use King Arthur flour. It’s more expensive but seems worth it for quality breads.

Baking powder = 2 parts cream of tartar + 1 part baking soda. This will be further explained in my snickerdoodles post.

The prep time listed below only accounts for the mixing of ingredients and does not include the time it spends in the bread machine.

Variations

We’ve used this same recipe to make both banana bread and pumpkin nut bread. I’m sure there are other mushy fruits/purees that could be added into this bread. Why not try?

Cooking time (duration): 10

Diet type: Vegetarian

Meal type: snack

Culinary tradition: USA (General)

Microformatting by hRecipe.

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8 Discussion to this post

  1. Melody Lynn says:

    Hi,

    I came across your website through google, honestly by mistake.

    However I was amazed at your website.

    I saw that you had a breadmaker that your husband used and I followed the link to amazon.com because I have recently been looking for a bread maker for my mother.

    She is pretty much 100% blind but that doesn't stop her from doing anything she sets her mind to.

    Do you have any reccomendations for bread makers that blind people can use with no problems?

    I haven't had any luck finding any.

    I would appreciate any help you can provide, thanks!

    melody_lynn93@yahoo.com

    -melody lynn

  2. the Blind Cook says:

    Melody Lynn: Thanks for stumblling upon my blog and your comment/question. Like most things in this dominantly sighted world, bread makers are difficult to use as a visually impaired individual. Of course, there are often modifications we can make to things to make them more accessible. I haven't tried using the bread machine alone myself, but my question to you is does your mother know how to read Braille? And even if she doesn't, there are rubber dot markers that you can use to stick on the machine to indicate tactilely where the buttons are. I have been meaning to blog about different tips and techniques I've learned over the years, and your comment has only made me realize the urgency of these issues. I will think more about your question and try to come up with ideas. But first, does she know Braille?

  3. Melody Lynn says:

    Thank you for your reply.

    No, she never learned to read Braille. She was born blind but had very little vision, enough when she was a kid that all she had to use was a magnifyer and she could read.

    She later got ZoomText for the computer but doesn't even use that anymore, now she uses Jaws for the computer which just talks to her, not magnifies the text and talks like ZoomText does.

    She also does have a talking labeler called the PenFriend that she got off of Independent Living Aids. Which we have used to label some touch buttons that aren't raised.

    Like you, she doesn't always do things often by herself. But she is one determined lady and feels like (as much as we tell her she is NOT) a burden asking us to do stuff for her that we never had to do when we were kids because she could see enough she didn't have to ask.

    But to answer your question she doesn't know Braille. She only knows a few letters that she's used over the years.

  4. the Blind Cook says:

    Melody Lynn: That pen sounds like a neat gadget–I will have to look into getting that. Honestly, since I haven't tried baking bread on my own without my husband's help, I cannot tell you how accessible this particular bread machine is. I would think, however, that if your mother memorized which button setting belongs to which bread setting, she could count how many times she needs to punch a certain button to get to, say, "quick breads" (which happens to be the only setting we've used so far). I would say that the good thing about this Cuisinart is it's very easy to produce consistent results–my husband said he just pretty much throws all the ingredients into the machine, set it to run, and then a loaf is waiting for him after it beeps a few hours later. The only thing he may have to do in the middle is add the nuts or whatever mix-in he would like to add. This is prompted by the machine beeping to remind him to add the ingredient. The other thing we like about the machine is its sturdy and doesn't shift around on the counter, which I've heard was a problem among other machines. This could end in disaster if your mother has to deal with spilled dough all over the kitchen floor.

    Next time we bake a loaf, I will get my husband to walk me through the preparation, and I can let you know how accessible it is. 🙂

  5. Melody Lynn says:

    Here's the PenFriend link if you're interested: http://www.independentliving.com/prodinfo.asp?num
    I think I'll buy her one that uses the same number of pushing the button every time you turn it on. I know gadets like her washer and dryer start where you last washed/dryed them on. She really dislikes things like that.

    If the breadmaker resets itself once you're done baking and turn it off, let me know. Cause that's what she needs.

  6. paul says:

    Looks great! I wonder if it works with sunflower seeds, too

  7. andrei radu says:

    It's delicious. I can't stop eating.bread never tasted like this before

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