Feeling very on cue with this post today. The leaves are changing, that autumn crispness is in the air, and we are all cozying up under the biggest blankets we can find while sipping our respective hot drinks.
Autumn always feels productive to me – whether that be in a creative or academic sense, it brings out a busyness and a need to fulfil. I can trace this back to September and the classic back-to-school mode that I still fall into so easily, but I think there’s more to it. Is it a nesting instinct? A preparation for the possible isolation that winter often brings? It feels good to know that even if you’re snowed in or cozied away from the rain you’ll have something to do, to work on. At least for me.
I am in NYC right now, and this mid-October break/vacation seems like the perfect way to transition into a more consistent and reliable schedule. Sebastian and I are moving into our new place as soon as we get back to Vancouver, and I’m looking forward to setting up, decorating, and cooking some healthy, wholesome meals in our new home.
Baking is one of my favourite ways to make a new place feel like home. Late night cookies or early morning bread baking – it is almost like a right of passage into that new space. I baked this loaf a couple of weeks ago and have been meaning to share it but kept getting sidetracked. It was a rainy Sunday (when I seem to do all of my bread baking) and the apartment slowly warmed to the smells of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and yeasted baking bread.
While I love banana bread and other types of cake-like loaves there is an undeniable specialness about kneading, proofing, and baking bread from scratch in your own home. I like this recipe because it is simple but looks impressive (those swirls tho). It is nothing fancy and only takes about 30 minutes of active time but it turns out perfectly. I put together some step-by-step photos to show the rolling and twisting process of the dough, I hope that makes it easier to follow along. Have a great week, babes! xx
Pumpkin Spice & Chocolate Swirled Loaf
Makes 1 loaf
If your kitchen isn’t warm enough for the first prove of the dough, you can turn your oven onto 200 and set the bowl on the counter nearby. It works perfectly.
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 cup cashew milk
- 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour (plus 3-4 more tbsp for kneading)
- 1/4 cup organic cane sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
- 1/4 cup pumpkin or sweet potato purée
- 1/4 cup organic cane sugar
- 1/2 tsp each of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves
- 50g semi-sweet baking chocolate, chopped
Add the yeast and 1 tsp sugar to a small bowl. Heat the cashew milk over medium heat in a saucepan until quite warm but not hot (just over room temperature – if it’s too hot it will burn the yeast). Pour the warm milk into the bowl with the yeast and sugar and whisk to combine. Let sit for 10 minutes until foamy and activated.
Add the flour, sugar, and salt to a large mixing bowl and stir together. Add in the melted coconut oil and the foamy yeast mixture. Stir until it resembles a shaggy dough. Lightly flour your working surface and tip the dough out onto it. Knead the dough for 6-8 minutes (yes actually this long) adding more flour by the tbsp (3-4) until it resembles a smooth, elastic ball of dough. It should still be quite soft but not too sticky. Lightly oil your mixing bowl and place the dough back inside. Cover with a cloth or plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place for one hour, until it has doubled in size.
While the dough is proofing whisk together the pumpkin, sugar, and spices in a small bowl. Oil a 9×5 baking pan and set aside.
Once the dough has doubled in size, tip it out onto a lightly floured surface and punch it down. Using your hands and a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a large rectangle that is apprx. 1/4 inch thick. Spread the pumpkin spice mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a 1/2 inch border. Sprinkle on the chopped chocolate.
For this next part use the above photos as a guide. Starting from the long edge roll the dough into cylinder/tube shape. Slice the cylinder down the middle lengthwise and separate it into each half. Press the top ends of each half together and begin to twist the halves over each other. Once you get to the end pinch the ends together and fold them under. Using your hands on either end lengthwise, squish the roll together to form a shorter, squatter shape. Carefully pick this up and place it into the prepared baking pan.
Place the dough in the baking pan on top of the stove and preheat the oven to 350. Let the dough prove for 20 more minutes while the oven preheats and then bake for 45-50 minutes, until golden brown on top and hollow sounding when you tap the bottom of the loaf. Let cool and then enjoy! Should last for 3-4 days in an airtight container.