Friday, October 7, 2011

Don't Mind Me. It's the Benadryl Talking.

I've been in a Benadryl haze for two days now.  It knocks me out, makes me have crazy dreams, and makes me feel like a crazy person.  Cray-cray.  This always happens with the change in seasons.  My allergies go nutso and I have a few days of sore throats and congestion.  It doesn't surprise me, but it does throw me for a loop.

The only thing making me feel like a real person right now is this pumpkin bread:

Look familiar?  That's because it's a pumpkin version of the cinnamon sugar pull-apart bread I made last week.  Or was it two weeks?  Benadryl.  In addition to being pumpkin-ed, it also has a butter rum glaze running over it.  I saw that.  You just drooled.  You should probably make it before you ruin your keyboard.

Because it's so similar to the original I'm not going to include all the step-by-steps.  I'll show you where it differs and the final product of course.
You need: sugar, milk, flour, salt, active dry yeast, butter, and pumpkin of course!  Because the pumpkin provides so much moisture, we don't need as much butter this go around.
Brown the butter in a saucepan and pour it into a heat-proof bowl.
Heat the milk in the same saucepan as the butter.  It'll pick up some of the bits left on the bottom.  When it's just bubbling, remove it from the heat and pour it into the bowl with the butter.
Stir in the yeast and sugar when the mixture has cooled to between 100º and 110º.  You can use a candy thermometer to check, but I usually use my finger because I'm pretty comfortable working with yeast at this point.  Let it sit for a few minutes and you'll see the yeast activate and make these froths.  Froths...that's a technical term.
Stir in a teaspoon of vanilla extract, then add the pumpkin, salt, and part of the flour.  You can either do this in the mixer with a dough hook or with a rubber spatula like I did.  It's a pretty easy dough to work with, so I found the spatula to work just fine.  There's something gratifying about doing it by hand...occasionally.
Add the rest of the flour 1/2 cup at a time.  The dough should come together pretty easily.  I think for the last half a cup I just used my hands.  It's a slightly sticky dough, just like the previous version.  Grease a bowl and let the dough rise until doubled in size by covering the bowl with plastic wrap and a dish towel.  I decided to finish the bread the next day so I stuck it in the fridge before I went to bed.  Just make sure to let it sit on the counter for about 30 minutes before trying to work with it again if you go that route.
Punch the dough down (gently, please!) and knead a tablespoon of flour into it.  Try not to forget the step that I always forget and let the dough rest for 5 minutes before rolling it out.  On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 20"x12".  Or is it 12"x20"?  Um, just make sure the longer sides are horizontal and the shorter sides are vertical.
For the filling, brown half a stick of butter in a saucepan.  Take it off the heat and stir together sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and cloves.  As with the original version, brush the dough with the browned butter.  All of it.  Sprinkle the sugar-spice mixture over the buttered dough.  Don't be afraid of the sugar.  Cut the dough vertically into six strips and stack them on top of each other.  Slice again into six "squares" by cutting horizontally.  Stack the dough in a greased and floured loaf pan and cover with a dishtowel.  Let the dough rise for about 30-45 minutes.  Bake in a 350º oven for about 30 minutes or until the top is a deep brown.
This is the bread without the glaze.  I got it out of the loaf pan with a pie server and my bare hands.  I think that's easier than inverting twice but do what feels most comfortable to you.  Sometimes the harder thing is most comfortable for me.  Yeah I'm a weirdo like my dog.
The glaze is super simple.  Butter, brown sugar, milk, powdered sugar, and rum.  You can use rum extract, but I have a bottle on hand for baking.  No joke, just for cooking and baking.
Heat the brown sugar, butter and milk in a small saucepan on medium-high heat until it's boiling.  Take it off the heat.
Whisk in the powdered sugar and rum until your arm falls off.  I kid, but it'll take a little elbow grease to get all the lumps out.  Just keep soldiering on until it becomes smooth.  I promise it will.  I might have put a little more rum in the glaze than the recipe called for.  In fact, I know I did.  I like a rummy flavor but if you're a little more reserved with these things feel free to scale it back.
Drizzle that bad boy onto the slightly warm bread.
Make sure it gets into all the crevices.
You won't be able to resist eating it right away.  Perhaps with a cup of coffee.  Or chai tea as it has been for me lately.
Like I said, this is the only thing making me feel like a real person right now.  Maybe it has something to do with the butter rum glaze.  It has a delicate pumpkin flavor, and I love the spices and how they are just perfectly autumnal.  And the butter rum glaze.  Did I mention that?  Make this your weekend treat!

Pumpkin Pull-Apart Bread (makes 1 9-inch loaf)
Adapted from Julie Ruble at Tasty Kitchen

2 tbs unsalted butter
1/2 c milk
1/4 c sugar
1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 c pumpkin puree
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 c + 1 tbs all-purpose flour

1 c sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp ground cloves
4 tbs (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

2 tbs unsalted butter
1 1/2 tbs milk
1/8 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c powdered sugar
1 tbs rum or to taste

  • In a saucepan, melt 2 tbs butter over medium heat until brown.  Remove from heat and pour into large heat-proof bowl.  Add milk to saucepan and return to heat.  Let milk heat until bubbles form.  Remove from heat and pour into bowl with the butter.  Allow mixture to cool until approximately 100-110º.  Stir in yeast and sugar and let sit for a few minutes.  Stir in vanilla extract, then add pumpkin, salt, and 1 cup of the flour.  Add the rest of the flour half a cup at a time and knead with hands until smooth but still a little sticky.  Grease a large bowl and transfer dough to bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and a dishtowel and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  • While dough is rising, prepare filling.  Whisk together sugar and spices in a small bowl.  Melt butter in small saucepan until browned and remove from heat.
  • When dough has finished rising, knead 1 tbs of flour into dough until smooth and elastic.  Let dough rest for 5 minutes.  On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough until approximately 20" wide and 12" tall.  Brush brown butter onto dough and sprinkle sugar-spice mixture over the dough.  Cut the dough vertically into six strips.  Stack strips on top of each other and cut horizontally into six squares.  Stack squares in a floured and greased 9-inch loaf pan.  Cover with a dishtowel and let rise for 30-45 minutes or until doubled in size.  While dough rises, heat oven to 350º.  Bake bread 30-35 minutes or until deeply golden brown on top to ensure bread is baked all the way through.  Let cool on a wire rack.
  • Make glaze while bread cools.  In a small saucepan, heat butter, milk, and brown sugar until boiling.  Take the mixture off heat and whisk in powdered sugar and rum.  Whisk until glaze is smooth with no lumps.  (Note: A wire whisk is best for this.)  Transfer bread to preferred dish or plate by first loosening sides with a knife.  Either use a pie server and hand to transfer to plate or invert bread onto one plate and then invert again to another plate.  Pour glaze over slightly warm bread and serve.

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