It looks like Fall has finally arrived in Tennessee this past week. The temperature has been dropping as the leaves are starting to change and that has me instinctively heading into my kitchen to bake with my favorite ingredients: pumpkin and apples! This recipe is inspired by the apple fritter bread and pumpkin streusel bread that I’ve been obsessively buying from Target for the past couple of months. I’d been wanting to try to make a homemade version of the apple fritter bread but then I realized it would be so much better if the apple fritter bread had pumpkin in it, too!
I started with a pumpkin yeast bread recipe that I really like because it’s quite healthy in addition to being delicious. It’s made with all-purpose flour but also has some whole wheat flour and oats to add whole grain goodness to it. If you’ve baked with pumpkin before you know it’s not hugely flavorful (especially combined with 8 cups of flour!) but it adds natural sweetness and definitely helps keeps the crumb soft and moist. On it’s own, this pumpkin yeast bread makes a nice bread for toast in the mornings, but I wanted to take it to a whole new level. I topped the dough with a brown sugar-cinnamon mixture and chopped up apples, then I rolled everything up like a big ol’ cinnamon roll. Right before I put the bulging loaves in the oven, I sprinkled them with a mixture of course sugar and cinnamon that adds a wonderful crunchy sweetness to the crust.
I know the thought of making real bread — or anything with yeast — can be intimidating to some. It was definitely scary to me before I started this blog. But once you do it a few times you realize that it’s really not much harder than making a cake. Yeah, making homemade bread takes more time but it’s always worth it in the end. There is nothing better than the smell of homemade bread in your house and this bread even more so since it’s full of apples and spices. I want my apartment to smell like that all the time!
I highly recommend serving this with pumpkin butter, which turned out to be the cherry on top that makes this bread even better. And I’m sure it would be just as good with apple butter, too. This recipe makes two very large loaves (or three small ones), but you can easily freeze the extra loaf. Or, even better, give it to someone as a gift! This bread is a wonderful treat on any crisp Fall morning and I think it would make an especially great Thanksgiving breakfast.
Apple-Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Yeast Bread
Bread | Yield: 2 to 3 loaves
Prep time: 45 min | Cook time: 45 min | Total time: 3 hours
- 4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 cups quick-cooking oats
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 3 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 2 packages (1/4 oz. each) active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 cups warm water (120° to 130°)
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup (4 tbsp.) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 cups finely chopped apples
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp. cinnamon, divided
- 1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 cup turbinado sugar (AKA Sugar in the Raw) or other course sugar like demerara
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Note: You don’t need a mixer to make this recipe but it’s a lot easier if you have one.
- In a large bowl, stir together 2 cups AP flour, all of the whole wheat flour, oats, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, salt, sugar and yeast.
- Mix in the warm water, pumpkin, applesauce and oil just until moistened. Add eggs and beat until smooth. Stir in 2 more cups of AP flour or enough to form a firm dough.
- At this point you can either knead the dough by hand or switch to a dough hook on your mixer and let it do most of the work for you. Using the dough hook: mix on medium for about 5 minutes, adding up to 1/2 cup more flour until the dough forms a smooth ball that isn’t sticking to the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead by hand for 1 to 2 more minutes. Kneading by hand: Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 6 to 8 minutes. You’ll most likely need to add a bit more flour to the dough as you are kneading to keep it from being sticky. The end result should be dough that is soft and pliable, tacky but not sticky. (See this post for the difference between the two.)
- Place the dough inside a very large bowl (at least 4 qt.) that has been sprayed lightly with cooking spray or oil. Roll the dough around to lightly coat it in oil. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Grease or spray two 9×5-in. or three 8×4-in. pans. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and divide in half (or thirds). Roll each portion into an 18-in. x 9-in. rectangle (16-in. x 8-in. for smaller pans).
- Combine brown sugar, 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice in a small bowl. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon on the chopped apples and mix well.
- Brush dough with melted butter to within 1/2 in. of edges. Set aside remaining melted butter for later. Sprinkle sugar mixture over the dough and then sprinkle the apples on top, lightly pressing them into the dough. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with the short side. Pinch the final seam closed with your thumbs and rock gently to even it out.
- Place seam side down in your prepared loaf pans. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees
- Combine course sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Re-melt the remaining butter and lightly brush the tops of the loaves. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture on top.
- Tip: To make rotating multiple pans easier, place all loaf pans on a large baking sheet, making sure they aren’t touching each other. Bake on the middle oven rack for 25 minutes, then rotate the pans 180 degrees. Continue baking for 20 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes in pans and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Don’t cut into the loaves for at least 2 hours.