Butternut Squash Bread – born out of necessity and stubbornness.
What do you have when you are fresh out of bread, live forty miles from the nearest grocery store, and have a hankering for French toast? A problem – a problem is what you have.
Luckily, the day this scenario played out at my house, I had all the ingredients to make homemade bread. I also had a butternut squash that had been sitting on my counter for a month – at least. It was staring at me begging me to use it. And since I am stubborn and have made it a personal crusade to end the food wasting that goes on in my home, I decided to add some of it to the bread I was about to bake.
And let me tell you, the results – delish!
Butternut Squash Bread
- 1 cup half and half
- 2 heaping teaspoons yeast
- 4 1/2 cups flour
- 4 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 eggs separated
- 1 cup pureed butternut squash
- 3 tablespoons butter
- If your squash hasn't been pre-cooked and pureed, poke holes in the skin with a fork and microwave it for 9 minutes-ish. Then remove the skin with a potato peeler. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds, cube, place in a microwave safe bowl with a cup of water, and microwave until all pieces are fork-tender or about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once all of the squash is tender, puree it in a food processor. Reserve a cup of the squash puree for the bread and store the rest in the refrigerator - trust me, there will be more than one cup.
- Warm the half and half in the microwave for about 30 seconds or until warm (not hot) to the touch. Stir yeast into the half and half and let stand for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place the flour, sugar, salt, egg yolks (keep the whites in a small bowl for later), and squash into the bowl of a stand mixer. Turn the mixer on to medium and slowly add the half and half/yeast mixture. Mix for 5 minutes, or until the dough is combined.
- Cut the butter into small cubes and add to the dough one tablespoon at a time, waiting until one is completely mixed before adding the next. Once the butter is combined, continue to mix on medium for an additional 6-8 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Using a little flour on your hands, remove the dough from the mixing bowl and place in a large, lightly oiled (I brush mine with olive oil) bowl. Let the dough rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Turn the doubled dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2 minutes. Separate the dough into two equal pieces, form into loaves and place in lightly-oiled, flour-dusted loaf pans. Put the loaves in a warm place and let them rise for another hour, or until they have reached the desired height.
- Add two teaspoons of water to the egg whites that have patiently been waiting. Whisk the water and whites together. Using a basting brush, paint the egg wash over the tops of both loaves. I do this once and let it dry for a minute or two and then add a second coat.
- Place the loaves into a pre-heated 375 degree oven and bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove the loaves from the oven and place on a cooling rack until just cool enough to handle. Carefully free the loaves from the pans and turn out onto the rack to finish cooling.
- Enjoy as French toast, lightly toasted and spread with honey, or simply sliced and buttered!