Tuesdays with Dorie: Cranberry Walnut Pumpkin Loaf

Pumpkin Loaves = Baking fail.

Artsy-craftsy reading reward chart = Mommy win.

That last one is epic for me.  Generally glue sticks and I are not on speaking terms.  Throw in some craft scissors and construction paper, and you get to witness hours of frustration on my part.  But I’m over the moon that my son’s started reading and want to find ways to encourage him.  He loves putting stickers on things (what preschooler doesn’t) so I hunted down some autumn leaf stickers and figured we’ll put a leaf on his tree for each book he reads.  Hopefully it goes better than the bread.

OMG, the bread!

Huge, HUGE disappointment.  All on my end.  I’m seeing the other bakers’ beautiful photos of beautiful loaves and I’m suffering from some serious bread envy.  My dough never seemed to double during the first rise and didn’t really rise at all during the second one.  Oddly, it seemed to rise the most after its overnight chill in the refrigerator.

I can’t figure out what caused the lack of rise on this one.  My kitchen was certainly warm enough (since it was 102 this weekend!) and the yeast I used worked fine for the whole wheat loaves a couple weeks ago.

What’s more frustrating is that this bread is REALLY good.  The texture in mine was all kinds of off but at least I was able to get an idea of what it should taste like.  And I have to say the homey combination of pumpkin, raisins and walnuts combined with the tart punch from the cranberries is perfect for fall.  Which just means that I’m attempting them again.  This time around though I think I’ll leave out the overnight step of chilling the dough.  I’m curious to see if the other bakers found that it added anything to make it worth the extra time.

Oh, and the extra pumpkin from the recipe?  Perfect for making homemade pumpkin spice latte syrup.  🙂

If you want to see what this bread SHOULD look like, check out Rebecca’s post over at This Bountiful Backyard.  She also has a copy of the recipe posted if you’d like to try this one yourself.


10 thoughts on “Tuesdays with Dorie: Cranberry Walnut Pumpkin Loaf

  1. Cute reading chart! Maybe if you try proofing the yeast first to see if it is still active might help? I use the instructions on the Fleischmann’s yeast jar: mix 2 1/4 tsp yeast + 1/4 cup warm water + 1 tsp sugar and let stand for 10 min. If the mixture doubles in volume and gets bubbly, you are good to go 🙂

  2. Having raised 6 children I feel I have my PHD in chart making. Yours looks excellent–don’t feel bad when it’s only half full and he wants a haunted house with ghost stickers. Kids, like me have a short attention span! Good luck and the bread and charts. Two very worthy pursuits.

    • I used to. The funny thing is I actually tossed the first batch of yeast because it wasn’t foaming that much and I thought it was because the water was too cold. Trying again today so cross your fingers! 🙂

  3. Your reading chart is really cool – I suck at crafts so if I ever have a kid I’m just going to have to hope I can develop the talent. Sorry the bread wasn’t what you hoped for. The only thing I can think that the other commenters haven’t mentioned is this: did you knead it for long enough? I didn’t think mine rose all that very much but the texture of it was correct (I think) so I was just wondering about the kneading step for you. My friend Susan always says that you should knead all bread until you get the “gluten window” which means you snip off a tiny piece of dough and stretch it between your fingers. If you can stretch it paper thin without tearing it, then it’s been kneaded enough and the gluten has developed.

  4. We have also encountered quite a few disappointing results with yeast in the past. Proofing it is the only recourse we can think of. Better luck next time. Your reading chart is beautiful – takes us right back to our homeschooling days.

  5. I don’t get why some breads work for some of us and some just don’t. I had terrible luck with the whole wheat loaves but great success with this one. It is a mystery. I LOVE your reading chart. I will file that away in my head for when my daughter starts reading on her own! Great idea, thanks!

  6. I adore your reading tree!! I only wish our daughter was still young enough to do this (she graduated college this year! Yikes!) Sorry your bread did not turn out well for you.

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