I have been testing out the Panasonic SD-ZB2502 Breadmaker to make mess-free no-nonsense loves of bread that embody the smells and flavours of autumn. We have tried bramble bread and maple loaves... all a bit experimental (and not always that successful as I'm not very good at guessing the amount of water I need to add or remove when I add fresh fruit to a loaf of home baked bread).
The star of the show though has to be this Butternut Squash and Pecan Loaf which uses a mixture of wholemeal and plain flour. I was aiming for a slightly squishy, sweet load which would make a wonderful snack toasted over a bonfire or served for a warming afternoon tea after a walk through the autumn leaves.
200g wholemeal bread lour
200g white bread flour
15g softened butter
1 teaspoon of salt
3 tablespoons golden syrup
100ml tepid water
3/4 teaspoon dried yeast
75 g chopped pecan nuts
500g butternut squash (Seeds removed but no need to remove the skin)
- Cut the butternut squash up into big chunks, drizzle with a little vegetable oil and roast on a baking tray at about 180 degrees for about 30 minutes until golden and well softened. Allow to cool and then scrape the flesh from the skin and mash it up in a bowl to make a coarse butternut squash mash.
- Add all of the ingredients other than the pecan nuts and yeast to the pan of your breadmaker. I used a whole meal menu on the Panasonic Breadmaker which takes a leisurely 6 hours from start to finish. The Panasonic SD-ZB2502 has a special dispenser for the yeast which allows it to stay dry and away from the salt and water until the correct time which means you are likely to get a better rise. If your bread machine doesn't have a dispenser, add the yeast to a different corner of the tin than the water and salt.
- The breadmaker also has a large dispenser for nuts or fruit which carefully drops them into the dough shortly before the main rise so that they don't get crushed during the preparation of the dough. I chose not to add the butternut squash this way because I wanted it to be well mixed into the dough but I added the peacan nuts using the dispenser and was really impressed at how well intact the pieces of nut stayed and yet how well distributed throughout the loaf they were.
- As soon as the breadmaker tells you that it is finished, remove the loaf quickly from the tin to stop it from absorbing condensation or sinking.
- I found this butternut squash and pecan bread to be very much like a malt loaf - best served in very thick slices toasted and smothered in butter! I also tried small cubes of this sumptuous bread sprinkled with icing sugar and dipped in a shallow bowl of sweet and syrupy dessert wine.
Disclosure: I loaned a Panasonic Breadmaker to develop my autumnal loaves!