I bought a butternut squash the other day, thinking I would use the neck to make some squash chips and the bottom to try a soup. Then I read a post from a friend talking about making a butternut squash soup, so I figured I'd leave that to her for now and try something else. Fall makes me think of fresh baked bread, so that's what I settled on. Aside from seeing the little flecks of color, you wouldn't know what the "secret" ingredient was, so it's a way of sneaking some veggies into the kids. And hey, if you cook squash down the road and they protest, you can point out how much they enjoyed it and surprise them by telling them it was in the bread. That might trick them into giving it another try. ;)
1 T yeast
1 1/2 c warm water
1/4 c brown sugar
1 1/2 t salt
1 1/2 t cinnamon
2 c shredded/grated butternut squash, lightly packed
1 c old-fashioned oats
5 c flour
1 egg (optional for brushing on top)
- Pour the yeast into the bowl of your stand mixer, cover with the warm water and let bloom for about 5" until foamy
- Add the brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, squash, and oats and mix until combined
- Add in the flour about a cup at a time until combined, then knead for 5-8" until the dough pulls away from the bowl into a ball
- Remove the dough from the bowl and spray (or oil) the bowl, returning the dough and turning it to coat
- Cover and set in a warm place for rise for about an hour - I turn on the oven for just a few seconds, then turn it off again and put the dough in the oven
- Punch down the dough, divide in half, and shape as desired (see below)
- Let rise for another 30" or so, then bake at 350 until golden and baked through (time will depend on shape/size/pan, etc.)
I decided to try two different loaves. For the first, I rolled the dough into a rectangle, rolled it up from one short end to the other (tightly, to press out any air), tucked the edges under and dropped into a sprayed loaf pan. For this one, before it went into the oven, I spritzed it with cold water and sprinkled additional oats on top.
For the second loaf, I decided to go with a braid. You could divide the dough into thirds, roll each into a rope and braid the three together. I find it easier to pinch off one third, roll that out, then roll out the other two thirds together, pressing the short rope into the longer to form a T, then braid. For this one, I created an egg wash by beating one egg with a bit of water and brushing it over the top.
I think I prefer the braid over the loaf. It's prettier and seems to have a better (more compact) texture, making it easier to slice. The oats provided a bit of chew to the texture, reminding me of a fresh loaf of pumpernickel. The cinnamon was just enough to make itself known.
The day before I baked the bread, I had wanted to use up a piece of onion and some orange bell pepper I had in the fridge, so I cooked and crumbled a few slices of bacon, sauteed the onion and pepper, then mixed them all, along with a healthy dose of dill and a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes, into four eggs, added some grated cheese and poured the whole thing into a loaf pan, baking until done. I slice it up to make a breakfast sandwich but still had a piece left, so I toasted two slices of the Butternut Squash Bread (loaf), sprinkled both slices with shredded cheese when they came out of the oven, then re-heated the remaining egg and sandwiched it between the two for lunch. :)