I think most would agree, fall is THE season for baking. Although I am an atrocious baker of cookies and cakes, I can bake a decent loaf of bread from time to time. After our first big snowfall here in Duluth, I was excited to dig into a new baking experiment, but wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I peered into my fridge and saw an Oktoberfest from Lake Superior Brewing staring back at me. I was inspired… beer bread! I started to think about what would pair well with the caramel, malty-deliciousness of the Oktoberfest and pumpkin seemed to be the perfect match. Okotberfest Pumpkin Beer Bread, how fitting for the season!
I had a great start with the Oktoberfest and pumpkin, but I needed some extra ingredients to really make this bread special. I happened to find pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds) at the supermarket and immediately thought that would be a great addition to the bread. I also wanted to make it extra autumnal, so I added lots of cinnamon and nutmeg. Then, I remembered I had some ground sumac (find it here)in my spice cabinet and thought that would add a unique citrus note to the bread. Odd, I know, but it works! I sweetened the pumpkin beer bread up with some brown sugar and honey. I started to feel like this loaf would turn into something really delicious.
I tend to cook completely off the cuff, but this time around I made an effort to be a bit more precise and actually write a proper recipe. My family and friends have been teasing me about my inability to write my recipes down for years. So, I am turning over a new leaf and proving to my loved ones that I can, in fact, write recipes for others to enjoy.
Oktoberfest Pumpkin Beer Bread
3 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground sumac berries (optional, but tasty if you have it!)
1 teaspoon grated or ground nutmeg
1/2 cup brown sugar (plus 2 tablespoons for topping)
1 cup pepitas (plus 2 tablespoons for topping)
1 12oz bottle of Oktoberfest beer
1 15oz can of pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup melted butter
Prep Time: 1o minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour- 1.25 hours
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all dry ingredients and 1 cup of the pepitas together in a large bowl or stand mixer. Add honey, melted butter, pumpkin puree, and beer to dry mixture. Mix on low speed or by hand until just combined. Do not over mix the batter, folks. Pour batter into a greased bread pan and sprinkle the reserved brown sugar and pepitas to the top of the batter. Bake for 60-85 minutes or until a toothpick comes (mostly) clean when you pierce the loaf with it. There will be some crumbs that come up with the toothpick, and that is okay. Let cool and enjoy!
I used my best friend, parents, and grandparents as my taste testers for this recipe. I figured they would be honest with me about the results and also forgive me if pumpkin beer bread was terrible. I was pleased by the feedback I received- they all said it was dense and moist, slightly sweet and had a nice crunch from the pepita/brown sugar topping. All together a success for my little fall baking experiment. I hope it inspires you to do some cooking with beer in your kitchen!