Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Great Pumpkin Bread Extravaganza!!!

It’s the day we’ve all been waiting for – the pumpkin bread extravaganza!

I wanted to perform this experiment because pumpkin bread was one of my favorite treats to bake before going gluten free. A few months after beginning my diet, I tried my best recipe again (replacing the wheat flour with a gluten free flour blend and xanthan gum) but found that I needed much more gluten free flour – almost an entire cup – to create the same texture as the original. While tasty, this made the bread quite dense, heavy, and loaded with extra calories and carbohydrates.

So I invited my official taste-tester (aka Kristopher, my boyfriend) and my good friend Theresa to spend an afternoon lounging on my terrace while I bake three dozen delicious little muffins.

My mission: To bake three different pumpkin bread recipes, two from established gluten free bloggers and a new one of my own creation.

PB # 1 – Coconut flour base. Low in carbohydrates. Higher in sugar. Sweetened with ¼ cup honey and banana
PB #2 – Almond flour base. Low in carbohydrates. Very low in sugar. Sweetened with 2 ½ tablespoons honey
PB #3 – Blend of buckwheat flour, oat flour, almond flour and coconut flour. Higher in carbohydrates but incorporates very nutritious grains. Low in sugar. Sweetened with 3 ½ tablespoons of maple syrup

The data:

PB #1 – I had high hopes for this recipe because I love cooking with coconut flour. Unfortunately, these did not come out as well as I had hoped. They were dense and fell apart as I tried to take them out of the pan. They didn’t have a fluffy consistency at all. Instead, they had an almost half-baked quality. Very moist and sweet. Kristopher pointed out that he tasted the banana much more than the pumpkin.

PB #2 – The prettiest in terms of its shape, these muffins puffed up well. They were light, fluffy, and had a cake-like texture that was very pleasing. You could really taste the nutmeg and cloves, perhaps more than the pumpkin. For this reason I thought it was more like a spice cake compared to pumpkin bread.

PB # 3 – Had a very nice hard exterior that was a pleasant contrast with the soft interior. It wasn’t too sweet and we could clearly taste the pumpkin. It was less fluffy-cake-like than #2. It was heartier and more moist.  

The conclusion:

Each recipe yielded very different versions of pumpkin bread. As we tossed around adjectives, I asked Kristopher and Theresa simply, “Which one would you like me to make again?”

Kristopher and I agreed that the coconut flour recipe was not our favorite. We liked numbers 2 and 3 for different reasons. Kristopher flip flopped a bit but decided on #2 because of the cake-like texture, lightness, and focus on the fall spice flavors. Theresa and I chose #3 because when we think of pumpkin bread, we want to taste the pumpkin first and foremost. We enjoyed the moistness, heartiness and soft/hard textures of the interior/exterior.

My flour blend received 2 out 3 votes – it looks like we have a winner!

I’ve chosen to release my recipe on a future date (perhaps in a cookbook?!). But I am pleased to share with you recipe #2 – it comes from Elena’s Pantry and can be found at All of the recipes that I have tried from Elena’s website are wonderful, and I highly recommend her cookbooks. I adjusted this recipe slightly because I didn’t have stevia on hand and do not own a food processor, as she recommends using. And of course, I added chocolate. Lots of chocolate. Enjoy!

Paleo Pumpkin Bread

1 cup almond flour
¼ tsp sea salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cloves
½ cup pumpkin puree
2 ½ tbsp raw honey
3 large eggs
Chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all wet ingredients and mix with a hand mixer. Slowly add in dry ingredients and mix for two minutes. Fold in chocolate chips. Spray a muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray and scoop batter in evenly. Bake for 35-45 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely. 

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