Fresh Pumpkin Bread

fresh pumpkin bread recipe / a thousand threads
The first time I ever cooked with fresh pumpkin was a disaster. Mark and I had just started dating, and I really wanted to impress him. So since his birthday was coming up on Halloween (hello pumpkin) and cheesecake is his favorite, I decided I’d make him the best pumpkin cheesecake he’d ever had…

I wasn’t cocky at all.

So I ran to the local Whole Foods and dropped an entire meal’s worth of money on a fat pumpkin to cook down into my own puree… because why would I do this the easy way? Everything was better from scratch.

Hours (a whole day?) later, the pumpkin cooked down, the cheesecake set up, and I couldn’t wait for him to see what I’d done. When he came over to celebrate, I practically met him at the door with a slice.

This thing was going to be good, I was certain.

… and I think he was too.

Then he took a bite.

fresh pumpkin bread recipe / a thousand threads
All I have to say is, he was so nice… he smiled and complemented me. And when he did, I sat there, smug and satisfied… raising my own fork to my mouth, already knowing how great it was going to be…

Or not.

I’d spent hours… baking, chopping, and pureeing that pumpkin. Making the cheesecake just right. It was so pretty… just the prettiest little pumpkin cheesecake you ever did see.

And it tasted like dirt.

Turns out, not all pumpkins are created equal… and while my pumpkin might have been small-ish, it was no pie pumpkin.

It would have been a beautiful jack-o-lantern.

Unfortunately, it was a disgusting puree. A smarter baker might have tasted it before she baked it into a cake and ruined the whole lot. But I’d just created a masterpiece… how could anything possibly go wrong?

fresh pumpkin bread recipe / a thousand threads
Needless to say, I was a little more careful about this particular recipe.

More careful, and more nervous.

But whereas that cheesecake eventually found its way to the trash… this little loaf of pumpkin bread barely lasted a day.

And since then we’ve made two more.

This guy is good. And it’s good because it’s chock full of fresh pumpkin.

The good news is that for this recipe you don’t need a purée. Just 3 cups of grated fresh pumpkin (from one of those tiny pie pumpkins at the grocery store, no dirty jack-o-lanterns on the sidewalk outside), and 3 cups piles up a whole lot faster than you’d think.

So don’t let my horror stories scare you… fresh and from scratch really is always better, you just have to know what you’re doing. Which clearly, in this case (and many cases in my life) I didn’t.

fresh pumpkin bread recipe / a thousand threads
Fresh Pumpkin Bread
Adapted from this recipe by Alton Brown

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups shredded fresh pumpkin
1 cup toasted pepitas

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Sift the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together.

In a separate bowl, mix the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla. Combine both mixtures and fold in the shredded pumpkin and pumpkin seeds. Once the ingredients are all incorporated pour into a non- stick 9 by 5 by 3-inch loaf pan. If your pan is not non- stick coat it with butter and flour.

Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. At this point a knife inserted into the middle of the loaf should come out clean. Cool for 15 minutes and turn out onto a cooling rack. Cool completely. For muffins temperature should also be 325 degrees F., but bake for 30 minutes.

fresh pumpkin bread recipe / a thousand threads


  1. Posted October 22, 2013 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    oh man I have some disaster cooking stories like yours. I try and stay away from kitchen ( Jon is like master chef and I am so intimidated to cook for him). I am so glad this one turned out better for you. I love some good pumpkin bread.

    • Laicie
      Posted October 22, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      Oh man, Alecia, mine too!! He worked in kitchens for years and is such a great cook. It kills me. I’m slowly getting better about just stepping in there a cooking something, and baking is another story… but it’s crazy how intimidating it can be.

  2. Posted October 22, 2013 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    After one disastrous pumpkin pie, I started avoiding sugar pumpkins altogether–but maybe it’s time to give it another try!

    • Laicie
      Posted October 22, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      The bad experiences are the worst!! This is the first time I’ve gone back and it’s probably been six years! Haha, but hey it turned out well. That’s a good reason to try again. 🙂

  3. Posted October 22, 2013 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    Oh that’s such a wonderful recipe! I’m in that autumn mood for sure and would love to try that! thank you for sharing!

  4. Amanda L.
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    My husband is also the cook in the family. It makes my disasters even more embarrassing since he rarely makes a misstep. I’ve had a couple recent successes, so I’m trying to take more chances in the kitchen! I’ve pinned this recipe… because YUM!

  5. Posted October 22, 2013 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    What a lovely recipe! It’s so upsetting when you bake something and it comes out wrong but without that experience, we wouldn’t have this wonderful recipe to use!

  6. Posted October 22, 2013 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    How awesome!! I’ve never baked anything with fresh pumpkin, I think because I’m too impatient 🙂 but, this looks amazing – and I love pumpkin bread!

  7. Posted October 22, 2013 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    You’re better than me, Laicie – I do not know anything about cooking, unfortunately, but I love food so much!! I’m so proud of you for one – cooking with fresh pumpkin and two not letting the first time discourage you and picking yourself up and trying again! I’m going to save this recipe for my Mommy – she will surely appreciate it 😉

  8. Posted October 24, 2013 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    Yum! I had good luck with a larger pumpkin last year and ended up getting about two gallons of puree from him after cooking the meat. But after this story, I will make sure to taste the puree first! 🙂

    • Laicie
      Posted October 25, 2013 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      That’s awesome!! I’ve heard that the big pumpkins aren’t all bad… you just have to be more careful. 🙂 I’m sure yours is tasty!

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