There are certain recipes in my baking rotation that take me straight to a particular season, maybe even evoke a desired mood or feeling state. Pumpkin bread is just that sort of thing. It is the essence of fall, of comfort, of feeling cared for and loved. Maybe it's the combination of warm spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves) we associate with autumn or the delightful aroma that wafts through the kitchen while the bread is in the oven. Or maybe it's the way pumpkin puree magically creates the moistest quick bread imaginable. To me, this Simple Pumpkin Rye Bread with Cinnamon Sugar Topping is the gateway to that cozy autumn feeling we all long for come September.
This rye variation of pumpkin bread is adapted from Smitten Kitchen's Pumpkin Bread recipe because it is HANDS DOWN the best I've made. This is a tall, impressive loaf that rivals the sort of thing you might find at your local coffee shop. The rye flour adds a welcome but subtle earthiness to the loaf along with bringing those Nordic vibes (rye is the quintessential grain of the Scandinavian region). I've made a few other small changes, but quite honestly the original recipe was an outstanding place to begin.
This is such an easy recipe, and as long as you have a can of pumpkin puree in the pantry, you probably already have everything you need to make it. A few of the highlights:
- A mix of rye flour and all purpose flour. Rye flour brings earthy flavor and a soft texture, while all purpose flour brings structure in the form of a higher protein content. Rye flour is a pantry staple in my kitchen but perhaps you don't have rye flour in your kitchen? No problem. Simply substitute all-purpose or whole wheat flour for the rye.
- Canola oil instead of melted butter. Not only is canola oil a pantry staple, it makes an exceptionally moist and tender bread. In some cases, you might miss the buttery flavor but in a loaf like this with BIG pumpkin flavor, you won’t miss it.
- Course (turbinado) sugar mixed with cinnamon and sprinkled over the top. This creates a crisp, crackly, craggy crust that is just the right counterpoint to the soft interior.
Quick breads and muffins have their own mixing method known as (you guessed it...) the quick bread or muffin method. Basically, dry ingredients and wet ingredients are combined separately and then gently mixed together prior to baking. I've got just a couple of tips and tricks for ensuring that your Simple Pumpkin Rye Bread with Cinnamon Sugar Topping is the best it can be every time:
- Don't over mix the dry and wet ingredients at the end. This is probably the biggest pitfall of the quick bread method. Over mixing leads to a tough, dry final product and tunneling (large pockets of air or tunnels) in the crumb. A gentle hand with a rubber spatula is best. Simply combine the wet and dry ingredients until just a few streaks of flour remain.
- Be sure to check the doneness of the loaf with a skewer. This is a big, impressive loaf, and it takes awhile to bake. Poking a skewer into the center of the loaf is the only way to know for sure that it is done. The skewer should come out clean or with a few crumbs attached.
Want Muffins Instead?
Yes, muffins and quickbreads share a method and you can choose whichever version you like for this recipe! Everything remains the same with the exception of the baking time and a little extra turbinado sugar for the tops of the muffins. See the notes in the recipe below for details.
Please, before fall slips into winter, make this Simple Pumpkin Rye Bread with Cinnamon Sugar Topping. It would be a perfect little extra to have around over the Thanksgiving weekend when everyone is wondering what's for breakfast and you are elbow-deep in dinner preparations or are too tired to care. And if you give it a try, please let me know! I always love hearing from you.
Pumpkin Rye Bread with Cinnamon Sugar Topping
For the Bread:
- 1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup rye flour
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 15- ounce can pumpkin puree
- ½ cup canola or vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ⅔ cup light brown sugar packed
For the Cinnamon Sugar Topping:
- 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a standard 9x5 inch loaf pan with butter or coat with nonstick spray. Combine all purpose flour, rye flour, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and baking soda together in a medium bowl. Whisk to combine.
- In a large bowl, combine pumpkin puree, vegetable oil, eggs, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Whisk until mixture is smooth and fully combined.
- Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix gently with a rubber spatula until the batter just comes together. Transfer batter to the prepared loaf pan.
- Make the CInnamon Sugar Topping: Combine the turbinado sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the top of the loaf. Bake until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean or with a few crumbs attached, about 65-75 minutes. When cool enough to handle, tip the loaf out onto to a wire rack to finish cooling. Slice and serve warm or at room temperature.
WILL whole wheat work in place of AP flour?
I haven't tried it but I don't know why it wouldn't work. Let me know if you give it a try!
I gave the whole wheat instead of white flour a try and it worked great. I added wheat gluten (not sure if that was needed.... I am new at cooking)... Also added some brandy. While visiting a monastery years ago the monks had a bottle or brandy or bourbon, (not sure which)
Someone gave them. They don't drink so they put it in the cellar and forgot about it. Years later they decided to put it in the bread for those on retreat with a warning that it contained alcholol. It was fantastic.
So glad the whole wheat flour worked out well. And brandy! That sounds amazing!
Give it a try. I used Christian Brothers. It was cheap but tasted good.
Made this today. Exactly as you wrote. It smells heavenly, and looks exactly like your photo. (Yay me!) I am saving it for Christmas morning. Can’t wait.
Yay! You are going to LOVE it. Best pumpkin bread ever! Thanks for the nice note!
Delicious. So good. Wonderful Christmas breakfast. A keeper. Thank you.
So glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for taking the time to leave me a note. Enjoy the rest of the holiday season!
Hi Kristi, I made this bread and my wife and I really enjoyed it! I had a couple of questions for the next time I make it.
I baked it for 70 minutes. It came out really moist and tender—almost too moist, as the slices sometimes break coming out of the toaster. I'm wondering what I could do to get it to hold together a bit more. Should I bake longer? Would the texture be different if I swapped some proportion of the oil for butter?
My other question: Is there a way to get a little more regularity to the cracks in the bread? It's more batter than dough, but should I be paying attention to smoothing it out in the pan? Or are the "surprise" cracks just part of the charm of quick breads?
Thanks for the recipe and your advice. And I'd love to see more rye and even spelt recipes!
Thanks for your comment! I'm glad you enjoyed the bread. It is definitely moist and tender, as you said. Some of that tenderness is because of the addition of the rye flour. Because it has so little gluten, it can give baked goods a tender, almost crumbly texture. It you want something more sturdy, you can always substitute more all purpose flour for some or all of the rye flour. I don't think that subbing butter for the oil would make too much of difference but you could certainly give it a try! As far as the cracks go, I don't think you could really direct them since it is more batter than dough. I have just learned to love this bread's craggy, rustic top!
Absolutely delicious! And the whole house smelled fabulous for the hour that this was baking. Printing and laminating this one. Yum!’
Thanks so much for your comment! I'm so glad you enjoyed the pumpkin bread. So perfect on a winter day!