Fall is finally here, and it is time for cozy, comfortable food, and this butternut bread completely fits the bill. It’s packed with the deep savoriness of winter squash and redolent with spices and hint of nutty cheese. Plus, it has such a lovely autumnal color from the squash and the turmeric. Nothing would suit a big bowl of steaming soup better than a slice of this. I am dreaming of this with Cauliflower, Hazelnut and Browned Butter Soup or as a perfect foil to simple Creamy Roasted Onion Soup. I even stacked a few slices of turkey breast on a leftover slice for lunch the next day. BUt warm with melting butter oozing over it is a perfect bite. For a special treat, mix some honey with the butter.
Indian-inspired recipes sometimes refer to warming spices, a concept from Ayurveda which is way beyond my knowledge. But I like the idea of these spices that warm your soul from the inside out. Layered over the butternut squash base, this loaf is absolutely packed with flavor. If I have squash from the farmers market, I roast the whole thing on a baking sheet until its squeezably soft, then cut in half and remove the seeds and scoop out the flesh when it’s cool enough to handle. Otherwise I buy cubed butternut from the produce section and roast it very lightly coated in olive oil spray until soft and mash it in a food processor. And you know I love buttermilk in baking for its tang and tenderness, but you could use whole milk.
Warming Spiced Savory Butternut Squash Bread
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon sweet paprika
½ teaspoon black pepper
3 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, divided
¾ cup buttermilk
4 Tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 cup mashed butternut squash (see note)
Flaky sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a standard loaf pan with baking spray.
- Put the flour, baking powder, salt and spices in a large bowl and stir with a fork to combine. Add 2 Tablespoons of the parmesan cheese and stir to combine. In a smaller bowl, beat together the buttermilk and eggs, then stir in the melted butter and mashed squash until smooth and combined. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, pour in the wet and gently fold together with a spatula until just combined with no visible streaks of dry ingredients in the bowl. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle over the remaining 1 Tablespoon of parmesan and a generous sprinkling of flaky salt and press lightly to adhere.
- Bake the bread for 45- 55 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Leave on the pan to cool for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Serve the bread while still warm, or wrap it tightly and store on the counter for 1 day.
- For the mashed butternut squash: Place one large, whole butternut squash on a piece of foil or sheet pan, to catch any drips, in the oven. Roast at 400 degrees for about 2 hours until soft when you squeeze it (wearing oven mitts obviously). Remove from the oven and split open carefully. Holding the squash with a tea towel, scoop out the seeds and fiber strings and discard. Scoop the flesh into a bowl. It will come away from the skin easily. Mash with a fork or potato masher. Alternatively, very lightly coat 16 ounces of cubed, peeled butternut squash with olive oil and spread on a baking sheet. Roast at 350 degrees just until soft, but not browning, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and process until smooth.