In the fall, we’re all about the classic combination of allspice, cinnamon, clove, ginger, and nutmeg, affectionately known as “pumpkin spice.” We’ve served it up in pumpkin streusel muffins and in this
pumpkin skillet coffee cake, and our take on pumpkin bread continues this tradition: a tender loaf that isn’t cloying or heavy on the spices. To make this loaf even more exceptional, we finish it with a salted brown butter glaze. You don’t have to use it—the pumpkin bread is excellent all on its own—but we strongly recommend you do.
Since it is, after all, pumpkin bread, it requires pumpkin purée, which adds moisture along with a mild sweetness and vegetal flavor (this is true of our other, yeasted pumpkin bread, too). We tested the purée in two forms: canned (using the popular Libby’s brand) and homemade (in the form of puréed roasted butternut squash, because, more often than not, the canned stuff is butternut masquerading as pumpkin). Canned “pumpkin” produced a loaf with a toasty, earthy profile, while the freshly puréed butternut squash was more vibrantly colored, with a brighter, sweeter flavor. We liked both versions equally, so use whichever sounds better to you. Your pumpkin bread will be absolutely delicious either way.
We also add some malted milk powder, an ingredient Stella has famously called the “umami bomb of dessert,” to enhance the overall flavor. Its mix of wheat flour, malted barley extracts, milk, salt, and sodium bicarbonate supplies toffee notes, a savory bite, and extra lactose to improve browning.
Once baked and cooled, you can eat it as-is or finish it with the rich brown-butter glaze, which we make by whisking nutty brown butter with powdered sugar, milk, salt, vanilla, and a pinch of cinnamon. Slowly drizzled over the finished loaf, the glaze beautifully coats the top and drips down the sides for a fall-worthy treat.