In America, we’re on the verge of Thanksgiving. In just two days, we will roll up our sleeves to stir and boil, grate and grease our way to a table filled with the faces of people we love (and love to irritate). While everyone has their own traditions, must-eat dishes, and turkey day activities, there are a few universal truths that should be closely followed to ensure the best possible holiday. I’ve arranged them in list form for your convenience.
The Universal Truths of Thanksgiving:
Thanksgiving is not the time to diet.
This is well-pondered, sound advice coming from your friendly neighborhood dietitian. Am I suggesting that you should require 12 sticks of butter in your creamed corn? No. Do I think it would be wise to drink straight from the gravy boat? Sweet mercy, absolutely not. If you are established in a diet regimen already, I encourage you to stick as close as possible to the path of righteousness, but if not, just know that Thanksgiving is not the time to start cutting carbs. Your cabbage soup cleanse can wait until Friday.
Don’t be that guy.
Don’t be the guy who tells the taboo story at the dinner table. And don’t be the jerk who makes Nana cry. And certainly don’t make off-color comments or bring up touchy family subjects. Just don’t be a Thanksgiving turd, okay?
Show up on time.
There is a time to be fashionably late. For example, if it’s your birthday, you are expected to show up to your surprise party late. If you’re a Kardashian, you are welcome to walk the red carpet as late as you darn well please. But let me say this- if I spend 12+ hours basting and sweating over a giant bird in the oven, you had better make sure your sorry behind is there to help carve it. I will not wait for you to start dinner, and no one will feel sorry for you when all that’s left to eat is the congealed salad.
How about we thank the crap out of this Thanksgiving? What if we opened our heart and poured sincere, intentional gratitude on everyone around the table? If saying thank you or expressing love is hard for you, consider Thanksgiving your invitation to be unabashedly and enthusiastically thankful about the good things in your life.
Two words: cornbread dressing.
Listen, I grew up in a Yankee household and have all the love in the world for the classic seasoned “stuffing.” But if 12 years in Alabama have taught me anything, it’s that cornbread dressing is the bomb.com, and if you’re not making it, you’re just plain sorry. My mother-in-law gave me a terrifically delicious recipe, and yes, I am starving just thinking about it.
Help the host.
I mean it. Text them right now and say, “What can I do to be helpful at the Thanksgiving meal?” Ask if you can pick up ice or bring a few extra bottles of wine. Offer to set the table or write out place cards. This post from Williams-Sonoma showcases a few other ways to be a great Thanksgiving dinner guest.
THAW. THE. TURKEY.
This will take longer than you think. If it’s not out of the freezer already, Godspeed, my friend.
Share a dessert!
Dessert is a great way to contribute a make-ahead dish to a Thanksgiving feast. Might I suggest a few of my favorites? How about chocolate chess pie, brown sugar cheesecake, caramel apple pie, or pumpkin cheesecake tartlets.
Bring a gift to share with your host.
Serving up a spectacle like Thanksgiving dinner requires a ton of time, money, and planning. Thank your generous host by bringing a happy parting gift that says, “YOU ROCK!” For a homerun gift, you should try…
PUMPKIN YEAST BREAD.
What better way to serve up leftover turkey and cranberry sauce than adorning it on a piece of fluffy, slightly sweet, and seasoned pumpkin yeast bread. This is the gift to beat. YA WELCOME.
This pumpkin yeast bread is the perfect thing for the season. Honey, all-purpose flour and pumpkin puree are combined with a few other ingredients to make the fluffiest autumnal bread that your Thanksgiving leftovers have ever seen. Sturdy enough for thick slices of turkey, but soft enough for a spread of cinnamon butter, this pumpkin yeast bread is a diverse treat that practically begs to be made this time of year.
Making the Bread
To make the pumpkin yeast bread, we start in the bowl of a stand mixer. First, dissolve some active dry yeast in some warm water. Next, add a bit of milk, oil, and honey, stirring to combine. Finally add the pumpkin puree. A single cup gets stirred into the wet ingredients and is followed up by all-purpose flour and the remaining dry ingredients. Knead the dough in your stand mixer (or by hand if you’re skilled like that!) and then allow it to rise in a warm spot in the kitchen.
Shaping the Loaves
Once doubled in size, divide the dough in two and form into loaves. Check out this video on shaping loaves if you’re unfamiliar. Allow the dough to rise again, this time until the loaves dome just an inch over the top of your bread pan. Brush each loaf with an egg wash and sprinkle with tiny pepitas for some added pumpkin flair.
These loaves bake up tall, fluffy, and outrageously delicious. Pumpkin yeast bread, while a far cry from your run-of-the-mill sandwich bread, is the delightfully familiar and cozy baked good you’ll want to share with your friends and family all season long. Give this recipe a try and have a terrific Thanksgiving holiday. I’m incredibly grateful for these pumpkin yeast bread loaves and YOU.
If you like this pumpkin yeast bread, be sure to check out:Print
Pumpkin Yeast Bread
This recipe makes two loaves of fluffy, lightly sweetened and seasons pumpkin yeast bread, perfect for making sandwiches or cinnamon toast!
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 30
- Total Time: 165
- Yield: 2
- ½ cup (120 mL) warm (not hot) water
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- ¾ cup (180 mL) milk, room temperature (I use whole)
- ¼ cup (60 mL) honey
- 2 tablespoons oil (I use canola)
- 1 cup (225 gm) pumpkin puree
- 4–1/2-5 cups (595–650 gm) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2–1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup raw pepitas
- Pour the warm water into the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast over top of it. Allow the yeast to dissolve, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the milk, honey, and oil. Add the pumpkin puree and stir to combine. Add two cups of flour, the salt, and the pumpkin pie spice to the wet ingredients and stir until well integrated. Add an additional 2-1/2 cups of flour and, using the dough hook, knead the bread on medium speed for about 5 minutes or until the bread starts to become stretchy. Add additional flour to the bowl during the kneading process to get the dough the right texture. You are looking for a wet dough that pulls away slightly from the sides of the bowl.
- Grease a large bowl and place the dough in it, covered with a piece of plastic wrap, to rise until doubled in size, about 1-1/2 hours. If the dough seems to have a hard time rising, move the bowl to a slightly warmer area of the kitchen. I like to let mine rise next to a warm oven.
- Once doubled in size, dump the dough out onto a floured surface and divide into two equal pieces. Gently pat each piece of dough into a loaf-pan shaped rectangle and fold the two long edges to meet in the center of the dough. Rotate the dough 90 degrees and repeat. Fold the dough once more and gently form it into a loaf-shaped log. Place the dough into a greased loaf pan (8.5″ X 4.5″ X 2.75″) and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Allow each loaf to rise a second time for about 45 minutes until the dough has domed an inch above the top of the pan.
- In a small bowl, whisk the egg with 1 teaspoon of water. Brush a thin layer of this egg wash over top of each loaf and sprinkle with the pepitas. Place dough pans in the oven and immediately decrease the heat to 375 degrees. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the top of each loaf is golden brown and sounds a bit hollow when tapped. Cool in the pan on a cooling rack for ten minutes and then remove each loaf from the pan to continue cooling on their own. Once cooled completely, wrap in a bread bag or a large sheet of aluminum foil to keep fresh! Loaves can be frozen after baking if desired.
- Beware of using a small pan. This recipe requires a large enough pan to accommodate the dough.
- If your bread is not rising well, place loaves in a slightly warmer spot in your kitchen. I let my bread rise next to a warm oven.
- Allow bread to cool completely prior to slicing.
- Bread will keep on the counter for several days but will keep best in the refrigerator for up to 6-7 days. There’s no preservatives in this stuff so it won’t last as long as your supermarket bread- eat fast!
- Wrapped securely in aluminum foil, bread will keep in a freezer for up to four months.