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Bake with me! A Beginner’s Guide to Baking Dairy-Free Pumpkin Bread

Around this time of year, a phenomenon happens that turns everything in the supermarket into pumpkin flavored forms that seem downright wrong but tastes so right. Yup, the pumpkin-flavored-everything obsession is about to hit us! In preparation for this contagious fad, I have put together a step-by-step guide to making dairy-free pumpkin bread. This recipe is easy to make even in a dorm kitchen and it is a wonderful complement to any autumn dish. Impress your friends, co-workers, and people who you secretly want to win over with this easy seasonal dessert! There is no butter, no milk, and LOTS of pumpkiny goodness packed into this dessert (but it can be eaten for any meal really…). So time to get your apron and oven mitt on and follow this guide adorned with Instagram pics that documented the steps!

Serving Size: 6


Dry Mix

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 ½ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup walnuts pieces (small chunks)

Wet Mix

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (can or blended after steaming)
  • ½ cup coconut oil

Step 1: Mixing the Dry Ingredients

I like to mix the dry and wet ingredients separately before combining them because it helps even out the consistency and texture. Starting with the dry ingredients, you should get a big bow. Measure out the ingredients as specified in the “Ingredients” section above.

Pour each of the ingredients into the big bowl and mix it with a big spoon or whisk. Be sure that the walnuts are evenly distributed.

Step 2: Mixing the Wet Ingredients


First crack the egg into a separate big bowl, then whisk it. You want to whisk the egg first to be sure that the yolk cracks and mixes evenly.

Then, add in one cup of the pumpkin puree. If you lack a gourd to work with, you can buy a can of it in your supermarket as I did. One cup of the puree is approximately half a can. Add that to your big bowl.

Finally, add in the coconut oil. I personally prefer coconut oil rather than butter substitutes because it is natural and it doesn’t have any weird aftertastes. Coconut oil solidifies if it is cold and liquefies if it is warm. If your coconut oil is solid, take a spoon and measure ½ cup of the coconut oil solid. Put it in a small microwavable bowl and pop it in the microwave for 1 minute. It should liquefy (see before and after pics below) and can then be added to the big bowl of wet mix. Do not add the solid coconut oil into the mix because when you bake it, there will be reservoirs of oil in the bread, which is not desirable and just gross.





Mix the wet ingredients with a Whisk, ensuring an even consistency.

Step 3: The Union of the Dry and the Wet


Finally! Time to make the good stuff! You will be adding the dry mix to the wet mix bowl. I like to gradually add the dry mix in and mix it in between. This method again ensures that the texture of the loaf is even. So add a little bit of the dry mix to the wet mix bowl and mix it in with a whisk. Keep doing this until you have added all of the dry to the wet.

When using the whisk, be sure to scrape the side and bottoms of the bowl. The technique I follow is dip and rise— you dip the whisk away from you into the batter and then rise from the batter on the side closest to you. Then repeat. You form a circle doing this. Just remember to not bend your wrist and to grab the whisk’s handle with your hand on top for maximal power.

Step 4: Oiling the Loaf Pan


You can use two loaf pans for this recipe, but I used one loaf pan. If you decide to do two loaf pans, the oven time will be less than what I used.

Take a small scoop of coconut oil (1/2 teaspoon) and liquefy it (you should be a pro at this!). Pour it into the loaf pan and swivel it all over the bottom and sides. This is to be sure that the loaf won’t stick to the sides at the end.

Step 5: Pouring the Batter into the Loaf Pan


Simple enough. Just be sure that the walnuts don’t all fall to the bottom and that the batter is evenly spread inside the pan!

Step 6: Oven Time!


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Put the loaf pan with the batter into the oven. The total oven time is 70 minutes, but it will be split up into 20 minutes and 50 minutes. After the 20 minute mark, you will take it out and sprinkle some walnut pieces to the top of the solid/liquid loaf. Then, put it back into the oven for 50 minutes. The walnuts on top isn’t necessary, but it will look so pretty at the end!

Step 7: Checking if it’s Finito (Finished)


A trick that my mother taught me to tell if things are done is to take a toothpick and poke it all the way down to the bottom. If the toothpick has wet batter still on it, you need to bake for longer. If there is nothing on it, you’re done! I didn’t have toothpicks, so I used an uncooked, dry linguini piece instead. Everyone’s ovens are unfortunately different so it is important to check even though you followed a recipe down to the tee. I would also poke it three times (left, center, right) just in case the oven is broken and doesn’t heat up properly.

Step 8: Cool Down then Eat Up!


After you have determined that it is done, let it cool down. Admire your work, smell the pumpkin aroma dancing with the subtle cinnamon scent, and finally you’re ready to nom down! Now wasn’t that easy?

This recipe could be done with an addition of chocolate chips or other ingredients, but I prefer plain and simple pumpkin bread so that the taste of pumpkin can be fully appreciated instead of being pushed aside by the other flavors. But that’s just me. Also, this recipe could be done any time of the year but would be really favorable in the fall, just like how pumpkin lattes are served at Starbucks all year round but are really ordered in the fall. But who am I to say “no” to a pumpkin pie on Fourth of July?

Don’t believe me that such an easy recipe could be delicious? I enlisted the help of (very willing) volunteers to taste test the pumpkin bread! This is what they had to say:

Kat: “Excellent bread! I really like the walnuts!”

Sara: “It had an excellent balance between sweet and savory!”

Emily: “It’s deliciously nutty!”

Well there you have it. So easy that you can just look at the gloriously filtered pics and follow along! Special thanks to Kat and Emily for taking Instagram pics as I baked!

-Courtney Chiu

Cover photo source.

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