Butternut squash is something that I fall in love with instantly the moment I gave it a try. Once cooked, butternut squash resembles pumpkin or kabocha, both are something I am more familiar with, and I am pretty certain most recipes that use butternut squash can most likely be successfully substituted with either pumpkin or kabocha. That said, lets talk about this brown butter butternut bread.
This recipe is from food52 with many commenters giving it rave reviews so I got super intrigued and compelled to give it a try. I must say this is so easy to make and so delicious I ended up making two batches on two successive days! The only difference with the original recipe is I use all purpose flour instead of bread flour and both times the bread came out perfect and oh so gloriously rustic. It is super delicious as is, but do make the honey brown butter spread since this makes the super delicious bread even more so.
For those who has never browned butter before, my only tips is to watch it really closely when it starts to foam since it should turn light brown pretty fast. If you are not careful, you can end up with burnt butter instead of browned butter. If your butter is slightly (not a lot!) burnt, which can happened, it can still be salvaged by straining the butter with a super fine sieve to remove the burnt bits. The rest of the steps should be pretty simple.
Since I am making this in winter, my kitchen temperature is too low to proof the dough quick enough. I cheat by placing the dough in my oven (at middle rack) along with a small pot of boiling water (at bottom rack) and close the oven door, this way the dough doubles in volume in one hour even during winter. If you want to attempt this recipe and your kitchen temperature is too low, you can give this trick a try 😉
I like my bread to look shiny since it reminds me of bread sold in Chinese or other Asian bakeries. To do this, I brush the top of the bread with some honey butter spread as soon as it comes out from the oven. This treatment gives the bread some shine and looks even more browned than it actually is, I think this makes the bread looks super appetizing. But if this is not your preference, you can skip this step. Whether you brush your bread with the honey butter or not, be sure to serve the bread hot with the spread. This bread is so great as breakfast or as snack.
- 16 tablespoon (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 3 cups all purpose flour (or bread flour)
- 2¼ teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup milk
- 1 egg
- ½ cup butternut squash, cooked and pureed
- 2 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Place 2 sticks butter in a small sauce pot. Heat on medium until foamy and turns light brown.
- Transfer to a bowl and chill until solidified.
- Whisk together all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
- Place milk and 4 tablespoon of solidified brown butter in a small sauce pot. Heat on medium low just until the butter has melted. Take it off from the heat. Add egg and whisk until well combined. Add butternut squash puree and whisk until well combined.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and knead until the dough is smooth and non-sticky. You may need to add 1-2 tablespoon of flour if the dough is too sticky. Kneading time is about 10 minutes.
- Place the dough in an oiled mixing bowl, cover the bowl with a saran wrap, and let it proof until the volume has doubled. About 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, line a 9" round pan with a parchment paper. Set aside.
- Punch down the dough to deflate and let out air bubble. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for 2 minutes. Divide the dough into 20 portions.
- Melt 4 tablespoon of solidified brown butter and stir in 1 tablespoon of honey.
- Dip each portion of dough with honey butter solution, then place it in the prepared pan. Repeat for the rest of the dough portions. Let it proof again for 1 hour.
- Now make the honey brown butter spread. Combine the rest of solidified brown butter with the honey butter solution, 2 tablespoon of unsalted butter, and 1 tablespoon of honey. Heat just until all the butter has melted. Let this cool to a spreadable consistency.
- Preheat oven to 180 Celsius (350 Fahrenheit). Once the dough has finished proofing, bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Serve the bread hot with honey butter spread. You can also brush the just-out-from-the-oven bread with a bit of the spread to give it shine.