Have you seen or tried Lori's cranberry pumpkin bread sticks? If not, you're in for a treat. So easy to make, with barely any rising time at all. You can make them from start to finish in under an hour. How often can you say that about a recipe with yeast as an ingredient? And they freeze beautifully.
I didn't have any dried cranberries, so used some dried cherries I had left over. I'm not going to label these bread sticks a "quick bread", but honestly, some quick breads take longer to make than these gems.
Pumpkin-Cranberry Bread Sticks
Adapted from Lori at Recipe Girl
Yield: About 32 bread sticks
Note: I halved this recipe and got 10. I thought they were the perfect size.
3/4 cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees F)
1 package (.25-ounce) instant dry or active dry yeast
1 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon honey
4 cups bread flour (I used regular flour and they turned out beautifully; see * below)
1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries (I used dried cherries)
1 stick (1/2 cup) melted salted butter
* Re: bread flour vs all purpose: Bread flour has more protein content than all-purpose, which helps with gluten development. Some recipes call for it when an especially chewy and elastic crumb is desired.
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and let sit for 5 minutes to activate the yeast.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water/yeast, pumpkin and honey. Mix to combine. Insert the dough hook and gradually add in 3 cups of the flour (scrape sides, as needed). Add the cranberries. Sprinkle in the remaining 1 cup of flour, and let the dough hook do the kneading for 4 to 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and shiny. Remove the dough from the bowl onto a lightly floured board. (Barbara's note: knead a few minutes by hand, something I always like to do; there's just something about getting your hands in the dough to get a feel for the elasticity, don't you agree?)
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Break off small pieces of the dough (I used golf ball size; Lori got more bread sticks, so you could use less dough for more bread sticks.) and roll into thin bread stick "logs" - 6 to 8-inches long. Place them on the baking sheet. You should end up with about 32 bread sticks. Cover the baking sheets with a clean dishtowel and place them in a warm place to rise. Let rise for 30 to 60 minutes, until the bread sticks have puffed up a little bit. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. After rising, brush each bread stick with butter and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool slightly, then serve. Or wrap in foil to store in the freezer- to be served later. Let thaw at room temperature, then bake at 300 degrees F. for 5 minutes to warm up.