Shaker Raised Squash Bread

The history of the Shaker movement lives on at Canterbury



I was leafing thorough an old cookbook and found between the pages a handwritten recipe from the Shakers at Canterbury Village. It had been given to me years ago on a visit to the village, long before the Shaker Table (now only used as a teaching facility) became their eponymous commercial restaurant. I had spied beautiful golden loafs of bread being shuttled across the lane and, after inquiry, Chef James Haller gave me the recipe. He and Chef Jeffrey Paige both worked in the kitchen at the Creamery restaurant and summed up their time at the village with “Cooking in the Shaker Spirit.” It is loaded with many other recipes rich in cream, butter and flour, the hallmarks of farm-fresh cooking. Find a version of this bread at The Café, located in the horse barn at the village (open seasonally).

Photo by Susan Laughlin

Shaker Raised Squash Bread

6 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons  
instant yeast
1 stick butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 can pumpkin (16-ounce can) or 2 cups of freshly roasted pumpkin or buttercup or butternut squash
3 eggs
2 teaspoons salt

Directions

In a saucepan, heat the sugar, butter, salt and milk until the butter is just melted. Add the pumpkin and eggs and pour into a stand mixer bowl, mixing if necessary to get the mixture smooth.

Slowly add 5 cups flour mixed with the yeast to the mix in a stand mixer and mix until stiff. (Can also be mixed by hand with a wooden spoon.)

Dump the dough onto a flat surface, and knead for about 5 minutes until it is smooth and elastic, adding the last cup of flour and more flour as necessary.

Transfer dough to a warm area and allow to double in size, about 2 hours.

Punch the dough down and divide into two balls. Place in buttered bread pans or make small balls for rolls in a shallow pan — an 8-inch cake tin works well.

Proof again until dough has almost doubled in size.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes for bread or 30 minutes for rolls.

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