Columnist uses her bread machine to test out three delicious bread reicpes: Pumpkin Yeast Bread, Buttermilk Wheat Bread and Bread Machine Pizza Dough.

During a recent stay at the river where I have lots and lots of counter space in my wonderful kitchen, I committed to testing recipes using my bread machine each day. The first recipe that I tried, Pumpkin Yeast Bread, I discovered on the website I experimented with the first test and made 12 pumpkin buns. In hindsight I’d have been better off using a muffin pan. The dough was soft so it spread out on the baking sheet and the buns, although they tasted wonderful, were kind of flat — not what you’d want to serve to company. However the flavor and “crumb” were so outstanding that I turned around the next day and used the bread machine to both knead and bake the bread and it was wonderful.

I happened to have buttermilk on hand that was leftover from another recipe that I had tested and on I found this wonderful recipe for Buttermilk Wheat Bread. I suspect that you could use sour cream instead of the buttermilk but I haven’t tried it that way. I keep a supply of whole wheat flour in a sealed zip-lock bag in my freezer since I don’t use it very often but when a recipe calls for whole wheat flour, I have it readily at hand. You will not get favorable results if you substitute all-purpose flour for wheat flour so I don’t recommend trying it or vice-versa. Just use the type of flour that the recipe calls for and you won’t be disappointed.

As you know, Spicer is always willing to try a new recipe and he actually got excited when I suggested that we try homemade pizza. He was even more excited when the results turned out to be exceptionally good. I don’t think we’ll ever order in pizza again. This was so easy to make and you can customize it to suit your family. Unfortunately I didn’t have any anchovies on hand when I made this. Spicer loves anchovies on pizza but I don’t even like to say the word. Next time I promised him he could customize his portion of the pizza.

I mentioned in a previous column that on the rare occasion that I have a reason to use pepperoni slices I used Bridgford turkey pepperoni. There is so much less grease and salt that I highly recommend that you consider this.


Pumpkin Yeast Bread

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm water

1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree*

1/4 cup butter, room temperature

1/4 cup instant nonfat dry milk powder

1/4 cup brown sugar or 1/4 cup molasses**

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 3/4 cups bread flour

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet)

* If using pumpkin puree that you have cooked yourself, be sure to drain it well before measuring.

** Recipe was tested using molasses.


Place ingredients in bread machine pan in the order suggested by the manufacturer. Select basic setting for a 1 1/2 pound loaf. I made a wonderful sandwich by spreading the bun with soft cream cheese topped with ginger preserves. Yum!


Buttermilk Wheat Bread

1 2/3 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons active dry yeast


Place all ingredients into a bread machine pan in the order suggested by the manufacturer. Select the basic setting for a 2-pound loaf. If the ingredients do not form into a ball after a few minutes, add a splash more buttermilk if it seems too dry.


Bread Machine Pizza Dough

1 cup beer, set out to become flat*

2 tablespoons butter, room temperature

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 cups all-purpose or bread flour

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet)

* You could probably get away with using ginger ale that has become flat instead of the beer but I did test this using Yuengling.


Put beer, butter, sugar, salt, flour and yeast in a bread machine pan in the order suggested by the manufacturer. Select dough setting, 1-pound loaf size. Remove dough from bread machine when cycle is complete. Roll or press dough to cover a prepared pizza pan (I used a 12-by-15-inch rectangular pan lined with parchment paper). Brush lightly with olive oil. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

While dough rests, prepare Pizza Sauce recipe. Bake crust for 5 minutes before spreading on pizza sauce and toppings. Bake until crust is lightly brown and crispy on the outside — about 20 minutes.


Easy Pizza Sauce

1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon ground paprika

Cheese and toppings of your choice — see notes in directions


Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. This will make enough sauce for two pizzas. Place half of the sauce into a freezer-weight zip-lock plastic bag and place in freezer for later use. Top pizza as you choose with 2 cups of shredded cheeses (a combination of 1 1/3 cup mozzarella with 2/3 cup Monterey Jack will give you a nice flavor), pepperoni, etc. I used a well-drained 4-ounce can of sliced mushrooms and a 4-ounce well-drained can of black olives.