Old-Fashioned Squash (Yeast) Bread


Have you ever “hidden” vegetables in food to get your kids to eat healthier? I thought that hiding vegetables was a recent trend, but when I made a hundred-year-old recipe for Squash Bread, I discovered that cooks have been hiding vegetables for a long time.

The Squash Bread had a rustic artesian look, a nice texture, and a sunny yellow tinge – but I couldn’t taste the squash in it. It just tasted like the typical homemade bread.

The verdict: If you want to hide vegetables in bread this recipe is worth a try; otherwise, just stick with your usual bread recipe.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: Lowney's Cook Book (1912)
Source: Lowney’s Cook Book (1912)

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Squash Bread

  • Servings: 2 loaves
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

2 cups milk

2 packages dry yeast

5-6 cups flour

1 cup pureed winter squash (Butternut squash works well in this recipe.)

1 tablespoon shortening (or lard)

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons salt

Scald milk by heating in a sauce pan until the milk begins to steam and form bubbles; use medium heat and stir occasionally. Remove from heat before it comes to a boil. Let the scalded milk cool until it is lukewarm, then dissolve the yeast in the milk.

Put 2 cups flour, squash, shortening, butter, sugar,  salt, and the water and yeast mixture in a large mixing bowl. Beat until smooth. Add enough additional flour to make a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes).

Place in a greased bowl. Cover; let rise at room temperature until doubled in size (about 1 hour). Turn onto lightly floured surface and knead for an additional 5 minutes. Divide dough into two equal parts and shape into loaves. Place in 2 greased loaf pans, 9″ X 5″ X 3″, and cover. Let rise until doubled in size (about 30 minutes).

Bake loaves in 400° F. oven for 35 minutes or until lightly browned.

I always find old-time bread recipes particularly difficult to interpret because modern yeast is so different from what it was a hundred years ago. Back then it was not dried like the yeast that we generally use today. I guessed that 2 packages of dried yeast would be the equivalent of 1/2 cup (1/2 yeast cake) back then. This substitution worked just fine when I made this recipe.

41 thoughts on “Old-Fashioned Squash (Yeast) Bread

  1. I laughed at my reaction. I may very well have hidden vegetables from my children long ago, so I wanted to see what was being hidden in your recipe. Butternut squash???? My children adored it, and I was the reluctant one. I loved it, too, but I found it troublesome to prepare. Right now we are seeing lots of beautiful squashes in the market, and I’m trying to get up the courage to buy one. My hands and wrists are cringing at the tough cutting involved. I loved your ending — we could just stick with a regular bread recipe. I will.

    1. I agree-one of the most challenging parts of cooking with squash is cutting them Butternut squash aren’t usually too bad to cut – but hubbard squash and some of the other varieties are another story. 🙂

        1. I learned something new. I roast butternut squash, but have always cut them in half and removed the seeds before roasting. Until I read your comment, I never thought about roasting them whole. I’m definitely going to try this. It sounds so much easier than cutting the squash pre-roasting.

    1. Even in the U.S., I think that the terminology has changed over the years. I believe that within the context of this recipe, that “biscuit” refers to dinner rolls or muffins. We do still have a type of muffin/roll that is called a biscuit, but I think that it is generally a quick bread rather than a yeast bread.

  2. I’ve always wondered if vegetables hidden this way retain their health benefits or if we are just fooling ourselves that we’re doing something healthy?

    1. hmm. . . My guess is that the vitamin A and other nutrients wouldn’t be lost when the squash is used as an ingredient in the bread; though the concentration of the nutrients would be less than if the squash was eaten by itself.

  3. I have never heard of squash in bread! Sweet potato biscuits is a favorite around here. I can imagine that it keeps the bread moist longer than just a flour bread.

  4. Interesting! I thought of you yesterday and couldn’t remember if you ever posted about paper towels before. If you have, I must have blotted (sorry, couldn’t help it) the memory. What did people do in the kitchen for the chores we now use paper towels for (blotting grease, water from produce, etc.)?

    1. I’ve never done a post on paper towels. . . but hmm. . . maybe I should think about researching this and doing a post on it sometime. It’s an interesting question. Off the top of my head, I’d guess that a hundred-years-ago that they used old newspapers or rags for many of the things that we currently use paper towels for, but I’m really not sure.

  5. Once I tried to make a sweet bread with squash and the squash taste disappeared into the bread. I think the color of your bread is fun for Halloween.

    1. It’s good to know that your experience was similar to mine. Since squash has a fairly distinctive taste, I was really surprised that the squash taste disappeared when I made this recipe.

  6. I love pumpkin bread and biscuits, and of course butternut squash soup is the greatest. I’ve got a wonderful recipe for chocolate cake that includes a lot of shredded zuchinni, so why not?

    I thought about the question asked above, about nutritional value. Since water-soluble vitamins and minerals remain in soups, why not in breads? I’ve even read that, in the case of tomatoes, the canned tomato sauce and paste actually has more nutritional value: probably because it’s condensed.

    1. It makes sense that the vitamins and minerals could potentially become more concentrated from cooking since some of the water evaporates. As long as nutrient-rich liquids aren’t drained from the squash as part of the cooking and pureeing process, it does seem the vitamins and minerals would be retained when the squash is used in the bread recipe.

  7. I never heard of Squash Bread! Shhh don’t tell the kids what’s in it! You made me chuckle sweetie! Looks like good bread! It is so cool you make the old recipes work in our modern day of changes! Hugz Lisa and Bear

        1. I also was surprised that it was a yeast bread. I had some squash, and looked in the index of an old cookbook for squash recipes. I saw the recipe for Squash Bread and assumed it would be a sweet quick bread–but when I flipped to the page with the recipe I saw that it was a yeast bread.

    1. It was good – and perhaps the squash made it a little more moist than it otherwise would have been – but I honestly think that I prefer my usual bread recipe.

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