Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread with Walnuts

The new road home, and pumpkin bread recipe.

Pulling Up Roots. Again.

It's been brewing for awhile now- our dissatisfaction with LA and the film business, the slow, dawning realization that living out here is simply not sustainable. Every penny I make goes for rent and bills. The financial pressure is suffocating. And I have no space to paint. Physical space, of course. But also psychic space. The energy of LA is so imposing, so invasive. Someone else's narrative is always intruding. Even if that narrative is only a car alarm. Or a leaf blower.

I can't hear my own voice here.

And so I haven't felt like an artist in a long, long time. I hoped Redondo Beach might be different. But I still didn't have the studio I needed. It was healing to live at the ocean for a year. But again, not sustainable.

My husband and I have been empty-nesters now for seven years or so. Pursuing Steve's mid-life dream of writing screenplays. We've been living like gypsies, in a series of small apartments. But it wasn't always this way. We used to both paint for a living. We used to be homeowners, with a house and a studio, a garden. A family. Steve taught painting for extra income, but we lived off our art. We sold work in galleries, and lived well as artists. I met Steve in a painting workshop. And two and a half years later, he asked me out for coffee.

Art and painting have always been our first bond.

Truth is, these last few years I have missed our "life as artists". I miss having a home, a garden, a private studio. And I told Steve, after visiting New England for our son's wedding last year- I miss New England. I miss the seasons- which connect me to a sense of belonging, connect me to the Earth. I miss New England people.

So we've been talking about this urge for goin' for over a year... the possibility of moving back to the Northeast. We've been waiting for something "big" to happen with one of Steve's scripts- but by now it's clear (he started this venture in earnest in 2006 when he won a screenplay contest that got him a manager; and three independent films are in the can) that it takes years for projects to come to light, that writers are the last to be paid, that writers are being paid less and less.

He's realizing that in the meantime, he needs to balance his long, solitary hours of writing with something more physical- like painting. Painting grounds you. Tethers you to living in the moment, here in the physical world. Perhaps because it is a tactile, kinesthetic action, perhaps because there is a tangible result, immediately, unlike writing screenplays. He feels his work will benefit from balancing the two disciplines.

And if we both want to paint- we need a big studio. And we've looked, out here. But California prices and rents are beyond our reach. Not to mention, the art market here in LA is not exactly clamoring for realistic impressionism, or painterly abstraction. We've visited galleries, strolled art walks, and scoped out work from Culver City to Melrose, from the Miracle Mile to Venice Beach. We both feel we'd be more suited to the East Coast (as we have been, in the past).

So when I discovered an artist link website (after our September Cape Cod visit) a Massachusetts non-profit organization that helps artists find studio space, and found this amazing carriage house art studio in the rural Connecticut town I once lived in...

Darling. It felt like synchronicity...

Our new work/live art studio- moving to Connecticut.
Why are we moving? This is why.

And an opportunity to pursue balance. And peace. And live a more authentic life (I don't have to tell you that LA is all about schmoozing, do I?).

I have always wanted to be an artist. As a little girl I drew on everything- and it got me into trouble in school. My frustrated grade school math teacher would send note after note home to my parents complaining that I didn't pay attention. All I did was draw in class. Doodling (his word) all over multipication tables.

After art school, when I was twenty-four and living back home with my parents on Cape Cod (I moved there to help them in their new venture, a gift/crafts shop), I cut out a magazine photo of a New York woman painter, an abstract expressionist in her barn studio. She was barefoot, in jeans, reaching high to brush some blue paint on the top of a six-foot canvas. It was my dream.

I kept that photo for twenty-five years.

The Connecticut barn that now beckons (once owned by a NY abstract expressionist who painted with Helen Frankenthaler) is a big, airy studio- with more space than we've ever enjoyed. There is the requisite neutral north light. Ample storage for (big) paintings. A deep, double art sink. A rustic loft for living (no frills- or real kitchen- but a wonderful claw foot bath tub). And the biggest miracle of all? It is a rent we can afford.

The kitchen? Well. Yeah. It's barely there. But there is an old electric stove. A small sink. And a fridge.

I predict adding to my Crock Pot recipes index.

We'll be there in three weeks.

In the meantime, I have a make-ahead Thanksgiving recipe for you. A huge pumpkin loaf. Bake it. Wrap it. Freeze it.

And Babycakes, it will feed a crowd.

Karina's awesome new gluten-free pumpkin bread recipe.
Karina's awesome new pumpkin bread recipe. Gluten-free.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread Recipe with Walnuts

Originally published November 2012 by Karina Allrich.

This recipe makes one big, generous loaf of pumpkin bread. Be sure and use a large loaf pan, preferably ceramic, like this one, for even baking. And if you don't care for walnuts, use pecans.


1 cup sorghum flour
1 cup potato starch (not potato flour)
1/2 cup hazelnut flour
1/2 cup corn flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/4 teaspoons xanthan gum
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup golden brown sugar
1/4 cup cane sugar
1/2 cup organic expeller pressed canola oil
3 organic free-range eggs, beaten
1 rounded cup canned pumpkin
1 tablespoon bourbon vanilla
3/4 cup chopped walnuts* see notes below for options


Preheat the oven to 375ºF.

Line a large loaf pan - preferably a 9-inch ceramic loaf pan- with a piece of parchment paper; the length of the parchment should be above both sides, with enough to grip (this makes it super easy to get the baked loaf out of the pan).

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, starches, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, xanthan gum, spices and sugars.

Add in the oil, egg, pumpkin and vanilla. Beat for two minutes till the batter is smooth and fluffy.

Fold in the walnuts by hand, using a big spoon or spatula.

Scoop the batter into the lined loaf pan. Smooth out the top. Add a few walnut halves for decoration, if desired.

Feel the pan. If the batter feels cold- allow it to rest for a few minutes and come up to room temperature- this will help with the rise.

Place the pan in the center of the oven and set the timer for 15 minutes.

At 15 minutes, lower the temperature to 350ºF. Bake for 45 to 55 more minutes, until the top is firm and set, and a cake tester inserted into the center emerges clean.

*This is a large loaf- so it takes a good hour, at least, to bake. Every oven is different, and if you are baking in hot weather, your loaf may cook through faster than mine did. As always- keep an eye on it. Test. And get to know your oven (does it run a tad warm- or cool?).

Cool on a wire rack. When the loaf has cooled, loosen the end edges with a thin knife; grip the parchment to gently lift the loaf onto a cutting board.

Remember- a warm loaf is a fragile loaf.

Slice with a serrated bread knife. We grilled our leftover slices in a dab of vegan butter.

I froze half the loaf to have on hand. It freezes beautifully. This would be lovely to make ahead for Thanksgiving.

Makes a large 9-inch loaf.

Recipe Source:

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Gluten-free pumpkin bread studded with walnuts.

GFG Notes:

This is a gluten-free dairy-free recipe.

Here is the ceramic loaf pan I use, at

I prefer sorghum flour for its soft texture. If you must substitute, perhaps millet flour or certified gluten-free oat flour would be a good choice- if your family eats gluten-free oats (not every celiac can handle oats). I am shying away from brown rice flour for several reasons- including the latest info on arsenic levels in brown rice. If you choose to sub with brown rice flour, the result may be a tad crumbly.

For those not using hazelnut flour, try almond flour or chestnut flour.

I imagine this might work without eggs, but using a replacer may produce a tougher, or denser loaf- and need a different baking time. See my vegan tea bread recipes for guidance.

Option: Cut walnuts to one half cup (or omit). Add in one half cup of dried cherries or cranberries for extra holiday flair.

For more substitution help, please see my guide to baking with substitutions here.

xox Karina