This pumpkin bread recipe is adapted from my friend Vivian Hasbrouk's ancient family recipe. The bread has a truly exceptional flavor and texture, and I can't really imagine ever making a different pumpkin bread.
Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the center. Grease three 1-pound loaf pans (8.5-by-4.25-by-2.75 inches) with olive oil or spray with cooking spray. If you don’t have three pans, you can bake the bread in batches.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs with a fork. Add the olive oil, water, sugar and pumpkin purée and whisk with a fork to combine thoroughly.
Sift some flour into a small bowl. Measure out 3 1/3 cups of sifted flour by spooning the flour into a measuring cup and leveling off the top with a knife. Then sift the measured flour again together with the salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and baking soda into the mixing bowl. Stir into the wet ingredients until just combined. Stir in nuts, if using.
Divide batter evenly among prepared pans, about three cups of batter (with nuts) per pan. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes before removing from pan to cool completely. The bread will keep at room temperature for more than a week if tightly wrapped in plastic. It also freezes beautifully.