Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Pumpkin Spice Challah Bread

I wasn't joking when I said that I was obsessed with pumpkin spice everything in the fall. In the last week and a half I've used 3 cans of pumpkin purée. And it's only October.

On the drive home I had a craving for challah bread. Knowing I had some leftover pumpkin purée, I wondered if I could make pumpkin spice challah bread. I got home and immediately looked up a recipe, and set out to experiment with my first batch ever. 

Pumpkin Spice Challah Bread
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water (110 F if you have a thermometer handy)
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 eggs, one for dough, one for egg wash
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup pumpkin purée
1 tablespoon cinnamon 
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 teaspoons ground ginger
6 cups all purpose white flour 

Yields 2 loaves of challah bread

1. Place warm water in bowl of stand mixer. Sprinkle active dry yeast over top and set to the side.  In a small measuring cup, measure out honey and add pumpkin, oil, one egg, salt, and spices. Combine well. 

2. Add contents of mixing cup to water/yeast mixture and attach to a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Turn speed to stir and slowly begin adding the flour. Add a single cup at a time waiting until most of the flour has been incorporated before adding the next cup. 

3. Once all the flour has been added, mix for an additional 8 minutes or until the dough clumps around the hook. The dough should no longer be sticky to the touch and should spring back after it's touching it. (If the dough is too sticky, gradually add small amount of flour until the right consistency is reached, 1/4 cup at a time). 

4. Remove dough from mixer bowl, shape into a ball, and place in a glass bowl to rise. Cover bowl with a damp cloth and find a warm spot in your kitchen to let the dough rise for 1.5 hours or until doubled in size. 

Here the dough has almost risen enough, only a little bit more to go
5. After the dough has doubled in size, divide in half and knead for 5 minutes on a floured surface. Divide the dough half into thirds and using a rolling/stretching motion, roll out into logs approximately 1.5 inches in diameter. Firmly pinch ends of logs together. Braid the three strands of dough, firmly pinching the end of the braid to secure. Repeat for the second half of dough.

6. Place each half on a greased baking tray and cover with the damp cloth. Allow the braided dough to rest for another hour.

While the dough was resting I munched on, you guessed it, pumpkin seed brittle! I bought it at Trader Joes and it's a nice blend of pumpkin pie spices and pumpkin seeds.

 7. During the last 10 minutes of the dough resting, preheat oven to 375 F. Beat 1 egg with one tablespoon of water to make egg wash. Liberally brush each loaf with wash. Bake loaves for 40 minutes until golden brown and bottoms sound hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour before slicing. 

Super tasty with spread with a little of Trader Joe's pumpkin butter. Awesome and well worth the wait!

Hope you enjoyed!

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