I love pumpkin in anything except pumpkin pie. Go figure. The other day I was wondering just what other pumpkin thing I could make that, previously, had not been considered, well, pumpkin-y. As I love challah bread and make it frequently, I wondered if it would translate into as wonderful a pumpkin loaf as it is a plain one. A little bit of experimentation yielded amazing results. This is one fragrant, delicious loaf, and I made it in the bread machine. With just a hint of sweetness, it works equally well for dinner as it does breakfast, it freezes beautifully, and makes one amazing piece of cinnamon toast!
Pumpkin Challah Bread
Adapted from 100 Bread Machine Recipes by Vicki Smallwood
1 pinch saffron threads
1 tablespoon water, boiling
1 extra large egg, beaten
3 tablespoons honey
2/3 cup hot water (100°F-105°F)
5 tablespoons butter, melted
½ cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon salt
3 3/4 cups white bread flour
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
¼ cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 egg, beaten for brushing over
· In a small bowl, soak the saffron threads in the 1 tablespoon of boiling water for 10 minutes.
· In the meantime, place the beaten egg, honey, hot water, melted butter, and pumpkin purée in a bowl. Mix well. Add the saffron threads with the soaking water, stir and pour the mixture into the baking pan of your bread machine.
· Mix the salt into the flour and add to the baking pan and spoon the yeast on top. Set the program to 'DOUGH.'.
· When the dough is ready (mine takes 90 minutes), transfer it to a lightly floured surface and knead it for 2-3 minutes. (The dough will feel quite soft and silky.).
· Shape the dough into 3 equal-sized pieces, then roll each piece into a sausage shape measuring approximately 12 inches in length. Pinch the top end of each length of dough together, then weave the pieces into a braid/plait.
· Pinch the bottom ends together, then tuck both ends under the dough to form a neatly braided loaf.
· Place the dough on a greased baking sheet, brush with oil, cover with plastic wrap/cling film and leave it to rise/prove in a warm place.
· Preheat the oven425°F.When the dough has nearly doubled in size, remove the plastic wrap and lightly brush the top of the loaf with the beaten egg. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer the loaf to a wire rack and leave it to cool before serving.
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