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Pumpkin Challah Bread

My son said this loaf was terrific. I made it for him and his buddies.


1 package active dry yeast (I prefer Red Star brand)

1/2 cup lukewarm water, divided (approximately 110º)

1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

2 tablespoons whisked egg (half of one large egg)

3 egg yolks

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 cup canned pumpkin

3 1/2-4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Egg wash:

1 egg yolk

1 1/2 teaspoons water


Pour ¼ cup of the lukewarm water (about 110 degrees) into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer. Add the yeast and 1½ teaspoons of sugar to the bowl, stir to dissolve. Wait 10 minutes. The yeast should bubble. Add the remaining ¼ cup lukewarm water to the bowl along with the rest of the sugar, egg, egg yolks, honey, oil and salt and whisk to combine. Mix in the brown sugar and pumpkin puree. Using the paddle attachment of your stand mixer, begin to add the flour slowly till the dough is smooth and elastic, not sticky. Mix on low for a couple minutes to knead the dough. You can also do this by hand by mixing in the flour with a wooden spoon, then kneading by hand.

Grease a mixing bowl, then add the ball of dough. Twist it around to grease the bottom of the dough, then flip the dough over and cover with a damp towel. Place in your unheated oven and add a pan of hot water to one of the shelves. Let the dough rise for 2 hours, punching down at the 1 hour mark.

Punch the dough down into the bowl a few times, then turn the dough out onto your floured work surface. Knead in some flour if the dough is sticky.

Divide the dough into thirds and roll each into a long snake. Braid as desired. I have attached a video on my blog on how to make a more complicated 6-strand blog.

Place the braided bread on a parchment lined baking sheet. Make the egg wash by whisking together the egg and water. Brush the loaf with the egg wash and let rest as you preheat the oven to 350º. Bake for 35-40 minutes total but turn the pan at the halfway mark. If the loaf is browning too quickly, tent with foil. Remove to cooling rack when bread is done (will sound hollow when you rap on the loaf). Serve when cool.


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