This is a new seasonal staple. What an excellent way to celebrate the end of the week and the beginning of a new season. This pumpkin challah is truly delicious. It’s not too sweet, with just the perfect hint of pumpkin and cinnamon. It makes amazing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches; and I just can just imagine how delicious it would taste in a bread pudding or french toast.
Source: Adapted from Martha Stewart
1 1/2 packages active dry yeast
1 T. flour
1 tsp. sugar
1 cup warm water (110-115 degrees Fahrenheit)
3/4 cup egg yolks, (11 to 12 large eggs, this varies), plus 1 large egg yolk for glaze
1 T. salt
2 T. canola oil, plus more for bowl
1/4 cup honey
1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. allspice
8 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
1 cup raisins (optional, but highly recommended)
Preheat oven to 200. Important(!!): Turn oven off when it is done preheating.
1. Mix in tall glass: 3 T. flour, 2 tsp. sugar, both packages of yeast. Stir mixture slightly then add 1/2 cup lukewarm water (100-115. measure using liquid thermometer) Let this bubble and rise to brim of glass for about 10 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks with remaining 1/2 cup warm water.
3. In a medium bowl, combine salt, canola oil, honey, pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice. Add the pumpkin mixture to the larger bowl and combine. Add the yeast mixture, stirring until combined.
4. Slowly add flour, 1 cup at a time, until all the flour is incorporated into dough. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, and knead the dough by hand for 5 minutes.
5. In another bowl, coat lightly with oil. Place dough in bowl and turn over a couple times so the dough is lightly coated as well. Place damp towel over dough, confirm that oven is turned off. Place dough in oven and let rise for 1 hour until it has doubled in size. (NOTE: You do not have let the dough rise in a warm oven. My kitchen is just always a bit cold so the bread never rises enough.)
6. Remove bowl from oven, dip fist into flour, very gently punch 10-12 times to punch out air. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, knead again for another 5 minutes. Return dough to bowl and lightly coat with oil again. Cover with damp towel and let rise for another 30-40 minutes. Prepare egg wash by combining one egg and a splash of water.
7. Dip your first into flour and punch down again. Knead into a round. Gently divide into 2 loaves with sharp knife… do not saw. Preheat oven to 350. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper.
8. Add raisins to one loaf. Knead for a few minutes. Divide dough into three equal parts and braid. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and brush on egg wash. Repeat with second loaf without adding raisins. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown.