Happy October! As a card-carrying (not really) Holiday Purist, pumpkin doesn’t make an appearance at my house until October 1st. Let the pumpkin spicing commence!! To start: Pumpkin Challah!
This Pumpkin Challah is chewy, soft, and delicious, just like you’d expect from a good challah. The unexpected is the addition of pumpkin, which gives it a natural sweetness and a BEAUTIFUL color! *heart eyes for daaaaaays*
This recipe makes one BIG loaf. I made one large six-strand braided loaf. You could easily separate these into two, smaller three-strand braided loaves (just reduce the bake time!). I had only made bread with a six-strand braid once before (ever!), and needed some help from the interwebs. I found this video from Painless Cooking to be very helpful: link [here].
The bread was way too large to braid on the baking sheet, which I prefer so that you don’t have to transfer the braided loaf. That said, I had no issue moving it to the pan after braiding. I use a slipat to lining my baking sheets with parchment paper, since they help reduce the amount of browning on the bottom of the bread, and I can reuse them. If you’re interested in getting one or two for yourself, you can find them [here].
This dough is lovely to work with, and gets a deep brown color when it bakes thanks to the egg wash. (If the loaf is getting too brown, you can tent it with foil during baking.) Challah takes time, but the end result is just out of this world. I made this loaf into French toast for the fam, who gave joyous thumbs up as they stuffed their faces. 😉
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Recipe adapted from The Bojon Gourmet (link here).
- 1 Tbsp rapid rise yeast (or 5 tsp active dry yeast)
- ½ cup water, lukewarm
- 1 cup pureed pumpkin
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- ½ cup sugar
- 1½ tsp salt
- 5 cups flour (All-purpose or bread flour. I used bread flour.)
- 1 egg, beaten
- In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, sprinkle yeast over water. Allow so set for 10 minutes.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine pumpkin, eggs, butter, sugar, and salt. Whisk to combine. Add yeast mixture and stir to incorporate.
- Using the dough hook, add the flour one cup at a time, allowing the flour to mostly incorporate before adding the next cup. The dough will be shaggy at this stage.
- Knead the dough with the mixer on medium-low speed for about five minutes. Dough will be smooth and elastic.
- Place the dough in a large, oiled bowl, turning the dough to coat the top in oil. Cover and let rise until doubled, about two hours.
- After the first rise, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surfacte. Divide the dough into six equal portions (mine were about 9 oz. each). Form each portion into a ball by tucking the ends under, cover the dough balls, and let them rest for about 10 minutes.
- After the dough has rested, form each dough ball into a 14" rope. Line the ropes up next to each other on the work surface, pinching them together at the top. Braid the strands and tuck the ends under (see note with info on a 6-strand braid).
- Place the braid on a baking sheet lined with a silpat (see note) or parchment. Cover the braid and allow to rise for 30 minutes.
- While the dough rises, preheat oven to 400° F. Once the second rise is complete, brush the loaf with the beaten egg. Wait five minutes, then brush on a second coating of the egg wash.
- Bake the loaf for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 325° F and bake for another 35-40 minutes, turning the baking sheet halfway through to ensure even browning. If the top of the bread is getting too brown, you can tent it with a piece of foil. The bread should be a deep brown color, and sound hollow when you tap it.Enjoy!