What could be more fall than Pumpkin bread?? This Pumpkin Challah topped with pumpkin seeds is where it’s at!
So I have been on a little challah kick lately. I mean who doesn’t want to fill your house with the sweet sweet smell of freshly baked bread on a Shabbat eve? And I’m on a bit of a pumpkin kick too. Is it sweet? Is it savory? Crazy pills! So is it any wonder I combined the two? This week I have been pretty busy
attending happy hours toying with recipes for Thanksgiving (my Brussels sprouts with pecans and cranberries in a brown butter sauce is going to be out of this world if I do say so myself!) But I managed to find time to watch a House Hunters marathon bake a pumpkin challah just for Jew! This may be my best challah yet. It isn’t too sweet (you could add more sugar or honey if you like) so perfect for your day after Thanksgiving epic turkey sandwich. Or it would make one heck of a French toast.
What are y’all making for Thanksgiving?
Of course the star is pumpkin!! You could definitely roast a sugar pumpkin and puree your own pumpkin. One pumpkin yields about one can’s worth. But laziness triumphed and can it was. And yes that is a unicorn head pinata in the background. Thanks for asking.
Challah seems intimidating, but it really isn’t heard, I swear. It just takes time! And mostly hands off time. I use that time to peruse Etsy for ugly Hanukkah decor sweaters. Anyhoo.
After all your rising, it’s the fun part. The braiding! I usually go for a three strand braid but I decided to go for a six strander this time. I’m crazy like that! I used this video to learn how.
Just divide your dough into six pieces and roll each one into a strand. Time to braid!
Ta da! I think I went wrong somewhere in the braiding process but let’s just go with it. Watching the video again, I totally missed one of the twists. Oops!
Bake for 35 minutes or so until golden brown and your kitchen smells awesome.
- 1 package active dry yeast (about 2¼ teaspoons)
- ½ cup warm water (about 110 degrees F)
- ½ cup granulated sugar plus 1 teaspoon
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 1 egg + 1 egg yolk for the dough, whisked and 1 egg yolk for the glaze
- 4 cups white bread flour (you may need a little more or less)
- Pumpkin seeds, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, etc for garnish
- Let's start with the yeast! Place it in a large mixing bowl for a stand mixer and whisk with warm water and 1 teaspoon sugar (that helps activate the yeast). Let yeast stand until it foams and puffs up, about 10 minutes. If it doesn’t get foamy, your yeast is bad or the water wasn't the right temperature, so try again!
- Then, using the whisk attachment for the stand mixer, mix in the remaining sugar, pumpkin, oil, vanilla, 1 egg and 1 egg yolk into the yeast mixture. Then add spices and combine and gradually add 3 cups flour and salt and either with a hook attachment using an electric mixer on medium speed or a spoon and your hands until combined. Knead for about 5-10 minutes, adding flour as necessary. Dough should be sticky, and finish kneading by hand on a counter until dough is smooth. Dough will get less sticky as you knead. Dough should be soft, smooth and slightly tacky.
- Place the dough in a bowl greased with oil and cover. Let dough ferment in a warm place until it has at least doubled in size, about 2-3 hours. I put mine on top of a oven heated to the lowest temperature.
- Now, time to braid! Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and punch down. To make 2 challot, divide the dough in half, and keep one half covered. Divide each half into three equal pieces, and stretch out into three strands.
- Secure the three strands at one end and braid until you reach the other end, then tuck the other pieces underneath the challah to secure. Repeat with other half.
- Carefully place the loaves on two parchment lined baking sheets, cover lightly with plastic wrap, ferment another 45 minutes or so until it's light and fuffy looking (exact proofing timing for challah will depend on environmental conditions.)
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Brush last egg yolk generously over challah. Repeat to have two coats an sprinkle with seeds. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown and with an internal temperature of 190 degrees F, rotating pans halfway through. (Flip around and switch rack position.) If the challot start to brown too fast, cover with foil until done.