A sweet, velvety egg bread with pumpkin overtones? What could be nicer? Add dried or fresh cranberries (or raisins) if you like. the chopped pumpkin seed garnish is also optional (photo doesn't shot it). This is a beautiful, mildly sweet challah that's perfect for Succot or Thanksgiving or breaking the fast.
1 ½ cups warm water
2 tablespoons instant yeast
1 cup pumpkin puree
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup oil
2 teaspoons pumpkin spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 ½ teaspoons salt
6-8 cups bread flour
Egg wash, finely minced pumpkin seeds for top (instead of sesame seeds)
In a large mixing bowl, briskly whisk together the water and yeast. Then, briskly stir in the eggs, pumpkin puree, sugar, oil,, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, and salt.
Add most of the flour to form a smooth but resilient dough (a soft but elastic bread dough). Add additional flour and knead 8-10 minutes.
Shape dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl and place this in a plastic bag and seal loosely. Let rise until doubled, about 45 to 60 minutes.
On a floured board, gently deflate the dough. Divide into three strands or ropes and braid together as for a three braided challah. Stack two baking sheets together and line the top one with parchment paper. Place the bread on this and brush with egg wash. Cover with a large plastic bag and let rise until almost doubled in size, 45-90 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 F
Brush again with egg wash and generously sprinkle on chopped pumpkin seeds.
Bake until bread is browned and seems done (hard to tell because the dough is dark in color), about 40-55 minutes. Cool at least 20 minutes before serving.
Makes one large (or two medium) breads
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