Pumpkin Spice Challah

I made this recipe a few years ago.  I had learned this wonderful baking thing called Challah.  I tried a few different challah recipes, and OH YUM!!  And they’re pretty too, and it’s just fun to say that you’re making challah (with a phlegmy ‘ch’ sound that comes from the back of your throat in more of a raspy ‘kk’ sound).  So I had a can of pumpkin, I wanted to bake something special for a friend, therefore Pumpkin Spice Challah was in order.  I planned on just making 2 loaves, one for her and one for me, BUT I dumped the whole 15oz can of pumpkin in, which is approximately 2 cups of pumpkin, and therefore I had to double everything else and make 4 loaves.  That’s okay too, because we have a neighbor on the other side of the woods behind us that all my boys have met and liked, and I haven’t met yet, so now we’ll keep 2 loaves ourselves (1 1/2 currently at 8:44 am) and share 2 loaves!  I don’t remember where I found this recipe; I couldn’t find it on the internet (trust me, I looked, cuz there’s lots to type out, so I was going to either cut and paste or send you on another internet field trip.)
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Pumpkin Spice Challah

1 env. yeast
4-5 c white flour
2/3 c warm water
1/3 c sugar
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 1/2 Tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1/4 c olive oil + 1 Tbs for wash
2 lg eggs beaten + 1 eggyolk for wash
1 cup pumpkin puree (half a small can!!!)

Combine yeast with 2/3 cup flour and all the water.  Whisk gently until well combined and leave in a warm spot to proof.  It should be foamy in 10-15 minutes.  Pour into a mixer bowl, add sugar, salt, oil and egg and beat until incorporated (about 1 min).  Add pumpkin and spices and mix.  Add remaining flour 1 cup at a time until dough pulls away from the sides.   (At this point I dumped the dough onto a floured countertop, kneading it the rest of the way by hand.) Add 1/4 of flour at a time until dough is springy but not sticky.  Continue to knead 5-10 minutes longer.

Roll into a ball and place in a greased bowl.  Cover with plastic and let rise until doubled (1 – 1 1/2 hours).  Punch down dough, reroll , place back into re-greased bowl to rise for another hour (Oh yeah, did I remember to say this is kind of a lengthy process?)

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface.  Cut in half, and work with half at a time.  The original recipe said to divide each half into 6 pieces, and form those pieces into long ropes and braid (always working from left, bring outer “rope” over 2, under 1, and over 2).  I divide it into 5 pieces and just did (again working from left) over, under, over, under.  You could even do a simple 3-rope braid too, but it looks fancier with more ropes.  😀  Pinch to seal both ends and tuck the pinches under just a bit.

Place parchment paper on 2 regular or 1 large cookie sheet.  Place loaves on sheets, leaving room for them to rise both up and out.

Beat 1 egg yolk with 1 tbs oil and brush gently over braids.  Top with oiled plastic wrap and let rise 40 min. to double.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Once braids have risen, brush again with egg wash, then bake for 40-45 minutes.  You will not believe how delicious your house will smell when these are cooked!!  😀

This morning I sliced some up and made French toast for my SuperHero and oldest boy before they headed off to their respective schools.  2 younger homeschoolers and I have opted for eating buttered slices of this deliciousness!!

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