by Allaya Fleischer, I Speak Food
With a splash of pumpkin and kisses of spice, this challah not only smells magnificent while baking, it makes for quite an impressive presentation, especially when braided like a pumpkin. Since Thanksgiving is not a Yom Tov and does not require two challot, you can try making one large loaf out of the dough (adjust baking time accordingly if you do this). You could also knot them into rolls.
4 – 5 cups bread flour
1 packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/2 cup packed canned pumpkin purée
1/2 cup warm water
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons oil (I like sunflower oil for this)
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spices (or, use 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom, 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice, 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Chopped raw pepitas, pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds for garnish (optional)
In a measuring cup, measure out 1/2 cup of warm water, add a pinch of sugar, and sprinkle yeast on top. Mix well and proof yeast for about 5 minutes, or until a thick head forms on top. Combine 4 cups of flour and remaining dry ingredients into a mixer bowl. Combine egg, yeast and pumpkin, and then add it to the dry ingredients. Mix with paddle attachment until ingredients are well combined. Switch to dough hook and knead bread, adding additional flour as necessary, until dough is smooth and shiny and comes away from the bowl. This dough is a little tacky, but should hold together and not be very sticky. Ball up dough and place it into a well-oiled bowl, turning dough once to coat. Cover bowl with plastic and allow to rise until double in bulk.
Once the dough has risen, punch dough down and knead for one minute (this primes the yeast for the second rise). Ball up once more and return to bowl. Allow dough to rise once again until doubled in bulk. Divide dough in half and then divide each half into however many strands with which you prefer to braid. The pumpkin shapes pictured here were created with a round 4-strand braid with a small remnant of dough (shaped into a stem) tucked in between the space where the four strands meet on top.
Preheat oven to 350°. Brush tops of loaves with egg wash, spray with oil, and cover loosely with plastic. Allow loaves to rise one last time until almost double in size, about 15 - 20 minutes. Brush loaves with egg wash once again and sprinkle with seeds, if desired. Bake 25 - 30 minutes, or until loaves are sufficiently browned and sound hollow when tapped. Cool and serve.
Yield: two loaves or one large loaf
No time to make Challah dough, no problem!
To purchase click here: Zojirushi Bread Maker (Amazon).
Selecting a Breadmaker can be confusing.
Especially if one has not previously owned a bread machine. So many choices - one paddle or two? vertical loaves or horizontal loaves? A machine that makes a 1 lb. loaf or a 2 lb. loaf? Size of the actual machine? Ease of use? Settings? Decisions... decisions... decisions!
So let's talk! We have recently tested the newest model, of the Zojirushi (pronounced zo-jih-ROO-shee) bread maker, the Virtuoso BB-PAC 20. In fact, since we have grown so attached to it, let's use its nickname, the Zo. It has moved to a position front and center in our kitchen, right up there with our stand mixer, Vitamix, Coffee Maker, and food processor. Not only are we busily making whole wheat bread for weekday sandwiches, challah for Shabbos, and cinnamon rolls (yumm) much too often, but we have also made jam. strawberry jam to be exact. So simple! Making jam was so easy, that we plan to progress to blueberry and peach jam later this summer.
Yes, the Zo is an investment ($275), but if you have the counter or pantry space available, and if you love fresh bread and preserves, we think that it is well worth the price. If you use it often, studies have indicated that over time, homemade bread costs substantially less than store-bought bread, and is, of course, healthier, (We guess that depends on your ingredient choices.)
Why did we select Zojirushi? – We compared many popular bread machines, some less costly, but liked the features on the Zo. The Home Bakery Virtuoso® Breadmaker (BBBAC20). If you plan to become a regular breadmaker...these features are important.
The Virtuoso bakes a traditional, horizontal-shaped 1 ½ - 2-lb. loaf, has dual kneading blades, 13-hour delay timer, easy to read clock, and many varied menus settings-including basic bread, wheat bread, gluten-free bread, sourdough starter, dough, jam, cake, quick bread and 3 homemade settings for custom recipes. Trust me, we are not techies, but the accompanying recipe book offers easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions for each setting. Additionally, the Virtuoso has an exclusive lid heater, which makes even baking and proper browning possible. The dual paddles ensure thorough mixing and kneading and result in a higher rise. The bread pan includes easy-lift handles, ensuring quick and safe loaf removal of the loaves. And there is a large window to watch what's happening.
And, we must share one of our favorite features..the 13-hour delay timer – which allows us to go to bed and wake up to fresh homemade bread in the morning. Sounds so good, doesn't it? Yes, it's truly amazing. We also especially like the dough cycle, which is perfect for mixing up a batch of cinnamon buns, challah, and rolls.
We find the 2 lb. size loaf convenient, some to slice, some to store and even some to freeze. For Shabbos challah, the Zo delivers fresh challah in a hurry on a Friday morning. One 90-minute cycle provides enough dough to make two 1 lb. loaves. We shape them, place them in loaf pans or on our Silpat mat, let them rise for 1 hour, and bake for 30 minutes. Done! By the way, for those readers who are gluten-free, the Zo even offers a setting for you. So, dear readers, if you are in the market for a breadmaker, do consider the ZO, and share your thoughts (and recipes) with us.
To purchase click here: Zojirushi Bread Maker (Amazon).
*This is not a sponsored post. All recommended products are Koshereye tested. We hope to only provide you with amazing Kosher products and recipes. Koshereye may make a small commission if you purchase a product through our Amazon links.