Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Pumpkin challah

Hi everyone. Happy December. I didn't mean to disappear for such a long time...so much for nablopomo. Oh well. At least I can say that I posted more in November than in any other month! Anyway, last week I was really busy writing a paper about metaphysics in German. It was really hard-- re-writing it in German was almost as hard as writing it in the first place-- which was kind of discouraging. Though to be fair, I don't use metaphysical German in my daily conversations.

Anyway, on to better things: pumpkin. I'm still working on using it up! I only have 3/4 cup or so left, which I think I'll eat for dinner. Thank you for your suggestions. I made pumpkin waffles, a really, really amazingly yummy pumpkin-black bean-chipotle soup (I'm definately posting the recipe for that) and this....pumpkin challah!

I'm so pleased with this bread. Pumpkin challah is a Sephardic challah, which I'd never made before. It's really good. It has the same texture as normal challah, but with a hint pumpkin-spice flavour. But it's not too sweet or overpoweringly spicy-- I had some today with baba ghanoush, for example, and it tasted great.

When I make challah, I always, always make a 6-strand braid. First of all, it looks much prettier than a 3-strand braid in my opinion, and it's really fun to braid. It also makes a higher loaf than a 3-strand braid does, which I like. I hope you won't be intimidated, and will try to make a 6-strand loaf, too! It's really easy. I know thoughts of having 6-strands tangled in front of you can seem dizzying, but there are only 4 steps, so it's not that hard. Just look at this diagram, print it out and have it in front of you, and you'll be all set. If you google, you can find lots and lots of videos on how to braid 6-strand challahs, too.

Anyway, the recipe. It's adapted from Maggie Glazer's A Blessing of Bread: The Many Rich Traditions of Jewish Bread Baking from Around the World.

Pumpkin Challah (makes 1 large loaf)

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground ginger
3 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup warm water
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup raw sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup soy yoghurt

Mix the yeast in the warm water along with the spices and 2/3 cup of the flour. Let the mixture stand for 10-20 minutes. Whisk the sugar, salt, oil, yoghurt, and pumpkin in a large mixing bowl. Add the yeast sponge. Stir in about 2 cups of the remaining flour, then start incorporating the rest with your hands. You might need a bit more or a bit less. The dough should be soft but not too sticky. Knead for 10 minutes. Dough should be smooth. Place the dough in a clean, oiled bowl, cover, and let it rise in a warm place until it has tripled (2-3 hours).

Punch the dough down. On a lightly floured surface, cut it into 6 equal balls of dough. Roll each one into a rope about 3/4'' in diameter. Try to make the ends of the ropes taper. Braid into a 6-strand braid-- see link above. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and rise until at least doubled in size, about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Brush the loaves with soymilk, and bake then for 40-45 minutes, until they are deep golden brown and hollow when tapped on the bottom. Take them out of the oven and brush them again halfway during baking.



Ashasarala said...

That's gorgeous! Thanks for sharing the diagram. I've been meaning to look up how in the heck bread is braided. I'll definitely try it soon!

Graeme said...

Wow, your bread braiding skills are quite a sight to behold.

Great job.

T said...

I made the apple challah recipe for Rosh Hoshana this year and was thrilled with the results. Your bread looks delish! Maybe I need to invest in a copy of tht book.

Anonymous said...

Wow...that photo is so impressive!


Susan Voisin said...

That is ridiculously impressive because when I looked at that diagram, all I saw was a six-legged octopus! I can't begin to figure it out! I'd love to try it someday, but I'm afraid my simple mind will have to stay with the 3-stranded kind. Your recipe looks wonderful, though, and I'm sure it'd taste good even in one big lump!

bazu said...

have I ever mentioned how much I love you and your pumpkin/bread posts? I've never seen a 6-strand challah before, but it looks awesome.

sulu-design said...

That braiding is a work of art. Good use of more of that pumpkin!

And I'm sorry to leave this note here, but I don't have your e-mail address (it doesn't appear in the comments you post for me). I just wanted you to know that I ship everywhere - domestic and international - for free. I'd happily send earrings to you in Germany!

LizNoVeggieGirl said...

welcome back to blogging!! wow, that pumpkin challah is gorgeous - never thought of making a pumpkin version before!! yum!!

Coppe said...

The 6-strand braid looks fantastic. I want to try that too.

Sheree' said...

OH my goodness! YOur bread is beautiful!

TB said...

Your bread is SO GORGEOUS! Well done!

Amy said...

The braiding is so cool!

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Ooh that looks beautiful!

Anonymous said...

I just baked this today... how tasty. My mom ate half the loaf before it even cooled off. Thanks for this awesome recipe.

Oh, and you were right. The six strand braid wasn't hard to do at all, and it looked super pretty.

Anonymous said...


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Sherri said...

Any substitute for the yogurt? I usually put some combo of flax seeds, almond milk in my vegan challah. Never tried yogurt