Pumpkin or Squash Bread Braid

31 Oct

Once you’ve carved the jack-o-lanterns, you’ll have pumpkin flesh to spare–just what you need for this delicious and very pretty bread. Find this and other great pumpkin recipes in the October issue of Reader’s Digest. Happy Halloween!

Food styling: Signe Langford; Photography: My Yen Trung

1 small butternut squash or pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cubed
1 (.25 ounce/8 g) package active dry yeast (around 2 1/4 tsp)
2 tbsp warm water (110 ºF/45 ºC)
1/2 tsp granulated sugar
1/3 cup warm milk (110 ºF/45 ºC)
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 egg
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp salt
3 cups all-purpose flour            (approx.)

Egg wash:

1 egg
1 tbsp water
1/2 tsp Kosher or coarse salt

1. In a large saucepan, cover squash with water. Bring water to a boil and cook until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain well; let cool and mash. Reserve 1 cup for use in this recipe and refrigerate remainder for another use.

2. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and granulated sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, and bubbles form, about 10 minutes.

3. In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture with warm milk, the butter, squash, egg, brown sugar, rosemary and salt; stir in 2 cups of the flour; stir well to combine.

4. Add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. When the dough pulls away from the bowl, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

5. Punch dough to deflate and turn it out onto a floured surface. Divide into 6 equal pieces and roll each into a rope about 18 inches long.

6. Take 3 ropes, pinch together at one end, and braid ropes together. Pinch together other end to seal. Repeat with remaining 3 ropes of dough. Place braids on 2 lightly greased baking sheets. Cover loosely with kitchen towel and let rise in warm place for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 ºF (175 ºC).

7. To make egg wash: In a small bowl, beat together egg and water; brush loaves all over. Sprinkle with Kosher salt.

8. Bake loaves for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from baking sheets and let cool on a wire rack.


4 Responses to “Pumpkin or Squash Bread Braid”

  1. signe October 31st, 2011 at 12:23 PM #

    That bread is chewy and tender and a tiny bit sweet, perfect for cheese and jam in the morning or afternoon!!! And a braided loaf is a great way to show off and impress!!!

  2. Voula Halliday October 31st, 2011 at 12:42 PM #

    This looks stunning! I’m excited to make it and even more excited to taste it. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Mira October 31st, 2011 at 5:42 PM #

    What a great idea, and it looks amazing too 😉

  4. Valerie Howes November 1st, 2011 at 4:22 PM #

    Just finished steaming pumpkin leftovers from yesterday’s lantern to put in baggies and freeze. I’ll be making this bread again on the weekend. I loved the coarse salt in the crust.

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