Perfect for when Thanksgiving and Hanukkah overlap, the spices of Pumpkin Challah bring out the natural sweetness of the traditional braided bread.
Two months ago I came across a recipe for Pumpkin Challah at The Shiksa in the Kitchen and I kid you not, it has remained open in my browser ever since. I have never been a big bread eater, but I have always had an enormous soft spot for challah. The slightly sweet, incredibly soft and airy combination proves to be irresistible every time. Given my seasonal pumpkin obsession, I just knew that this recipe would be perfect for our Thanksgiving bread this year (and probably every year from here on out). I divided the original recipe, which makes two large loaves, in half and created eight gorgeous braided rolls. This quite possibly may have made our kitchen smell better than anything I have ever baked. You absolutely can’t go wrong with fresh baked bread and seasonal pumpkin spices.
- 1 package active dry yeast
- ½ cup lukewarm water, divided
- 3 teaspoons white sugar, divided
- 1 large egg
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- 1 Tablespoon canola oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
- Pinch of ground cloves
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 4½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 Tablespoon of water
- In the mixing bowl of your electric mixer, combine yeast, ¼ cup lukewarm water and 1 teaspoon of white sugar. Stir to combine and then let sit for 10 minutes to allow yeast to activate.
- Once yeast has expanded and foamed, add remaining water, sugar, eggs, honey, oil, salt and spices. Stir to combine.
- Add brown sugar and pumpkin puree and stir until smooth.
- Attach the dough hook to your mixer and add flour ½ cup at a time, mixing between each addition.
- Once dough is formed, remove from mixer and place on a well floured surface. Kneed until a smooth dough is formed that is elastic but not sticky.
- Wash and dry mixing bowl and coat with a light coating of canola oil. Return dough to bowl and turn over a few times to lightly coat in oil.
- Cover bowl with a damp dish towel and set aside.
- Bring a small saucepan full of water to a boil. Remove from heat and place bowl of dough and boiling water into the oven. Do not turn the oven on.
- Allow the dough to rise for one hour. Remove from oven, punch down and return to rise for an additional hour.
- After the second hour, remove dough and knead on a well floured surface until dough no longer feels sticky.
- Divide into eight equal portions and braid in desired shape.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place braided rolls two inches apart on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat.
- Create egg wash by mixing together egg yolk and water. Brush a light coating onto the outside of each roll.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until braids are golden brown and set.
HOW TO BRAID CHALLAH ROLLS
- Divide dough into four equal pieces.
- Roll into ropes approximately six to eight inches long.
- Lay the ropes in a tic-tac-toe pattern weaving ropes over and under each other.
- Working clockwise, cross an under rope with the adjacent over rope until you have crossed all four ropes.
- Repeat working counter-clockwise.
- Tuck ends under to create a domed roll and place on baking sheet.
Whether you’re celebrating Thanksgiving, Hanukkah or both, we wish you a beautiful day of friends, family and delicious food. Happy Thanksgivukkah!