I have wanted to try a pumpkin-flavored yeast bread for quite some time but up until now it has been pushed back in favor of other recipes. This week I finally decided to make it happen, and my good friend Chelle decided to join me. I was glad to try this for a couple of reasons. One, I have not yet made a braided wreath bread and I was anxious to try this shape. Also, this is the first yeast bread recipe I have ever tried that does not call for any water. Apparently the pumpkin provides the majority of the moisture in this recipe. This makes two loaves and the King Arthur website suggests keeping one and giving one away to a friend. I thought this was an excellent idea, so I gave it to Andrew’s babysitter and it was a hit with her family as well. I didn’t have any issues with the dough or the shaping. I’ll definitely make this again.
Holiday Pumpkin Bread
15 oz. can pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. ground cloves
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. instant yeast
1/3 cup brown sugar
4 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine pumpkin puree, eggs, butter, spices, yeast, brown sugar, and 2 ¾ cups of the flour. Mix on medium-low speed until combined. Add in the remaining 2 cups of flour and mix on low speed until incorporated and the ingredients have formed a dough. Switch to the dough hook and continue kneading on low speed until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5-8 minutes. (Add additional flour 1 tablespoon at a time if necessary to help the dough clear the sides of the bowl.)
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 to 1 ½ hours; it should have expanded somewhat but won’t be wildly puffy.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface (a silicone rolling mat works well), divide it in half, and then divide each half into three equal pieces. Roll each piece into an 18” log. Working with three logs at a time, make a braid, pinching the ends together. Coil the braid into a lightly greased 8” or 9” cake pan, shaping it into a wreath-like circle and pressing the ends together where they meet. Repeat with the remaining logs. Cover both pans with lightly greased plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 90 minutes until they look puffy, although not doubled in bulk. (I heated my oven to 150° F and then immediately turned it off. After 10 minutes I placed the loaves in the oven to let them rise. This worked wonderfully in my cold kitchen.)
Bake the bread at 350° F for 30 minutes, until lightly browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center reads 190° F. Remove the wreaths from the oven and allow them to cool on a wire rack.
Source: adapted from King Arthur Flour