Holiday Pumpkin Bread
This mahogany-gold wreath is dense and moist, mildly spicy, and utterly tasty. The recipe makes two loaves; enjoy one, and give the other away. Or use the other to make Pumpkin Bread Pudding.
- 2 3/4 cups (11 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour*
- 2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur White Wheat Flour, organic preferred*
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/3 cup (2 1/2 ounces) brown sugar
- 1/3 cup (1 5/8 ounces) diced crystallized ginger, optional
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast
- 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick, 2 ounces) butter, melted
Adapted from kingarthurflour.com
Combine all of the dough ingredients, and mix and knead them—by hand, electric mixer, or bread machine¬—until you’ve made a smooth, somewhat sticky dough. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and set it aside to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours; it should have expanded somewhat, but won’t be wildly puffy.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased surface (a silicone rolling mat works well here), divide it in half, and divide each half into three 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 a proof cover or lightly greased plastic wrap, and let the wreaths rise for about 90 minutes, until they look puffy, though not doubled in bulk.
Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven 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 rack. Keep one wreath for yourself and give one away; or serve one, and make the other into Pumpkin Bread Pudding.
Yield: two 8-inch wreaths.
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