Sunday, September 18, 2011

Rosh Hashanah Test Kitchen: Pumpkin Challah

Make sure to read the updated version of Pumpkin Challah here! 

We've actually made pumpkin challah before, though I've never blogged about it because we hadn't quite finalized the recipe. I'm in a fall mood with cool, tights-wearing weather, spicy foods, and the first of the early turning leaves. This past Friday, I had no commitments, so what better than a Rosh Hashanah Test Kitchen. Three families (plus us!) were the lucky winners of "Take some of my challah off my hands!

And now, I bring you Pumpkin Challah. I'm thinking this more of a Sukkot food, but heck, it seems great for Rosh Hashanah as well, especially with squash soups and herby chicken.
3/4 c water
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 tbsp honey
1/4 c vegetable oil
3/4 c canned pumpkin
3-4 c flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon* *see note in recipe
pinch cloves
pinch nutmeg

(make sure you check the updated ingredient list!)

Mix water together with yeast and honey. Allow to rest for around 10 minutes or until yeast creates little eruptions. Add oil and pumpkin to yeast mixture and stir gently. Add flour and spices. (Note: Honestly, this challah was great, but I think it could stand a bit more sweetness. My friends who reviewed the loaves liked it, but they added jam on Shabbat morning. If you're planning on eating it plain, I would double the cinnamon content or perhaps add more honey/sugar. Knead by hand or with a stand mixer. Let dough rest in an oiled bowl until doubled in bulk

Punch down. Braid and let rest for additional half hour. Egg wash (I sprinkled a little cinnamon sugar on with the egg wash). This recipe yielded two smallish 5-strand braids and one round braid. (I'll post a how-to on the round braid next week.)

Bake at 350 for around 30 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 180-200 degrees.