In college, my roommates and I would always yell out "Challaaaaaaaaaaaah!" (Like, Holla! but with the "ch" sound). I graduated college in 2003 and to this day, I still do that.
Since I would like to impress my future in-laws (who are Jewish), I made some pumpkin Challah like a good little shiksa would. Sure, they live 250 miles away right now, but my boyfriend was with his parents whilst this was cooking up in the oven. I used my trusty little iPhone and sent him a photo of the finished results, titling the photo "Pumpkin Challaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!" His parents were very impressed, yet did not get my use of the word. You can't win them all. But they were impressed and thought it was sweet that I don't know what challah is supposed to taste like (seriously).
Braiding this was a bit difficult. For some reason, I forgot how to braid. I kept having to put the loaf down and practice on my own hair. I almost held the strands up to my head to work them that way, but I used my better judgement for the sake of the loaf --- and not having my hair filled with flour.
This recipe was courtesy of Martha Stewart. The loaf smelled wonderfully of pumpkin (does that sentence make sense? It does in my mind.) but did not taste that strongly of pumpkin (again???). Next time, I'll definitely be a bit more liberal on those fall spices.
Now, I've got two huge loafs of challah and need to make lots of French toast and bread pudding. Woe is me, right? :)
Pumpkin Challah Courtesy of Martha Stewart
Makes 2 loaves.
- 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast, (1 1/2 packages)
- 1 cup warm water (100 degrees to 110 degrees)
- 3/4 cup egg yolks, (11 to 12 large eggs), plus 1 large egg yolk for glaze
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 tablespoons canola oil, plus more for bowl
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 cups homemade Pumpkin Puree, or one 15-ounce can
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 8 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- Proof the yeast: Place 1/2 cup warm water in a small bowl, and sprinkle yeast over it. Stir to combine, and let sit until mixture becomes foamy, about 10 minutes.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine egg yolks with remaining 1/2 cup warm water. In a medium bowl, combine salt, canola oil, honey, pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice. Replace paddle attachment with dough-hook attachment, and add the pumpkin mixture to the mixer bowl; combine. Add the yeast mixture, stirring until combined.
- Slowly add flour, 1 cup at a time, until all the flour is incorporated into dough. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, and knead the dough by hand for 10 minutes. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, punch down the dough, and then form it into two 8-inch loaves. Place the loaves on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover with a kitchen towel, and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- While the dough is rising, heat the oven to 350º. Mix remaining egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water. Brush the loaves with the egg glaze, and bake until golden brown, about 50 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack, and serve.