Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thanksgiving Bread

Traditions abound here at Mimi's Kitchen throughout the year, but some of our favorites come during the fall holidays, and this beautiful braided bread is one of them. Years ago I went to a bread baking class just for fun at a local adult school and the teacher gave us her Thanksgiving bread recipe. It's a lovely golden color, which it gets from either winter squash or pumpkin. The pumpkin/squash keeps it moist, but doesn't impart too much flavor. What I like about the recipe is that it makes one very large loaf for a crowd, or you can make 2 smaller loaves, which would be perfect for sharing with friends or neighbors for their Thanksgiving table.
If you have leftovers this makes excellent french toast, turkey sandwiches or even bread pudding. It is a perfect way to infuse some fall flavor and color into your meal throughout the season.
Squash Bread
makes 2 loaves

2 tablespoons yeast
3/4 cup warm water
1 1/4 cup pumpkin or orange squash puree
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup milk
1/3 cup soft butter
1 egg
5 1/2 cups flour

1. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add a pinch of sugar and let stand until bubbly.
2. Combine pumpkin, milk, sugar, butter, egg and salt in a large bowl.  Add the yeast mixture and stir to incorporate.You can use your stand mixer for this.
3. Add add 4 3/4 cup flour and stir to make a smooth dough.
4.  Turn dough on a lightly floured surface and knead(about 10 minutes by hand or 5-7 minutes in mixer with a dough hook), adding remaining flour as necessary to create a dough that is smooth and silky. Dough should not be tacky. 

 5. Place dough in a greased bowl (I spray them with PAM) cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double in size about 1  1/2 hours.

6. Punch dough down and shape.

If making two loaves divide the dough in half. Each half is then divided into thirds. Shape each third into a 14 inch rope.  On a baking sheet lined with a silpat braid your 3 ropes into one loaf (I cross them in the center of the ropes and braid to the ends)
Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double in size.
Bake in a 375 degree oven until golden (about 20-30 minutes depending on the size of your loaf.
When bread comes out of the oven and is still warm, brush the crust with soft butter. 
Cool completely on a wire rack.
printable recipe

links: Foodie Fridays at Designs by Gollum