Gingered pumpkin bread

3 1/2 cups unbleached flour

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup diced crystallized ginger

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

1 1/2 cups (13 1/2 ounces) pumpkin puree, fresh or canned

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons (1 ounce) butter, melted

1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, ginger, cinnamon, sugar, ginger, salt, and yeast. Mix until well blended.

2. In another bowl, combine the pumpkin, egg, and butter. Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until the dough begins to come away from the sides of the bowl.

3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead it for a few minutes. Let it rest for 15 minutes.

4. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth. Add flour sparingly, only if the dough is too sticky to work with.

5. Lightly oil a large bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl, and turn it over so it is coated all over with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and set it aside to rise for 1-1 1/2 hours, or until it doubles in bulk.

6. Turn the dough out onto the counter and punch it down. Divide into six pieces. Roll each piece into a rope about 12 inches long.

7. Lightly grease a baking sheet. On one side of the sheet, braid three strands together. Pinch the ends and tuck them under. Make a second loaf on the baking sheet with the remaining three strands. Cover with a cloth and set aside to rise for 1 hour. The loaves should look puffy, though not necessarily doubled in bulk.

8. Set the oven to 375 degrees.

9. Bake the breads for 20-25 minutes, or until they are lightly browned and firm to the touch.

Makes 2 loaves.Adapted from King Arthur Flour.

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