The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pumpkin, Braids and More Braids

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chouette22's picture
chouette22

Pumpkin, Braids and More Braids

When I saw Txfarmer’s post with a sea-star pattern pumpkin challah, I knew I wanted to give it a try (thank you for the inspiration!).


Since I was responsible to bring bread to the Thanksgiving dinner we were invited to, I thought this would be a beautiful addition to the table. I also followed Txfarmer’s lead when it came to the recipe and used Maggie Glezer's "A Blessing of Bread” pumpkin challah one. I have never made challah before, but often bake Zopf and brioches, and the dough consistency is very similar.




The shape comes from Hamelman’s “Bread” (p. 314-316): you have to make several six-strand braids which are then intertwined. It really wasn’t all that hard since the directions and pictures were very clear. However, I definitely needed to concentrate when I did the braiding and consequently had to shoo everyone out of the kitchen. :)



It was a fun project and I really enjoyed it! And on top of everything it tasted really good. The deep yellow color from the pumpkin was also wonderful.




 I hadn’t really paid much attention to chapter 9 in “Bread” before this project. The entire chapter is dedicated to different braiding techniques. I wanted to try a few more so yesterday, with the rest of the pumpkin puree, I made my regular Zopf recipe and substituted some of the liquid with the pumpkin. I just love the color this gives and the taste is really good as well.



For this loaf I followed the Winston Knot technique (p. 306), without bringing the ends together at the end. One basically braids with 12 strands, but in groups of 3. I gave this to my neighbor to thank him for cutting my pizza stone a few days ago. For some reason I had two pizza stones, but of course could fit only one into my oven. I bake all my round loaves on this, but could never fit long baguettes on it (thus they were baked on sheet pans). I hadn’t bought a bigger baking stone, because they are all quite a bit thicker than a regular pizza stone and thus need to be pre-heated much longer. I love that the pizza stone basically provides the same effect, but because of its relative thinness, doesn’t need to be heated up so long.



My ‘can-do-it-all’ neighbor cut my second stone perfectly to complement my first one, using the surface in the oven to the maximum. I LOVE it!




This is the very easy two-strand braid, coiled up into a rosette shape (p. 297).



Mmm, those torn-away strands are so good with butter.




And finally my regular four-strand braid.
I was on the phone when these loaves were in the oven and forgot to cover them with aluminum foil after about 20 minutes (something I usually do), thus they got just a tad too dark.


I don't think I am done with pumpkin in my breads yet...


 

Comments

Mary Fisher's picture
Mary Fisher

That is beautiful! Thank your for the idea, I'll use it for my next challah.

chouette22's picture
chouette22

You'll enjoy it! For your information, you'll need 960g of dough: 18x50g and 2x30g. I used 500g of flour.

ques2008's picture
ques2008

Gorgeous braids.  I love shaping bread and would be grateful if you could confirm that the instructions are contained in Hammelman's book.  Is that Jeff Hammelman?  And when you said txfarmer, is he/she a member of TFL?


So inspiring those shapes, i love them!

chouette22's picture
chouette22

... and yes, you will find the instructions in Jeff Hamelman's "Bread" book, plus a lot more. If you love shaping bread, then you'll certainly enjoy that chapter! Yes, txfarmer is a TFL member, the one with some of the most gorgeous photos!

bqualley's picture
bqualley

How did your handy neighbour cut the stones for you?  Great idea!

chouette22's picture
chouette22

... to find out how he did it. He came over, measured the oven and brought the two stones back half an hour later, perfectly cut and sanded. I am so thrilled!