Ginger Pumpkin Braid

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Ginger Pumpkin Braid

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Published prior to 2008

Maybe it's our lifelong familiarity with one of the holidays' cliché staples -- pumpkin pie -- but we can hardly imagine baking anything with pumpkin and not including ginger as one of the spices. Ginger and pumpkin are two flavors that just seem to go together, like apples and cinnamon. And they team beautifully in this bright-gold, moist, dense holiday bread. Serve it as the centerpiece of a bread basket at dinner, or with a creamy lunchtime soup.

4 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached Special Bread Flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup diced candied ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 3/4 cups pumpkin*
2 eggs
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1/2 cup raisins (optional)

*Just plain pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling.

Manual/Mixer Method: In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, spices, sugar, ginger, salt and yeast, mixing till everything is well-distributed. In a separate bowl, stir together the pumpkin, eggs and melted butter till well-combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring until the dough begins to come away from the sides of the bowl. Knead the dough with an electric mixer for 2 minutes; allow it to rest for 15 minutes, then continue kneading it for an additional 5 to 7 minutes, or until it's smooth. Add the raisins, and continue kneading just until they're incorporated.

If you're kneading by hand, transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface; knead it for 3 minutes, allow it to rest for 15 minutes, then continue kneading till smooth, an additional 8 to 10 minutes. Add more flour sparingly, and only if the dough is absolutely impossible to work with by hand. Knead in the raisins right at the end.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and set it aside to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours; it should be just about doubled in bulk.

Bread Machine Method: Place all of the ingredients except the raisins into the pan of your bread machine, program the machine for Manual or Dough, and press Start. This dough may initially be a bit heavy for some machines; if necessary, use a spatula to help it get going. About 10 minutes before the end of the final kneading cycle, adjust the consistency of the dough with additional flour or water; it should be soft and smooth. About 4 to 5 minutes before the end of the kneading cycle, add the raisins. Allow the machine to complete its cycle.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased surface, divide it in half then divide each half into three pieces. Roll each piece into a 10-inch log.

Working with three logs at a time, place them on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Braid them together; be sure to pinch the ends together well, and tuck them under. Repeat with the remaining logs. Set the braids aside, covered with lightly greased plastic wrap or an acrylic dough-rising cover, to rise for 1 hour; they should look puffy, though not necessarily doubled in bulk.

Bake the bread in a preheated 375°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until lightly browned and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the braids from oven, and allow them to cool on a wire rack. Serve them warm or at room temperature. If any is left over after a few days, use bread to make bread pudding (recipe follows).Yield: two 10-inch braids.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Creamy, sweet and warm in the tummy, this delicious bread pudding is just the ticket on a cold winter day. It got rave reviews from our group of testers -- also known as our customer service team, the friendly folks you talk to when you call our 800 number or baker's hotline.

By the way, this basic formula can be used to make bread pudding from all kinds of leftover bread, even savory herb or cheese-type breads. Simply leave out the pumpkin and add a cup of dried raisins or other dried fruit, if desired. If you're making a savory bread pudding, leave out the sugar and spices (though adding a bit of dry mustard and a cup or two of grated cheese is delightful). Also, if you have just a small amount of leftover bread, cut back the recipe proportionately and bake in a smaller pan, cutting back the baking time accordingly.

    6 eggs
    1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin or squash*
    2 cups (16 ounces) light cream
    1 cup (8 ounces) milk
    3/4 cup (5 7/8 ounces) sugar
    1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) rum (optional)
    1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
    2 teaspoons vanilla
    7 to 8 cups pumpkin-ginger bread, cut in 3/4-inch cubes
*Plain pumpkin or squash, not pie filling.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs lightly, then stir in the canned pumpkin, mixing until well-blended. Add the cream, milk, sugar, rum, spices and vanilla, stirring to blend.

Grease a 2-quart baking dish, or 8 to 10 individual custard cups. Place the cubed bread in the dish in an even layer, and pour the liquid mixture over it. Let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes, or for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.

When you're ready to bake the pudding, stir it together to redistribute the custard; quite a bit of it will have been absorbed by the bread. Grate fresh nutmeg over the top, and bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 40 to 50 minutes (for a 2-quart casserole), or 20 to 25 minutes (for individual baking cups), or until set. Serve warm with whipped cream, vanilla sauce or ice cream.

Reviews

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  • 01/03/2015
  • hannah from Conover,nc
  • My mom had no problem with this bread but mine came out gooey in middle and I followed how she made hers.We put it in loaf pans instead of braiding it.Also I couldn't really taste the pumpkin in the dough and bread once it was finished. We're sorry this didn't meet your approval, but the disparity is intriguing. Did you make them side by side, or in different kitchens? Could it be different ovens? A good oven thermometer and an instant read thermometer may help with the undone bread. Happy baking! Laurie@ KAF
  • star rating 12/17/2014
  • dani from Westford MA
  • Fab. I use stem ginger (from syrup), and this bread is lovely! Makes wonderful french toast - yum.
  • star rating 12/17/2014
  • Simone from Fuquay Varina, NC
  • We love this recipe. This year I made loaves for gifts. I used fresh pie pumpkin bought from a local farm. My husband and boys like to toast it, then butter the toast with cream cheese frosting.
  • star rating 11/27/2014
  • Becky from South Lake Tahoe, CA
  • Oh, my goodness! This is my new favorite holiday bread! I subbed Craisins (dried cranberries) for the raisins and it is so flavorful and colorful. I live at 6,250 ft and the only change I made was to reduce the sugar slightly. Made the dough in my inexpensive, basic model bread machine on the dough cycle. This recipe is a no-fail keeper. Go ahead, newbies - give this recipe a go and show the world your bread making skills!
  • star rating 10/06/2014
  • devon0706@charter.net from KAF Community
  • This is grrrrrrate!! The Mini Diced Ginger makes the recipe, I added half cup. Served this with Pecan Pumpkin Butter. My neighbor ate half a loaf. Thanks so very much for all this and all the great recipes at KAF.
  • star rating 10/05/2014
  • iahawk89 from KAF Community
  • This was delicious. I subbed granulated honey for the sugar and used it for Rosh Hashana challah. I did have to add a bit more flour to make up for the very damp weather. Amazing french toast! No raisins.
  • star rating 10/01/2014
  • MB from Vienna, Va
  • Wow. Just wow. Make this today.
  • star rating 09/23/2014
  • Kathleen from Allen Park, MI
  • Excellent bread. I didn't have the mini ginger. I used 2/3 cup raisins instead of 1/2. And I didn't make a braid . . . just a free-form oval. Turned out great. Followed my hunch and was rewarded with fantastic French toast! Am thinking it will also be a great substitute in my favorite bread pudding recipe.
  • star rating 09/09/2014
  • member-tlmilner59 from KAF Community
  • This is an awesome bread, I substituted dried cranberries instead of raisins - can I just say, yum?! Very easy and a beautiful loaf, took it to work for a birthday party, and there was none left. Kept the second loaf for home :)
  • star rating 09/09/2014
  • member-tlmilner59 from KAF Community
  • This is an awesome bread, I substituted dried cranberries instead of raisins - can I just say, yum?! Very easy and a beautiful loaf, took it to work for a birthday party, and there was none left. Kept the second loaf for home :)
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