Braided Pumpkin Bread

This recipes creates one big, beautiful loaf or make 2 smaller loves.  It smells delicious while baking and tastes fabulous plain or slathered with cream cheese or butter. Sit back, kick your feet up and have a thick slice with your favorite beverage. We love eating it with hot tea after raking leaves.

1 1/2 cups warm water
2 Tbsp. yeast
3 large or extra large eggs at room temperature
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup oil (such as canola)
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 tsp. kosher salt
6-8 cups flour

1 large egg, whisked well for an egg wash

Take the 3 eggs out of your fridge and set on the counter for about 30 minutes before you begin making the bread – this will bring them to room temperature.

Into a large mixing bowl whisk together the water and yeast, then add everything up to the flour and blend it well. Then add 6 cups of the flour and stir well with a wooden spoon until it forms a smooth dough, use more flour as needed. Add some flour to your counter top and dump out the contents of the bowl and being to knead for about 5 minutes, adding more dough as needed. You will probably use up all 8 cups of flour. Form a large dough ball.

Lightly grease the large mixing bowl you used, and place the dough in and turn it around in the bowl so it is all greased. Now cover with plastic and let rise for 1 hour. Turn dough out onto your floured counter top, deflate it and divide into 3 strand ropes for braids.  Now get out a large baking sheet and cover with parchment paper. Place the braids onto the baking sheet and form a braided bread loaf onto the pan. You can form this on the counter top but it may be difficult to transfer to the pan. Brush with about half the egg wash. Cover again with plastic and let rise for 90 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350, brush loaf again with the egg wash and bake for about 45 – 60 minutes for one loaf, about 40 for two loaves – keep any eye on it so it doesn’t burn. Let set about 30 minutes before you slice.

**Sprinklings of chopped seeds or nuts (shelled & chopped pumpkin seeds, pistachios) after the second egg wash would be a very tasty addition.

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