Now that it’s officially fall (although it’s still 85 degrees here in SoCal) I thought it was time for some good ole pumpkin recipes. I am that person, the one who, when the clock strikes midnight on September 21st, breaks out everything pumpkin. The pumpkin stickies go up on the windows, the pumpkin shaped coffee mugs come out, and I run to Trader Joe’s and stock up on canned pumpkin puree. If we didn’t currently live in an apartment with a shared outdoor space, there would be halloween decorations covering the lawn.
Fall, to me, brings a sense of excitement. Here in California it means the rainy season is almost upon us and there really is no better time to be in LA than when it rains. The city looks glittery, almost like someone has covered it in an instagram filter (and the smog and my allergies go away too). While nothing will beat the sight of freshly fallen snow, LA after a rainstorm is a close second.
While the leaves may not change colors down here in the beach cities of Southern California, with this loaf baking in the oven I still get a sense of those chilly Midwestern fall days when the heating oven fogs up the windows and the leaves look like an impressionist painting with all of their fall colors. The smell of the pumpkin pie spice in the oven brings just a small piece of Chicago fall to my kitchen.
3 Teaspoons Instant Yeast
2/3 Cup sugar
2 Teaspoons instant coffee
1/4 Cup butter, melted
2/3 Cup granulated sugar
1 Cup warm water
2 Teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
4-5 Cups all purpose flour
Whisk egg, melted butter, water, sugar, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, coffee and yeast in a large bowl.
Add the flour one cup at a time to yeast mixture. Using a strong spatula to mix at the beginning and using your hands to mix once it gets too difficult with the spatula.
Once the dough is fully mixed, turn onto a floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes. (If you don’t knead the dough well enough, the challah will not hold its shape when it is braided.)
Grease a large bowl with spray oil and transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover with a damp paper towel and put in the oven to proof. (Make sure the oven is off!) Proof until the dough is doubled in size about 45 minutes-1 hour.
Once proofed, turn the dough onto a floured surface and cut into 3 equal portions. Roll each portion into a thick log. Braid as you would for a 3 strand challah. Let the loaves proof for another 30 minutes.
Beat one egg with a splash of water. Using a pastry brush, brush over the challah.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the loaves for 35 minutes.