I'm baking the bread as I write this blog, and let me tell you, very few things in this world smell better than this bread when it's baking. Man oh man, does it smell heavenly!
This is one of Mikey's favorite things (next to Kalamata Olive bread) so I'm making it for him before he goes back to college next weekend. It's also a huge favorite with the gang I go to the lake with.
I got the original recipe for this from The New Book of Favorite Breads from Rose Lane Farm cookbook. I've modified it slightly and made it my own. Enjoy!
Combine and allow to stand until foamy:
1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp ginger
2 pkgs dry yeast
3/4 cup warm milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup soft butter
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup flour
Mix well and add another four cups of flour, one cup at a time, kneading in more flour if necessary to make a soft, non-sticky dough. Let rise in greased bowl, covered, until doubled in bulk.
Punch down and knead dough until elastic and then cut into six equal portions. Roll each portion into a rope about 16 inches long. Braid ropes into two loaves. Place braids longways on large greased cookie sheet. Cover with a dish towel and allow to rise until double in size and a fingerprint on the dough stays put and doesn't bounce back.
Bake 35 min at 350. Remove from oven and brush with milk or evaporated milk. Return to oven for another 10 min.
Be sure to take a stick of butter out of the fridge to let it soften up while the bread is rising and baking. Trust me, you're gonna want it!