Because I ain't no Challahback Girl, I ain't no Challahback Girl!
Sorry, couldn't get Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl" out of my head while making this pumpkin challah. No Doubt fans will understand.
I don't make homemade bread too often, as there are many extraordinary bakeries around me that offer all manner of amazing confections. But it was so worth making this particular bread at home. The aroma alone was intoxicating, and I've never seen pumpkin challah at any bakery.
Disclaimer: my BF is a writer-music-journalist and is meticulous with grammar, so he hates when I use too many !!!!!! [Ed. note: I'm letting this slide, but will need to see you after class.] But people, I mean, look at this challah! Oh my beloved October!
Pumpkin and challah is a divine combination. The inside is a gorgeous saffron yellow, the crust is laquered, and the bread itself is soft and has an ever so slight taste of pumpkin. You can taste it, but it doesn't overwhelm.
There is, however, much down time, and you can do other things while the bread is rising and baking. When fully baked this loaf of bread is hefty, the BF and I feasted on this loaf of love for a week (we've made deli sandwiches, grilled cheese, french toast, bread pudding, croutons and eaten it plain, slicked with honey butter or cranberry butter—my favorite).
If you're invited to a dinner party or perhaps a holiday dinner, and the host asks you to bring the carbs, consider bringing this gem of a challah. Bet you're asked to bring it the following year.
Adapted from: The Bojon Gourmet, Smitten Kitchen and Joan Nathan
Number of servings: Makes 1 large loaf
According to Joan Nathan, the secrets to good challah are simple: use two coats of egg wash to get that laquer-like crust, and don't overbake it. Also, three risings always makes for the tastiest loaves.
I'm Jacquie, personal chef & recipe developer in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Lover of books, bourbon, chocolate and movies.