I’d like to say I bake challah at least once every year, it’s my Rosh Hashana tradition. But I only started last year. So I guess now I am two for two. So far so good! Last year I made a basic challah and it really turned out wonderful – soft, doughy, yellow middle and tender, slightly sweet crust. This year, I planned on using the same recipe until I came across Martha Stewart’s Pumpkin Challah. I immediately began thinking of the possibilities of such a unique bread – surely it would make a wonderful french toast, bread pudding, or turkey sandwich.
I set to work with my new stand mixer in order to prepare this for a Rosh Hashana lunch for my mother, brother, fiance, and me. I cut the recipe in half to just make one loaf, and chose to braid it rather than preparing it in loaf form. I was a little skeptical when my yeast-water mixture did not get foamy – maybe my water wasn’t warm enough? I can’t be sure, since I have not made enough yeast breads yet. Mixing and kneading went well; I used the dough hook and just kneaded for a few minutes rather than 8-10 by hand. However, the dough did not rise as well as I expected. I went ahead anyway, since I couldn’t really start over! The end result was a lightly sweet and spiced sturdy bread, denser than a normal challah. It didn’t have that doughy, pull-apart quality that I love about a great challah, but I’m not sure if that is due to the problems I had with rising or if it is just the nature of the recipe. It did prove to be a perfect sandwich bread, but I can’t comment on french toast or pudding, because there was none left! So even though it was not traditional, it was still very well-enjoyed by my family. I’d love to make it again soon and see what other kinds of sandwiches would fit this bread, and hopefully have leftovers for french toast!