Ginger Pumpkin Braid

Maybe it's our lifelong familiarity with one of the holidays' cliché staples — pumpkin pie — but we can hardly imagine baking anything with pumpkin and not including ginger as one of the spices. Ginger and pumpkin are two flavors that just seem to go together, like apples and cinnamon. And they team beautifully in this bright-gold, moist, dense holiday bread. Serve it as the centerpiece of a bread basket at dinner, or with a creamy lunchtime soup.

Prep
30 mins
Bake
25 to 30 mins
Total
3 hrs 6 mins
Yield
two 10" braids
Ginger Pumpkin Braid

Instructions

  1. To mix by hand or by mixer: In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, spices, sugar, ginger, salt and yeast. In a separate bowl, stir together the pumpkin, eggs and melted butter.

  2. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring until the dough begins to come away from the sides of the bowl.

  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface; knead it for 3 minutes, allow it to rest for 15 minutes, then continue kneading until smooth, an additional 8 to 10 minutes. Knead in the raisins right at the end.

  4. To knead in a mixer: Knead the dough with an electric mixer for 2 minutes; allow it to rest for 15 minutes, then continue kneading it for an additional 5 to 7 minutes, or until it's smooth. Add the raisins, and continue kneading just until they're incorporated.

  5. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and set it aside to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until puffy.

  6. To make in a bread machine: Place all of the ingredients except the raisins into the pan of your bread machine, program the machine for Manual or Dough, and press Start. This dough may initially be a bit heavy for some machines; if necessary, use a spatula to help it get going. About 10 minutes before the end of the final kneading cycle, adjust the consistency of the dough with additional flour or water; it should be soft and smooth. About 4 to 5 minutes before the end of the kneading cycle, add the raisins. Allow the machine to complete its cycle.

  7. Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased surface, divide it in half then divide each half into three pieces. Roll each piece into a 10" log.

  8. Working with three logs at a time, place them on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Braid them together, pinching the ends together and tuck the ends under. Repeat with the remaining logs.

  9. Set the braids aside, covered with lightly greased plastic wrap or an acrylic dough-rising cover, to rise for 1 hour; they should look puffy.

  10. Bake the bread in a preheated 375°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until lightly browned and a digital thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf registers at least 190°F.

  11. Remove the braids from oven, and allow them to cool on a wire rack.

  12. Store, wrapped, on the counter for 5 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Tips from our Bakers

  • This recipe can also be made into 1 six strand braid. Follow our instructional video to learn how!

  • To make this into a pumpkin-shaped loaf: Use 1 1/2 cups (340g) pumpkin purée and 1 large egg in the dough, mixing as directed. Add a tablespoon of water during mixing if the dough seems dry.

    After the first rise, deflate the dough and shape it into a ball. 

    Grease a medium bowl and lay four 14” pieces of string in it, crossing at the bottom and coming up both sides. Place the ball of dough in the bowl seam side up and bring the strings together at the top. Knot or clip them together loosely, leaving some slack between the strings and the dough. Cover and let rise for 90 minutes, until the dough doesn’t bounce back when lightly pressed. 

    Preheat the oven to 350°F; have a baking sheet lined with parchment on hand.

    When the dough has risen, check to see that there’s still a little slack under the strings. Turn the loaf out of the bowl onto a parchment-lined baking sheet with the ends of the strings underneath. Brush the sides with beaten egg. Cut a 1/2”-deep line from the bottom up one side to the intersecting strings at the top (take care not to cut through the strings). Bake the bread for 50 to 55 minutes; tent the top with foil after 45 minutes. When a digital thermometer inserted in the center reads 190°F, remove the bread from the oven and cool it on a rack.

    To serve: Remove the strings and insert a cinnamon stick into the top for a stem.

    Ginger Pumpkin Braid shaped into a Pumpkin