Inspired by my post last week, here is another filled challah bread. I’d brought back some tinned pumpkin back home after my trip to America, and had been waiting for the right time to bake with it. So here is the result! Pumpkin filled four-strand CHALLAH! This tastes sweet but not cloyingly so. You can spread a sweet condiment on it to make it sweet, or just enjoy its subtle sweetness with lashings of butter. Sadly, I am almost out of pumpkin as this used about half the tin, and it’s basically impossible to find tinned pumpkin in stores, and on-line it costs farrrrr too much for me. Why? I don’t know.
Again, I have stuck with the same ingredients for the dough as I have used previously. Just changed up the filling a little.
Ingredients for dough:
- 475g strong white flour
- 8g salt
- 7g fast action instant yeast
- 60g/ml tepid water
- 55g vegetable oil
- 70g sugar
- 3 large eggs (plus 1 extra for glazing)
- 1 tsp pandan essence
- black sesame seeds (optional decoration)
- about 200g tinned pumpkin (unsweetened)
- 3 tablespoons of sugar (can adapt this to taste)
(mix the sugar with the pumpkin – that’s all for the filling)
1) First, make the dough. Mix together all the wet ingredients. Add the dry ingredients and mix until a rough ball is formed. Ensure the salt does not directly touch the yeast!
2) Knead until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. It should be firm but easy to knead and not sticky. So basically, really enjoyable to knead and very little cleaning up (this is another reason why I love making challah and love this recipe).
3) Place the dough in a plastic bowl, and cover with cling film. Let rise for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size. It really does take about this long, give or take, because the eggs and fat content slow down the action of the yeast.
4) Once risen, divide the dough into four equal pieces (best to weigh them – I play a game where I guess at first, then realise one is like 50g more than another and have to make adjustments). Roll a piece out into a long rectangle and spread over a thin and even layer of pumpkin.
5) Starting from the long edge, roll up the rectangle and gently pinch the seams to seal in the filling. Do this for all four pieces of dough. You should end up with four individual ropes of dough, each filled with pumpkin. As the pumpkin is a somewhat wet filling, care needs to be taken when rolling up the dough, as rolling too tightly will squeeze out the filling.
6) For the braid, it is best to follow a youtube video for visual instructions. When you are finished, tuck the ends underneath to tidy up the appearance. Don’t chop off the ends as the filling may leak. Below is my braid. I actually did a cheats 4 strand braid – as this looks more like a 3 strand braid. It is different to the braid I did in my last post – which looked nicer in my opinion. The reason being was that I needed a reminder of how to do a four strand braid – and looked at an online source which taught me this technique. When I had finished braiding I realised it looked rather different, but I did not want to start over because it was delicate with the filling being there. Lesson learnt!
7) Pick up your braid and place it on a lightly greased baking tray. Loosely cover with lightly oiled cling film, or better place a bag over the tray, and let rise for about 45 mins to an hour until the dough does not immediately spring back when you push your finger in. 10 minutes before they are fully risen, preheat the oven to 160C (fan assisted) or 180C (non-fan assisted).
8) Brush with beaten egg, sprinkle on some seeds if you wish, and bake for 45 minutes. Check it after 15 to 20 minutes as it will probably need tenting with foil, because the sugar in the dough means that it browns very quickly – before it bakes completely inside. I tend to tent it with foil when it becomes the glossy deep brown colour I want to achieve. Don’t stop at golden brown – challah needs to be dark, glossy and shiny!
With loads of butter? Yes please.
Thanks for having a look and let me know if you think of other ideas for challah fillings :).