As the title suggests – this is my creation of a blueberry and cinnamon pumpkin challah! I was slightly concerned when making this that the blueberries would be too wet and make the dough soggy – but by using blueberries sparingly they have not not had that dreaded effect. The bread is sweet but not too sweet, and has that slight hint of pumpkin, and when you get to bite into the blueberries they’re like pockets of juicy goodness! I’m glad this turned out nicely in the end as it was a bit of a gamble – firstly with the use of the pumpkin in the dough, and secondly with the blueberries!
Ingredients for dough:
550g strong white flour
160g tinned pumpkin (no added sugar)
55g vegetable oil
3 large eggs
Ingredients for filling:
(plus an extra beaten egg to brush on top before baking)
Mix all the dry ingredients for the dough together, ensuring the salt is not poured directly on the yeast. In a separate bowl, mix together the wet ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix to form a rough ball. Let this sit for 10 minutes (this makes kneading easier later)
Tip this on to a floured surface and knead until the dough is elastic and smooth. It should be a little sticky/tacky to touch – though if it is really wet add some strong white flour to help with kneading. Careful not to add too much!! (pictures below are of the dough mid-way through kneading)
Place the dough into a large bowl and lightly cover with lightly greased cling film. Leave to rise for about an hour (depending on kitchen temperature) until over doubled in size.
Meanwhile, whilst the dough is rising prepare the filling by mixing the sugar and cinnamon – that’s it!
When risen, divide the dough into four equal pieces.
Take one of the four pieces and roll lengthways into a long rectangle, then sprinkle over an even layer of the sugar/cinnamon mix. Add a few blueberries dotted around. Then roll this up lengthways to form a long rope-like shape with the filling sealed in. Gently press the edges together to seal. Repeat this with all four pieces of dough, so now you have four strands of dough, each encasing the sugar/cinnamon/blueberry mix. See pictures below for what I mean:
Now is the best part which is braiding the challah! For this follow a video/ picture instruction for a ‘four strand braid’ – I would explain it here but it’s much easier to understand if following pictures/video. This video is a good reference point.
After braiding – lift the dough onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Cover loosely with lightly greased cling film. (I chop off the ends of my challah after braiding so I was left with a little bit of dough which you can see in the picture below – didn’t want to waste it!!)
Leave to rise for about an hour (depending on kitchen temperature). Get the oven preheated to 200C just before the dough has finished rising.
Brush the top of the dough with beaten egg then put the tray into the oven. Bake for 5-10 minutes then reduce the oven temperature to 180C and bake for a further 20-25 minutes. Here’s some pictures of the bread baking – I thought it looked a bit like a puffy chicken!:
The crust should be a nice shiny, deep brown – though the crust being the right colour does not necessarily mean that it is fully baked inside. If the crust browns too quickly before baking time has elapsed, cover it with foil to prevent it browning further.
It was berry berry tasty; sinfully cinnamon-y and pumped full of pumpKING!