Traditional braided bread recipe with an autumn pumpkin twist! Dark chocolate chunks and semi-sweet chocolate chips sprinkled throughout for extra yums.
FOR THE BREAD
- 4 1/4 cups all purpose, unbleached flour
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1packet)
- 1 cup milk (I used skim milk, but any kind will do!) + 2 tablespoons for egg wash
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into 4-5 large chunks + extra for greasing a mixing bowl
- 1 whole egg, room temperature
- 1 egg yolk, room temperature
- 1 egg white
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
FOR THE FILLING
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 15 ounces pumpkin puree
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
- 1 cup dark chocolate chunks and semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
FOR THE CRUMBLE TOPPING
- 2 tablespoons all purpose, unbleached flour
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
- 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- Grease two 9X5 bread pans. Set aside.
- In a microwave or a double boiler, heat 1 cup milk to between 105°F and 110°F. Pour the milk into the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle yeast on top. Add sugar and give the mixture a small stir. Place the bowl in a warm place for about 10-15 minutes. Be patient! If yeast is activated, you will see foam on top of the mixture, and even a few small bubbles. Also, if you take sniff, it will smell very much like yeast.
- Fit stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. Add the sugar and butter and mix on a low speed until just combined (butter will not be much combined at all - this is fine).
- Add whole egg, egg yolk, and salt on the same low speed until just combined.
- Slowly add in flour. Once it's all in the bowl, turn the speed up to medium until it forms a soft dough. Turn the speed up to medium high and mix for 5-6 minutes (this is kneading your dough).
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Grease a large bowl with a little butter (you can use the same bowl you made the dough in). Form the dough into a ball and place in the greased bowl. Cover with saran wrap or a towel and let rise in a warm place or in a bread proofer, until it has doubled in size, about 90 minutes.
- Towards the end of the rising period, combine all filling ingredients except for the chocolate chunks/chocolate chips in a medium bowl. Whisk together until completely combined.
- Once risen, punch the dough down to get rid of air bubbles. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and cut the dough in half.
- Working with one dough half at a time, roll each one into a 9X13 rectangle (as close as you can, doesn't need to be exact).
- Spread filling evenly on both dough rectangles, making sure to leave about a 1 inch border around the edge. Sprinkle equally with chocolate chunks/chocolate chips.
BRAID THE LOAVES (STEP BY STEP PHOTOS)
- One at a time, gently and tightly roll up one dough rectangle spread with filing into a roll and place it seam down.
- Slice the roll in half lengthwise.
- Criss-cross one of the halves on top of the other one, cut side down to form a somewhat bottom heavy X.
- Twist like a rope until completely braided.
- "Smush" ends together (yes that’s a technical term).
- Repeat with second dough rectangle. Place braided loaves in prepared bread pans. Cover with a towel and let rest in a warm place for 20 minutes.
ASSEMBLE AND BAKE
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Combine all ingredients for the crumble topping in a small bowl and stir until crumbled.
- In another small bowl, make the egg wash by whisking together egg white and the two tablespoons of milk (for a darker crust you can substitute an egg yolk for the egg white).
- Once the loaves are done resting, brush them with the egg wash.
- Sprinkle evenly with crumble topping. Bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of a loaf comes out clean. Remove from heat and let cool for 5-10 minutes. Slice as desired and serve.