This is a wonderful fall bread that tastes amazing with some apple butter or just toasted and topped with a touch of butter and some Jarlsberg cheese. The recipe comes from the Pillsbury Best of the Holidays mini cookbook #285 from November 2004. I saw this one in a checkout lane and bought it for this bread recipe, it sounded delicious and looked so pretty and I love the flavor combination. Apple cider and pumpkin? Can't go wrong with that :)
This recipe makes two braided wreaths, perfect for sharing!
5 3/4 to 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I use 6 cups bread flour)
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 packages active dry yeast (or 3 teaspoons bread machine yeast if you go that route)
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups apple cider
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
1. In a large bowl, stir together 2 cups of the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. In 2 quart saucepan heat pumpkin, butter, and cider over medium heat, until 120 to 130 F. Add to flour mixture, beat on medium speed 3 minutes (dough hook) scraping bowl occasionally.
2. Stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough. On floured surface knead until smooth and elastic, 3 to 5 minutes. Place dough in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover with plastic wrap and cloth towel; let rise in warm place until double in size, about 1 hour.
3. Grease large cookie sheet. Punch down dough. Divide in half; divide each half into three pieces. On lightly floured surface, roll each piece into 24 inch long rope. On cookie sheet, place 3 ropes close together. Braid loosely; pinch ends together, forming a circle. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover, let rise in warm place until almost doubled in size, 20 to 30 minutes.