Halloween is only five days away! This time of year has always been one of my favorites. I love Fall, when the weather starts getting colder and the leaves turn beautiful shades of yellow, orange and red. And I love everything about Halloween from pumpkin carving to costume parties.
Fall is a great time to switch up your baking and start using more spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. Now that the weather is cooler, you can turn on your oven without the fear of heating up the entire house. On a recent Sunday afternoon, I decided to experiment with baking bread. I don’t have very much experience with making bread, in fact, I have only made pizza dough and hot cross buns. But when I found this recipe for pumpkin dinner rolls, I knew I had to try them.
The rolls take more patience than anything, like most bread. All you need to do is mix up the ingredients, but then you need to wait for the dough to rise. The end result turned out fabulous! The rolls were tender, and weren’t overpowered by pumpkin or spice flavors. They were perfect warm from the oven with a little butter and honey.
If you are looking for delicious homemade bread, stop by Finnish Bistro in St. Anthony Park.
Spiced Pumpkin Rolls (recipe from Sweet Peas Kitchen)
4 teaspoon active dry yeast, or approximately 2 envelopes
1/4 cup warm milk (110 degrees F)
5 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup melted butter
1 3/4 cup pumpkin puree (15 oz can of pumpkin puree)
egg wash (1 egg lightly beaten with 1 tbsp of water)
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. When oven reaches 200 degrees, shut off.
In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the milk and yeast and let rest 10 minutes until foamy.
In a medium bowl whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom, brown sugar and salt; set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine eggs, melted butter and pumpkin puree. After the yeast and milk have rested for 10 minutes, add the pumpkin puree mixture and mix with the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until combined. Add 1/2 of the dry ingredients and mix on low until combined, about 30 seconds. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Remove the paddle attachment and fit the stand mixer with the dough hook. Mix with the dough hook on medium-low until smooth and somewhat sticky, about 3-5 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in warm oven. Let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
After the dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for 10 minutes. Then shape into rolls or a braided loaf.
To make a braided loaf, Lightly grease large baking sheet and set aside. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface. Divide dough into 2 pieces, one roughly half size of other. (Small piece will weigh about 9 ounces, larger piece about 18 ounces.) Divide the large piece into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece into 16-inch-long rope, about 1 inch in diameter. Line up ropes of dough side by side and pinch ends together. Braid the free ends together, pinching the braid closed at the end and tuck both ends under braid. Place braid on baking sheet. Divide smaller piece of dough into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece into 16-inch-long rope, about 1/2 inch in diameter. Braid together, pinching ends to seal. Brush some of egg wash on top of large loaf and place small braid on larger braid.
To make dinner rolls, lightly grease a 9×13 inch square baking pan. Divide into 18 balls (about 3 ounces each). To shape, take a piece of dough and start forming a round, smooth ball by pulling the sides to the center and pinching to seal. Place, pinched side down, on a counter and lightly cupping your hand around the dough ball, rotate your hand in small circles lightly rolling the ball around the palm of your hand and place in prepared baking pan.
After your dough is shaped, cover it loosely, and let it rise for another 1 ½ hours. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Brush the top of the bread lightly with the egg wash. Bake until golden brown and an instant read thermometer inserted in center reads 190 degrees, 30-35 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven and allow to cool on a rack.
Yields:2 braided loaves or 18 dinner rolls