Crunchy, green hulled pumpkin seeds (better known as pepitas)add a slightly nutty taste to this rich and moist bread. Because of their high oil content, pepitas can spoil quickly. Make sure you store them in the freezer to keep them fresh. —Cheryl Perry, Hertford, North Carolina
- 2-3/4 cups uncooked cubed peeled butternut squash
- 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
- 1/3 cup warm 2% milk (110° to 115°)
- 2 tablespoons warm water (110° to 115°)
- 1/2 cup pepitas or sunflower kernels
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3-1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1/4 cup pepitas or sunflower kernels
- Place squash in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Drain and mash squash (you will need 2 cups); cool to 110°-115°.
- In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk and water. In a large bowl, combine the pepitas, butter, egg, brown sugar, salt, cooked squash, yeast mixture and 2 cups flour; beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky).
- Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into thirds. Shape each into a 26-in. rope; braid ropes. Transfer to a greased baking sheet; form into a circle, pinching ends together to seal. Cover with a clean kitchen towel; let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.
- For topping, beat egg and water; brush over braid. Sprinkle with pepitas. Bake at 350° for 18-23 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to wire rack. Yield: 1 loaf (18 slices).
Originally published as Seeded Butternut Squash Braid in Taste of Home December/January 2012, p26
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