From Molli: In celebration of Homemade Bread Day, I opted to try a braided bread, something I’ve never tried making before. Borrowing a recipe from our friends at the King Arthur Flour Company, I tried my hand at a gorgeous choice for fall — Holiday Pumpkin Bread. It was a pretty simple recipe – your basic whole wheat yeast bread, with some delicious pumpkin puree thrown in. I actually modiﬁed the recipe a bit, trading one of the eggs and all the oil for some homemade applesauce. I love substituting applesauce in baked goods for eggs or oil – or both! It brings the fat content down and adds a delicious subtle sweetness while still keeping the ﬁnal product nice and moist.
I grew up watching my mom braid her Christmas Nisu bread – a delicious Finnish sweet bread she only made during the holidays, and our typical Christmas morning breakfast. But having never braided bread myself, I had quite an adventure trying to get all my pieces equal-sized and braided together well, and then connecting the ends into a wreath. It’s a bit tricky — I recommend making sure your pieces as well as your working surface are well oiled.In the end, I managed to braid my wreaths relatively neatly, and they came out looking beautiful! This one is not a sweet pumpkin bread, but you can deﬁnitely still taste the pumpkin, and it’s perfect for toasting and topping with some butter or jelly on a chilly morning. It may just have to replace Mom’s nisu this Christmas! Yum!
Something else I had to try was making rolls in two diﬀerent shapes (and no, I can’t do anything the easy way). The recipe makes 16 rolls, so I ﬁgured there’d be enough dough to play with, and I was right. As you can see, I actually ended up with enough dough for 18 rolls, six that I formed into typical dinner rolls, and 12 that I formed into a type of pull-apart roll that a friend’s mom once made and called cloverleaf rolls. The name comes from the fact that you take each of the pieces of dough that you might otherwise make into typical dinner rolls, cut it into three small dough balls, and drop them into greased muﬃn tins. When the rolls ﬁnish their second rise and bake in the muﬃn tins, what comes out resembles little clovers. And let me tell you, a blob of jam or a little peanut butter right in the center of these bad boys while they’re still warm is just as tasty as it is visually pleasing. No photo of that – I ate them too fast!