Sunday, October 26, 2008

Butternut Squash Braid

October food finds at the Oklahoma Food Cooperative are anything but dull during the fall season, with pear-shaped butternuts and glorious orange sugar pumpkins finally on the scene, as well as late-season bright yellow squash and mottled dark green zucchini providing one last sweet gasp of summer.

These squash and Mystic pumpkins are fresh from the fields of Peach Crest Farm, in Norman, who also provided part of this month's colorful egg bounty. The other eggs are from the free range acreages of Rowdy Stickhorse Wild Acres, Noble Heritage Acres, and a new producer, Happy Eggs.

Other sustainably harvested foods that I could not resist: golden local honey from the 140 hives of Honey Hill Farm north of Guthrie; reddish-hued grape jelly from the Richardsons at Persimmon Hill Farm, in Stillwater. This is an unusual jelly from the Frontenac grape, which is normally designated only for wine.

Sandy Creek Pecans offered small, sweet native pecan halves from their sustainable pecan tree orchard in the southern Oklahoma town of Milburn. They included a personal note and recipe for pecan pie. Natives' high oil content makes a superior pie.

My first reaction after arriving home with food coop treasures is "what was I thinking?", then "why didn't I clean out my refrigerator?", and then "what should I do with all of it?" These beautiful butternuts were a natural choice to use first--after all, the name alone promotes salivation--BUTTERnut.

For the first butternut recipe of the season, I chose a bread recipe from Allrecipes.com, Squash Braid. With a cup of cooked, mashed butternut and one of the organic, sunny-yellow yolked eggs, the resulting loaf is buttery yellow and rich, slightly sweet, with a tender texture like that of Hawaiian bread. It was easy to make and even easier to eat.


Here is my KitchenAid version with a few modifications:

Butternut Squash Braid
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm water (110 to 115 degrees F)
1 cup cooked and pureed butternut squash
1/3 cup warm milk (110 to 115 degrees F)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 egg
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 to 3-1/2 cups unbleached flour
GLAZE:
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon water

In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve yeast in warm water. Melt butter in warm milk and add to yeast mixture, then add squash, egg, brown sugar and salt. Using paddle attachment, mix until well blended, then add a cup of flour and mix until smooth. Switch to dough hook and keep adding flour until a soft dough is formed. Let the dough hook do most of the kneading for you, then turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and supple, about 3 or 4 minutes. You may need to add a little flour to keep it from sticking. (If you don't have a KitchenAid, simply mix the ingredients in a large bowl, add flour until a soft dough is formed, then turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes.)

Place in a greased bowl, cover with waxed paper, and let rise in a cozy place until doubled. Punch dough down and divide into 3 parts. On a lightly floured surface or a Roulpat, shape each portion into an 18 inch strand by rolling the dough back & forth beneath your hands. Take the ropes and attach them by pinching the tops together and tucking them under. Braid until you run out of dough and finish by pinching together bottom ends and tucking them underneath the braid. Let rise until nearly doubled.

Whisk together the egg and water and brush over braid before baking. Bake in a 375-400 degree oven (depending on your oven's performance) until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Carefully remove from pan and cool on a wire rack. Savor.

12 comments:

  1. Yum that bread looks so good!!

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  2. I recognized your username right away on Tastespotting - I am on Allrecipes and I have really enjoyed the lovely photos you post there. It's nice to see you have a blog, I will be sure to follow along!

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  3. I made some butternut squash bread last year and loved it! I love the braid - I'll have to try it!

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  4. Deborah, the bread really is delicious! I credit the squash. :-)

    Carrie, it could certainly be made vegan, using soy milk & egg replacer--or just leave out the egg.

    Chefsquire, thanks for your kind comments!

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  5. Oooh, that looks magnificent. I love butternut squash.

    I like Oklahoma, and I've been there many times. My dad travels for business quite a bit. I'm located in Southwest Mo. There is another OK blogger - Jan, from Range Warfare. Hey, you forgot that you guys have the biggest McDonalds.

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  6. Thanks Emiline. Missouri is my second favorite state--my Mom was raised in Hartville.

    I'll certainly have to research that McDonalds. :0)

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  7. That looks awesome. That is a great looking bread. I love butternut squash!

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  8. I love bread, I like "fancy" bread, all gussied up with a braid and a shine. Add in an unusual ingredient, and I think I need this. I think I see this at Thanksgiving time.....thanks for a great post. Beautiful picture!

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  9. Granny the bread looks delicious. I've been thinking about rolls now lately. Cooking Light has a roll recipe for butternut squash I have been wanting to try!

    Glad to see another post here :)

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  10. Lori, thank you for stopping by!

    Katypi, I'll definitely make this recipe into rolls, and thank you.

    HoneyB, most of my posts are in my head--I'm a lazy blogger. ;0)

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  11. Ooh, Granny, what a great use for the butternut squash. Our CSA starts on Wednesday and I'm scared I'll get produce I won't have a clue on how to work with it. :) Beautiful post & photos.

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  12. Thanks Lady! I'm excited to hear about your CSA adventure.

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Go ahead, tell me what you think. :) I will reply to you below your post.