This is a recipe I got from one of those small paperback cookbooks in the grocery store. Click here for the link to the original recipe (the completed picture is also from their site, as it looks clearer that any picture I had available). The recipe below is my 3rd (or 4th) version of the original. Not much tweaking has actually occurred in our favorite version of this, which is part of the reason I tracked down the website, gotta give those folks at Pillsbury their due, right? This wreath is usually something that gets made at Christmas time and given as a gift or brought to a gathering.
What You Will Need:
In between 6 and 6 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar (packed)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 packages regular active dry yeast
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup butter (go real, salted butter here, I promise you will notice the difference)
1 1/2 cups apple juice
Fancy Top: (which is really easy & totally looks just like the picture, so give it a go)
2 Tablespoons water
2 teaspoons sesame seed
2 teaspoons poppy-seed
What to Do:
In a small sauce pan on medium/high heat combine pumpkin, butter and juice. You will want the butter melted and the mixture to start to bubble, then immediately remove from heat.
Combine dry bread ingredients in a large mixing bowl. (Use only 2 ½ cups of flour at this time)
Add hot pumpkin mix to flour; mix with electric mixer until just combined. Start to gradually add more flour until you have a soft dough. (You probably will not need all the flour listed)
Dust flour on (clean) countertop and place dough on top; knead to mix ingredients really well. (spend 2 to 4 minutes doing this, but keep in mind over kneading is just as bad as over mixing and how you end up with doorstops instead of fluffy breads).
Butter (again as a verb) a medium-sized mixing bowl and roll dough inside to grease it all over. Cover dough in bowl with Saran Wrap. Leave the dough on the counter for at least 1 hour. (It should grow about 2 time its previous size)
While you are waiting, butter a large round cake pan.
When the dough is huge punch it down and then divide it into 2 halves, then each half into 3 equal (or as best as you can) parts.
Now the fun part! This is Play-doh you can lick later and not regret. Roll each sixth into a dough rope (try to keep them all the same length). Using 3 ropes at a time pinch the ends together and braid. Add other ropes, pinch into a circle when you get to the end.
Place in cake pan. Cover with (clean) dish towel and put back on counter for about 30 minutes. (That yeast’ll go crazy and double again, which can be very entertaining for any tiny cooks in your kitchen, they can also really help with this next part)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
While your wreath is rising whisk egg and water in a small bowl.
Once wreath is ready to bake use a pastry brush to brush on egg mixture (it’s called an egg wash) if they can “paint” gently let those tiny cooks do this. Lightly sprinkle seeds on top.
Put in oven and bake about 25 minutes (it will be a lovely golden brown when done).
Remove from pan and allow to cool.
*Note: this is great room temperature or warm, but warm and dipped in apple butter? That is something that you think about later if you know what I mean…*