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Milk Street Bowtie German-Style Winter Squash Bread

German-Style Winter Squash Bread

Makes one 1¾-pound loaf

6 hours 45 minutes active, plus cooling

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This inviting, impressive braided loaf gets its warm, golden hue from roasted butternut squash. The squash also gives the crumb a moistness, and the milk, eggs and butter lend a brioche-like richness. The German bread called Kürbisbrot (pumpkin bread, literally translated), in particular Luisa Weiss’ recipe from her book “Classic German Baking,” was our starting point for this autumnal loaf. Kürbisbrot is commonly shaped as a simple round loaf, but we took Weiss’ suggestion and made a special-occasion bread by forming the dough into a braid. We also added a touch of allspice for a warm, subtle fragrance and a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds just before baking. The dough is soft and sticky but also strong and elastic; it requires a sturdy stand mixer to develop a solid gluten structure and would be difficult to make this dough by hand. When you turn the dough out of the mixer bowl, it may seem too wet and batter-like to be shapeable, but with rising and refrigerating, it becomes workable. Store leftover bread at room temperature in an airtight container or zip-close bag for up to three days. It makes great toast once it begins to stale.

Makes one

1¾-pound loaf

Tip

Don’t be tempted to use canned squash instead of roasted fresh squash. Its flavor is more muted and its water content alters the moistness of the dough. Also, don’t forget to bring the butter to room temperature before starting the recipe, as it needs to be very soft in order to incorporate properly into the batter-like dough. Finally, don’t add too much more flour during kneading, before the butter is mixed in. If the dough pulls away cleanly from the sides of the bowl, it contains enough flour.

6 hours

45 minutes active, plus cooling

1 1/2-2 pound butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
1/4 cup whole milk
42 grams (2 tablespoons) honey
3 large eggs, divided
406 grams (3 cups plus 2 tablespoons) all-purpose flour, plus more as needed and for dusting
1 teaspoon instant yeast
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon table salt
57 grams (4 tablespoons) salted butter, cut into 4 pieces, room temperature
30 grams (3 tablespoons) pumpkin seeds, chopped
Ingredients
  • 1½-2

    pound butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded

  • ¼

    cup whole milk

  • 42

    grams (2 tablespoons) honey

  • 3

    large eggs, divided

  • 406

    grams (3 cups plus 2 tablespoons) all-purpose flour, plus more as needed and for dusting

  • 1

    teaspoon instant yeast

  • ¾

    teaspoon ground allspice

  • 1

    teaspoon table salt

  • 57

    grams (4 tablespoons) salted butter, cut into 4 pieces, room temperature

  • 30

    grams (3 tablespoons) pumpkin seeds, chopped

Directions

German-Style Winter Squash Bread

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Reviews
Scott W.
January 23, 2023
Absolutely delicious
I made this last Sunday and it was incredibly delicious. It is light and airy with a very good flavor. This is a keeper.
Susan G.
December 16, 2022
Perfect holiday bread
Made this for the Thanksgiving holiday with my uncle and aunt, who spent a decade in Germany. They loved the flavor and texture of the bread and it turned out to be a favorite of my picky grandchildren.
Lynn L.
November 2, 2022
Pretty needs more flavor for my taste buds
Just made this recipe because it sounded interesting with the butternut squash. The bread itself was a great texture and color and braiding the bread was a great touch. I do like bolder flavored breads so the flavors were not as strong as I would have liked. For the next round, I am going to roast and pan sear the squash after it roasts for more caramelization before I mash it. Also, add more allspice(2x?) and use a different salt or more of the same salt. Can't wait!
Julie K.

What flour would you recommend to make this bread gluten free?

Lynn C.

Hi Julie -

We would recommend a gluten-free flour blend that also contains xanthan gum, such as Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free 1 for 1 Baking Flour or Cup4Cup Multipurpose Flour. Nut flours won't provide enough structure for this bread.

Best,
The Milk Street Team

Judie G.

This was easy and wonderful. The only thing I wish they stated was the size of the rimmed baking sheet. As I feel the size I used was TOO big and the bread was more flat then high. But still tasted great.

Mary B.

My loaf was also flatter than I wanted. Beautiful, but not tall. In hindsight, I wish I had made the three ropes shorter and thicker. Taste was lovely but the texture was a bit dry--much like challah. Our family didn't devour it like I hoped/imaged, so we used the leftovers as wonderful French toast.

Bettie H.

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Jennifer B.

Outstanding bread, easy on the eyes and the palate! Also great way to get rid of butternut squash.