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Milk Street Recipe

German-Style Winter Squash Bread

6 hours 45 minutes active, plus cooling

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German-Style Winter Squash Bread

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


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


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