With a pillowy soft interior, chewy crust, and warm spices, this Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread is the perfect fall loaf!
In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl, combine the warm milk, the yeast and 1 tablespoon of the flour. Allow to rest for 5 minutes.
Add the pumpkin puree, spices, light brown sugar, salt, egg, and melted butter. Mix until combined. Add the flour ½ cup at a time, mixing well between additions. After you have added 2 cups of flour, add the chocolate chips, then continue with the rest of the flour. When the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl switch to your dough hook, or a wooden spoon if making bread by hand.
If using a stand mixer, knead the dough for 4 minutes, adding extra flour 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed – just enough to keep the dough from sticking to the sides of the bowl. If making the bread by hand, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 4-5 minutes, sprinkling with flour as needed to prevent sticking. *Note: Although I generally use my stand mixer to knead my dough, I always turn it out onto a floured surface and finish the kneading by hand, for the last minute or so. It’s the best way to know when the dough has been kneaded enough. The dough is done when it’s smooth and bounces back when you press your thumb into it.
Place the dough in a deep container greased with 1 tsp of olive oil. Turn the dough once to coat the top and cover with plastic wrap. Allow dough to rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1½ to 2 hours.
Spray a spring-form cake pan with baking spray (such as Pam) and lightly flour. Sprinkle the flour on the bottom and along the sides, then invert the pan and tap out any excess flour.
Divide the dough into 3 equal portions, and roll each portion out into a smooth, thick strip about 15 inches long, with the ends slightly thinner than the middle. Be gentle with the dough or you’ll tear it, which wouldn’t affect the final flavor but would influence the way the finished loaf looks.
Lay the ropes side-by-side, not quite touching. Beginning in the middle and working towards you, braid the lower half of the three ropes. To braid, alternately move the outside ropes over the one in the center – left over, right over, left over – until you come to the end. Now go to the other side of your working space and braid the other half, this time moving the outside ropes under the center one. Braid tightly – you don’t want any gaps. When you finish braiding each side crimp the tapered ends together, then tuck them under. Twist the braid around itself, pinwheel fashion, gently pressing the outside end against the larger body of dough. Transfer to your prepared pan.
Whisk together 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of olive oil, this is going to be the glaze for your bread. Gently brush the dough with it. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
About 30 minutes before baking, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Brush the dough with the egg mixture again. The dough will have stretched during rising, so be sure to get any spots that don’t have a glaze on them.
Place the pan on a rack in the center of the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until browned and the loaf sounds hollow when you tap it with your fingers. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then transfer the bread to a cooling rack.
Allow to cool at least 20 more minutes before slicing.
Keywords: pumpkin loaf, pumpkin yeast bread, breakfast breads