Yeast Squash Bread
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed (you can also buy bagged frozen cubed squash and that works just as well)
1 (.25 ounce) package of active dry yeast
2 tablespoons of warm water
1/3 cup warm milk
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon water
If you are using fresh butternut squash, you will need to put the cubed squash in a large saucepan, cover with water, boil, and cook until fork tender. If you are using frozen squash, you can put the cubed squash in a microwaveable safe bowl with 1/2 cup of water and microwave on high for 10-25 minutes until tender. Once tender, mash the squash.
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and let stand until “creamy or foamy”, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture, milk, butter, 1 3/4 cups mashed squash (if there is any left over, freeze for next time), 1 egg, brown sugar, salt, and flour. Stir until well combined.
Turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Spray a clean large bowl with non-stick cooking spray and place the dough in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about an hour.
Punch (deflate) the dough and turn it out onto a floured surface. Divide into 6 equal pieces and roll into 12 inch long ropes. Take 3 ropes and braid together, pinching ends to secure. (The photos of this bread are from when we made them for a local potluck. We wanted more people to be able to have a taste/slice so we made them skinnier and longer to accommodate a lot of people. Normally my loves are shorter and much plumper!) Do the same with the other 3 ropes. Place braids on a lightly greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise for an additional 30 minutes. In a small bowl, beat together the remaining egg and 1 tablespoon water and brush loaves with egg wash. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees F or until golden brown on top and hollow when the bottom of the bread is thumped. Cool before slicing and serving.
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