1teaspoon (2 grams)ground cinnamonor pumpkin pie spice
4tablespoons (60 milliliters)maple syrup
whole milkas needed to thin the glaze
Begin the Sponge
Add the honey and yeast to the milk. Allow the yeast to bloom in the warm liquid for 5 minutes. If it begins to foam, continue. If it doesn't, throw it out and start again with new yeast.
Add the bread flour to a medium-size mixing bowl, then add the yeast mixture and whisk them together to create a very thick batter.
Wrap the bowl in plastic wrap, or cover it with a clean kitchen towel, and allow the sponge to ferment for 1 hour in a draft-free, warm area of your kitchen.
Mix the Bread Dough
Add the sponge to the bowl of a stand mixer, followed by the eggs, sugar, and salt to the bowl and begin mixing on low speed using the paddle attachment, or by hand.
Add 2 of cups of the bread flour to the batter in the mixing bowl to create a batter that is similar in thickness to a drop biscuit dough.Once the batter reaches that consistency, switch the paddle attachment to the dough hook and add the remaining flour, a little at time, until all is incorporated.
Begin incorporating the room temperature butter, one tablespoon (at a time). Mix the butter into the dough until it is no longer visible. Continue kneading the dough for 10 minutes on second speed, until the dough is soft, supple, and no longer sticky.
Remove the dough from the bowl and lightly grease the bowl with a neutral-tasting oil. Return the dough to the bowl and flip it over to oil the surface of the dough. Cover the bowl and let the dough to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk in a warm, draft-free area.
Make the Pumpkin-Pecan Spread
In a mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, brown sugar, and salt to the bowl. Fold the three together until the mixture is well-combined. Set this aside.
Next, spray two 9 1/2 x 5-inch loaf pans with non-stick baking spray. Set these aside.
Form and Pan the Babka
Once the dough has completed its first rising, punch down the dough to dispel the gas that has developed during proofing.Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, then roll the dough out into a 20x10-inch rectangle.
Use an offset spatula to spread the filling over the surface of your dough, leaving a 1" margin on one of the long sides (for sealing the roll after you've rolled it up). Sprinkle the pecan pieces over the pumpkin spread. Press the pieces into the filling slightly.
Beginning with the side without the 1" margin, roll the dough into a tight "cinnamon-roll" log. Cut this log into halves that are 9 1/2-10-inches long.Using a lame, or a very sharp knife, cut each roll down through the center, leaving the last inch of the logs uncut. This joined dough will make twisting the babkas easier.
Twist the Pumpkin-Pecan Babka by overlapping the 2 sections of rope. Try to keep the filling pointing up as you twist.
Proof (Again), then Bake
Place your rack in the lower third of your oven. You don't want the rack to sit directly in the middle of the oven, but on the next rack down. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
Place the twisted dough into your prepared bread pans. Cover the pans, then allow the bread to rise in a warm, draft-free area until the dough reaches just under an inch from the top of the bread pan- this will take anywhere from 30-45 minutes.
Prepare the Egg Wash and Bake the Babka
While the dough is rising, whisk together the egg yolk and water for the egg wash.
Brush the surface of the babka with the egg wash once it has risen a second time.Bake the loaves for 45-1 hour. Or until the loaves sound hollow when tapped and the surface is a deep golden brown.If you find that the babka is browning too much on one side, rotate the pan. If, after awhile, it's browning too much overall, lightly cover it with a piece of foil.
Make the Cinnamon-Maple Glaze
In a small mixing bowl, combine the powdered sugar, ground cinnamon, and salt.Use a small whisk to stir in the maple syrup and milk.
The glaze should leave ribbons behind when the whisk is lifted from it. If it's too thick, add a splash of milk until it's the proper consistency. Spoon the Cinnamon-Maple Glaze into a piping bag and set aside for later. If you don't have a piping bag, just leave it in the bowl.
Cool, Glaze, Slice and Enjoy (or Freeze)
When the Pumpkin-Pecan Babkas have finished baking, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool, in the pan, for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, remove it from the pan and transfer it to a cooling rack. Allow it to cool for at least 20 minutes.
Snip off the tip of the piping bag and pipe the glaze on to the surface of the babka, or you can also drizzle it from a spoon if you don't have a piping bag.
When ready to serve, slice the bread and enjoy!The bread will remain fresh up to 3 days in an airtight bag or container.
You can glaze the babkas even if you plan to freeze the entire loaf, or any part of the loaf.
Wrap the sliced loaf(ves) in plastic wrap and store in freezer storage bags for up to two months.
When ready to serve, thaw the loaves at room temperature and toast.