Steam the pumpkin chunks in a steamer for about 20 minutes, or until very soft. (If you don’t have a steamer, pop the pumpkin in a metal or enamel colander, set it over a pot of boiling water, then cover with a lid that fits as tightly as possible.) Using a blender or food processor, blend the pumpkin to a smooth purée. Set aside to cool.
In a stand mixer with a dough hook, mix the yeast and flour and salt. Whisk in the pumpkin puree, orange zest, eggs, and sugar. Now add the flour: just dump it all in and mix.
Add the butter bit by bit, and knead (if doing this by hand, wet your hands and use the stretch and fold technique), until fully incorporated. The dough should be shiny, soft and sticky. Cover and leave it somewhere warm for 60–30 minutes, then give it another knead on a well-floured surface; it might feel sticky at first, but that will soon go.
Divide the dough into four equal pieces and knead each one into a ball on a well-floured surface. Roll each ball into a long sausage, then put it on a barely floured surface and roll from the centre to the edges, stretching it out to 45cm/17½in or so. Put the dough sausages parallel to each other, perpendicular to you. Squish and stretch the top ends with your fingers, so that they become a little thinner, then pinch together. Now, working from right to left, take the sausage on the right, feed it over its neighbour to the left, under the next sausage, and then over the final sausage. Again, starting with the sausage on the right, feed it over, under and over again, and keep going until you have plaited the full lengths of the four dough sausages, then pinch together the bottom ends. The middle will look a bit bulkier, so stretch the whole thing delicately to even it up.
Gently transfer the plait to a tray lined with floured baking paper. Connect the two ends together, to make a plaited circle with an open centre, then cover and leave for an hour. To make the glaze, lightly beat the egg in a bowl and add the milk.
Brush the glaze all over the kolach, then sprinkle over the seeds (if you’re using chunky ones, such as pumpkin, that tend to fall off, dab a little extra egg wash on top to make sure that they stick), then leave to prove again for 30–60 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7. Bake the kolach for 30 minutes, or until golden-brown, then transfer to a rack to cool.
To make the chutney, heat the oil in a large saucepan. Once hot add the shallot, garlic, ginger, rhubarb and cook for 3-5 minutes.
Add the star anise, cinnamon, juniper berries, vinegar and sugar and cook for 15-20 minutes or until cooked down and soft.
To serve, tear or slice the bread and serve with the chutney and slices of cheese.
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