This pumpkin challah is perfect for holiday parties. Full of fall spices and pumpkin puree, it’s a perfect seasonal bread.
I just can’t get enough pumpkin right now! I’m thinking about bringing this bread to Thanksgiving dinner with my family, what do you think? The leftovers will make delicious pumpkin challah french toast the next morning.
This recipe comes out slightly more dense than a typical challah. My bread making skills are still in the early stages and I’ve made this recipe several times now with slight adjustments each time. I’m open to suggestions on how to lighten it up. It’s an exact replica of our school recipe, which was as perfect as any challah you’d find in a bakery. The only differences here are the pumpkin puree, an additional cup of flour to compensate for the puree, and some spices. Perhaps I need more yeast to offset the additional flour? The dough certainly rises normally.
The first time I made this bread I was underwhelmed with the pumpkin flavor. I’m used to the flavor of my pumpkin pie, soup and ravioli. Once you add flour, the flavor intensity just isn’t the same. I decided to try adding Pumpkin Powder and it worked great! It’s certainly not essential to the recipe, but it really adds a great flavor. I highly recommend it.
Pumpkin Challah Bread
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 2 tablespoons yeast
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 4 ounces unsalted butter, melted but cooled
- 7 cups bread flour
- 15 ounces pumpkin puree
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- optional: 4 tablespoons pumpkin powder
- egg wash 1 egg beaten
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the warm water and yeast. Allow the mixture to sit for 3 minutes.
- Add eggs, melted butter, salt, sugar, spices, pumpkin and whisk until smooth.
- Add 2 cups of flour and whisk until smooth. Continue adding flour and combining, switching to your hands when the dough becomes too thick for the whisk. Fold out onto a lightly floured surface.
- Knead the dough for 5 minutes. It should be soft and smooth, not sticky. If the dough is sticky simply incorporate more flour while kneading, around 1/4 cup at a time until it's no longer sticking. You can use a small amount of canola oil on your hands as well.
- Round the dough into a ball and place in a clean, lightly oiled bowl (use canola or vegetable oil, something neutral), cover, and allow to double in size. This works well in a warm area, such as on top of your oven set to a low temperature. Don't rush this step, really let the dough rise.
- Remove the cover, punch the dough back down, cover again, and place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.
- Turn the dough onto the table and square off.
- Divide into 3 equal portions, join together at the top and braid them together.
- Roll, pinch and turn under the ends under to close loaf.
- Proof until double in size.
- Brush with egg wash.
- Bake at 400 degrees until golden brown, about 40-45 minutes.
- Brush with butter (or honey butter) while hot.
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