pumpkin challah

Pumpkin Challah

Perfect for when Thanksgiving and Hanukkah overlap, the spices of Pumpkin Challah bring out the natural sweetness of the traditional braided bread.

Two months ago I came across a recipe for Pumpkin Challah at The Shiksa in the Kitchen and I kid you not, it has remained open in my browser ever since. I have never been a big bread eater, but I have always had an enormous soft spot for challah. The slightly sweet, incredibly soft and airy combination proves to be irresistible every time. Given my seasonal pumpkin obsession, I just knew that this recipe would be perfect for our Thanksgiving bread this year (and probably every year from here on out). I divided the original recipe, which makes two large loaves, in half and created eight gorgeous braided rolls. This quite possibly may have made our kitchen smell better than anything I have ever baked. You absolutely can’t go wrong with fresh baked bread and seasonal pumpkin spices.

Pumpkin Challah

4.0 from 2 reviews
Yields: 8 rolls
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • ½ cup lukewarm water, divided
  • 3 teaspoons white sugar, divided
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 4½ cups all-purpose flour
Egg Wash
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 Tablespoon of water
  1. In the mixing bowl of your electric mixer, combine yeast, ¼ cup lukewarm water and 1 teaspoon of white sugar. Stir to combine and then let sit for 10 minutes to allow yeast to activate.
  2. Once yeast has expanded and foamed, add remaining water, sugar, eggs, honey, oil, salt and spices. Stir to combine.
  3. Add brown sugar and pumpkin puree and stir until smooth.
  4. Attach the dough hook to your mixer and add flour ½ cup at a time, mixing between each addition.
  5. Once dough is formed, remove from mixer and place on a well floured surface. Kneed until a smooth dough is formed that is elastic but not sticky.
  6. Wash and dry mixing bowl and coat with a light coating of canola oil. Return dough to bowl and turn over a few times to lightly coat in oil.
  7. Cover bowl with a damp dish towel and set aside.
  8. Bring a small saucepan full of water to a boil. Remove from heat and place bowl of dough and boiling water into the oven. Do not turn the oven on.
  9. Allow the dough to rise for one hour. Remove from oven, punch down and return to rise for an additional hour.
  10. After the second hour, remove dough and knead on a well floured surface until dough no longer feels sticky.
  11. Divide into eight equal portions and braid in desired shape.
  12. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  13. Place braided rolls two inches apart on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat.
  14. Create egg wash by mixing together egg yolk and water. Brush a light coating onto the outside of each roll.
  15. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until braids are golden brown and set.


  • Divide dough into four equal pieces.
  • Roll into ropes approximately six to eight inches long.
  • Lay the ropes in a tic-tac-toe pattern weaving ropes over and under each other.
  • Working clockwise, cross an under rope with the adjacent over rope until you have crossed all four ropes.
  • Repeat working counter-clockwise.
  • Tuck ends under to create a domed roll and place on baking sheet.

Pumpkin Challah

Whether you’re celebrating Thanksgiving, Hanukkah or both, we wish you a beautiful day of friends, family and delicious food. Happy Thanksgivukkah!

Pumpkin Challah


    • bake.love.give. says

      I love that challah is so forgiving. It’s a great beginner bread and gives such satisfaction with its beautiful rise.

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