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Pumpkin Challah - An autumn twist on this classic braided loaf

Pumpkin Challah Bread

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Pumpkin challah is the perfect bread recipe to serve at your holiday dinner! If I had to choose a favorite bread, it would be challah.

I gave this classic egg bread an autumn twist by braiding and baking a fabulous autumnal Challah Recipe.

Pumpkin Challah wrapped in a red napkin on a cutting board

Pumpkin Challah

I am joining a group of some of my favorite bloggers to celebrate autumn with a Fall Harvest Dinner Party hosting by Eileen of The Joy of Caking! As you could probably guess, I just had to bake something spectacular to share with my friends. I finally faced and conquered the 6 strand braided challah, much in part to an on-line video tutorial by Joan Nathan. I can barely braid hair, so this was a huge coup.

I enlisted my daughter’s assistance and we both watched the video as I braided and repeated her instructions aloud. I hope the next time is easier! But the results were a spectacular loaf. I’d been curious after seeing a few bloggers share their pumpkin challah recipes this fall.  I wasn’t sold on challah full of autumn spices, as I wanted just the earthy sweetness of the pumpkin to shine through, so omitted the cinnamon et al.

Pumpkin Challah slices on a wooden cutting board

Pumpkin Challah Recipe

I could definitely taste the pumpkin, a nice subtle sweetness. I sent part of the loaf home with my oldest and he did not see much difference in flavor from regular challah. It may have been due to a massive amount of butter on his slice, but I was pleased it wasn’t too squashy. Pumpkin challah bread would be marvelous for French toast, especially topped with some cinnamon-spiced apples.

Pumpkin Challah on a cooling rack

Tips for Braiding Challah Bread

  • Divide dough into 3 (or however many strands you want in your braid) equal parts. Use a scale if you don’t trust your ability to eyeball equal amounts.
  • Shape each dough ball into a log, then gently roll into long strands. Do not stretch or you will see striations as your bread rises.
  • Line the 3 strands  parallel on a floured work surface. If one strand is longer, place it in the middle. Leave a bit of space between the strands, an inch or so.
  • Pinch the 3 strands together at the top and tuck them under the loaf.
  • Braid as you would 3 strands of hair, then pinch and tuck the opposite end when finished braiding.
  • After the bread is proofed, brush with an egg wash for a lovely sheen on the baked loaf. Sometimes, I will do a second egg wash after 20-25 minutes so that those nooks and crannies that were exposed as the bread rose, will also be glazed.
  • There are lots of on-line video tutorials for braiding bread. Check them out if you’re not sure how braid a 3 stranded bread or if you want to try one of the other multi-strand options.

Fall Harvest Dinner Menu:

Make sure to check out what these super sweet foodie friends brought to the party, and please check out their lovely blogs:



More Pumpkin Recipes You’ll Love:

Pumpkin Challah | An autumn twist on this classic braided loaf

Pumpkin Challah

A fabulous 6 strand, pumpkin challah loaf adapted from The Shiska blog

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Yield 1 loaf


  • 1 package active dry yeast (I prefer Red Star brand)
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water, divided (approximately 110ΒΊ)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whisked egg (half of one large egg)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3 1/2-4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Egg wash::

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons water


  1. Pour ¼ cup of the lukewarm water (about 110 degrees) into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer. Add the yeast and 1½ teaspoons of sugar to the bowl, stir to dissolve. Wait 10 minutes. The yeast should bubble. Add the remaining ¼ cup lukewarm water to the bowl along with the rest of the sugar, egg, egg yolks, honey, oil and salt and whisk to combine. Mix in the brown sugar and pumpkin puree. Using the paddle attachment of your stand mixer, begin to add the flour slowly till the dough is smooth and elastic, not sticky. Mix on low for a couple minutes to knead the dough. You can also do this by hand by mixing in the flour with a wooden spoon, then kneading by hand.
  2. Grease a mixing bowl, then add the ball of dough. Twist it around to grease the bottom of the dough, then flip the dough over and cover with a damp towel. Place in your unheated oven and add a pan of hot water to one of the shelves. Let the dough rise for 2 hours, punching down at the 1 hour mark.
  3. Punch the dough down into the bowl a few times, then turn the dough out onto your floured work surface. Knead in some flour if the dough is sticky.
  4. Divide the dough into thirds and roll each into a long snake. Braid as desired. I have attached a video on my blog on how to make a more complicated 6-strand blog.
  5. Place the braided bread on a parchment lined baking sheet. Make the egg wash by whisking together the egg and water. Brush the loaf with the egg wash and let rest as you preheat the oven to 350º. Bake for 35-40 minutes total but turn the pan at the halfway mark. If the loaf is browning too quickly, tent with foil. Remove to cooling rack when bread is done (will sound hollow when you rap on the loaf). Serve when cool.


Total time does not reflect proofing times.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 443Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 47mgSodium: 126mgCarbohydrates: 90gFiber: 3gSugar: 6gProtein: 12g


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Pumpkin Challah | An autumn twist on this classic braided loaf

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50 comments on “Pumpkin Challah Bread”

  1. Conquered is putting it mildly Liz, this is beautiful. Believe it or not I had challah for the first time a couple of weeks ago. I would love to have a slice (or two) of this and I bet it makes wonderful French Toast.

  2. Liz, what a beautiful bread. We are excited to make this but will not likely match your perfect loaf! So excited to be a part of this with you!
    All the best ~ Sharon and Denise

  3. Challah is one of my favorite breads and yours is beautiful Liz! I’m sure the pumpkin adds great flavor and it really gives the loaf a warm seasonal color:@)

  4. Liz, you never cease to amaze me! I only wish that I had the patience to make a beautifully braided challah like yours. I have a feeling (knowing myself like I do) that mine would not look so pretty when I was done πŸ™‚ I just wished you’d saved me a piece – lol… Thanks so much for helping host our dinner party. It’s been a blast!

  5. Liz….this bread is no less than STUNNING! Oh how I wish I were a better bread baker. I’ve never attempted a braid…but you have mastered it! I love that your bread is not too sweet. Though I can imagine turning it into a yummy bread pudding, too! So happy to have shared in this virtual dinner party with you. Only 2 regrets….we all didn’t get to meet in person….and I didn’t actually get to taste this beautiful bread! ; – }

  6. Confession: I am a confirmed yeast killer. I don’t know why I fail at it, but I now have a mental block about proofing yeast. Your beautiful pumpkin challah may inspire me to try again, Liz. I love all things pumpkin and I excel at eating yeast breads. πŸ™‚

  7. Your breads are always so lovely, Lizzy! This is gorgeous. I would love to try a pumpkin challah. I haven’t baked a challah in a while and this is what I’ll do next-love it!

  8. OMG – that looks gorgeous and with pumpkin too. This is a must on my Thanksgiving table this year!!!

  9. Gorgeous challah Liz! Baking a pumpkin challah has been on my bucket list for quite some time…now you’ve really inspired me πŸ˜‰

  10. Wow Liz, what a beautiful challah! You definitely conquered and made this bread proud – it’s a stunning braided beauty πŸ™‚ Love the wonderful color from the pumpkin and I’ll bet it tasted amazing!

  11. Um….I am beyond impressed with this Challah! I need you to teach me how to bake πŸ™‚

  12. Bravo, Liz! Your homework with the YouTube obviously paid off. The challah is a work of art!

  13. Liz, WOW! This is perfection! I could not be left alone with this challah, because I would eat the entire loaf in one sitting. I’ve never attempted any recipe with yeast, let along braid anything but my hair, so I think this is way beyond my skill set. I’m pinning it anyway, because if I were ever to try a yeast recipe, this would be the one. Oh, yes!

  14. Beautiful looking challah.. Just look at that wonderful golden color!

  15. Mmmm… Feeling hungry by just looking at that

  16. Your challah is absolutely gorgeous, love that you added pumpkin!

  17. I’d show this to my sister but she has barely enough time to sleep, let alone bake.

  18. Stunning Liz! I need to add this to my list of flavored challah recipes. You certainly mastered the 6 strand braid! I love how challah dough is versatile for adding SO many flavors.

  19. This is beautiful! Can’t believe you made this for the first time. The pumpkin adds such a lovely yellow hue. Absolutely Stunning!

  20. My word… that is one of the most perfectly looking breads I have ever seen!! You did a marvelous job with that… and I think it’s perfect with the pumpkin. πŸ™‚

  21. I am totally making this for Thanksgivikkah! Although I can’t eat it (no gluten, egg or dairy for my crazy belly), my guests are sure to love it!

  22. Look at that absolutely GORGEOUS braid!! I’m SO impressed! What’s more, I love that you made it pumpkin. I’ve made challah once before and now it’s time to do it again with this pumpkin version. Yum!

  23. What a perfect challah, great work!!

  24. It’s gorgeous, Liz. I’m glad that you left out the spices. While I like pumpkin spice in pies and such, I don’t think it would really fit in a yeast bread like that. What you made looks perfect. And that braid is gorgeous!

  25. WOW that is one beautiful challah! Your hard work certainly paid off with the braiding. I have a strong feeling that this may be my first challah. Pumpkin is starting to grow on me! I’m so glad to see you at the dinner party! I admire your baking talent, Liz. I hope you are having a good week. πŸ™‚

  26. Gorgeous challah, Liz! What a lovely color. I feel like I can taste it already πŸ™‚

  27. You did a great job braiding this loaf. It is beautiful! Would love to try it. Pinned πŸ™‚

  28. I saw this on her blog and I must say it sounds great. Yours is gorgeous and i can’t wait to give it a try. I have it booked for Thanksgivingkah!

  29. Liz I saw this post on the Shiska blog and wondered what it would taste like. Color wise it’s a beauty and your braids look perfect. Lucky for you your daughter was standing by keeping you on track. I was by myself talking and counting out loud but my husband kept walking in to talk to me and I lost track and had to start over. Fortunately the dough was very forgiving. I hope you loved it. Now I need to try her pumpkin version.

  30. This challah is just gorgeous!!! It looks like it was braided by a pro. I always have problems with braiding bread due to dough shrinkage.

  31. Challah is my favorite bread for French toast and this looks absolutely delicious! My mouth is watering! I can’t wait to try this!

  32. Your challah is absolutely gorgeous.. love the addition of pumpkin to it πŸ™‚

  33. Dear Lizzy, Absolutely beautiful!! This bread would disappear in a NY minute on my table!! Blessings dear. Catherine xo

  34. Next time I give challah a go, I am definitely adding pumpkin! I can only imagine how delicious it must taste, adding that extra sweetness to an already slightly sweet and eggy bread. Also that color is just stunning!

  35. well just looking at it you would never know that you struggled with it at all! it looks great! i’m curious about making a pumpkin one too, challah bread is one of my faves!

  36. Your loaves look beautiful, you’re so talented! I’ve been wanting to give these a try for months, but I think I’ll go for the pumpkin version, because the color is amazing and I’m sure it tastes wonderfully too πŸ™‚

  37. Yay, so exciting to conquer a bread recipe! Your challah looks amazing!!! What a perfect treat to bring to the dinner:-) Gorgeous, Hugs, Terra

  38. Challah bread is so good, love the idea of a pumpkin flavor to it. And congrats on the 6 braid. It can get so confusing, it is truly beautiful.

  39. It’s a super beautiful Challah!
    I’ve been making pumpkin challahs for quite some time now, and we love it

  40. You’ve been featured this week on BeBetsy at the BRAG ABOUT IT No. 27

    Have a fun HALLOWEEN!

    Sharon and Denise β™₯

  41. Hi Liz, this challah looks beautiful but I was wondering if I would get the same result using fresh pumpkin? I’ve made challah before but this looks delicious and would love to try it. Any thoughts?

  42. Your challah looks perfect Liz. I think I am going to put it on my list for the holidays. Pinned!

  43. This looks amazing! I’ve never attempted challah bread, but you’ve inspired me to try it. Can’t wait to make it!

  44. Everyone at my house loved it! Such a delicious pumpkin recipe!

  45. My loaf didn’t turn quite as picture perfect as yours but it sure was delicious! I love how there is a distinct pumpkin flavor without being overwhelming. Great recipe!

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