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

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

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


  • 1 package active dry yeast (I prefer Red Star brand)
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water, divided (approximately 110ยบ)
  • 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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