Pumpkin Challah

Pumpkin ChallahSo I have been on a little challah kick lately. I mean who doesn’t want to fill your house apartment with the sweet sweet smell of freshly baked bread on a Shabbat eve? And I’m on a bit of a pumpkin kick too. Is it sweet? Is it savory? Crazy pills! So is it any wonder I combined the two? This week I have been pretty busy attending happy hours toying with recipes for Thanksgiving (my Brussels sprouts with pecans and cranberries in a brown butter sauce is going to be out of this world if I do say so myself!) But I managed to find time to watch a Jersey Shore marathon bake a pumpkin challah just for Jew! This may be my best challah yet. It isn’t too sweet (you could add more sugar or honey if you like) so perfect for your day after Thanksgiving epic turkey sandwich. Or it would make one heck of a French toast. And of course I have a few other uses I’ll reveal on the blog soon…

What are y’all making for Thanksgiving? I could use some last minute ideas!

Here is all you need for your own pumpkin challah. I used part whole wheat flour, but mostly because I was running out of white flour. Okay that is totally the reason. So you can do what you like!

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First up, make your yeast slurry by mixing yeast with hot water and let it sit for 10 minutes. While you are waiting, mix up the dry ingredients: 3 cups of flour, pumpkin pie spice and salt.

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Now time for the star! You could definitely roast a sugar pumpkin and puree your own pumpkin. One pumpkin yields about one can’s worth. But laziness triumphed and can it was. And yes that is a unicorn head pinata in the background. Thanks for asking.

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Now, add the other wet ingredients to the slurry: oil, egg, and honey. Mix that sucker up and stir into the dry ingredients.

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Then combine, and add more flour if your dough is too sticky up to 1 cup.

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Looking good, dough! Now knead for 5-10 minutes. I used my fancy schmancy mixer to do the work for me while I searched eBay for ugly Hanukkah sweaters. They don’t come cheap! I may have to make my own…

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After kneading, put your dough in a warm bowl in a warm place (I put mine on my dryer!) covered in saran wrap and let it rise for about an hour until it doubles in size. Another option is covered in a warm oven (whatever the lowest temperature you oven can be on).

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Now for the fun part- braiding! I usually go for a three strand braid but I decided to go for a six strander this time. I’m crazy like that! I used this video to learn how.

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Just divide your dough into six pieces and roll each one into a strand. Time to braid!

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Ta da! I think I went wrong somewhere in the braiding process but let’s just go with it. Watching the video again, I totally missed one of the twists. Oops!

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Let your dough rise one more time for 45 minutes in a warm place and wash with an egg yolk.

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Bake for 35 minutes or so until golden brown and your kitchen smells awesome.

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Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

Pumpkin Challah
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A cinnamon spicy pumpkin flavored challah for fall!
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 1 ½ packages active dry yeast (about 3½ tsp)
  • 3 - 4 cups white bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk for the dough and 1 egg for the glaze
  1. Mix the yeast into the warm water in a bowl to form a slurry. Leave for 10 minutes to dissolve.
  2. While the slurry is forming, mix 3 cups white bread flour, pumpkin pie spice and salt together in a large bowl
  3. In the bowl with the slurry, whisk in pumpkin, 1 egg and 1 egg yolk, oil, and honey.
  4. Make a well in your flour mixture and add in the pumpkin mixture to form a dough. Add more flour up to 1 cup until your dough is soft and not sticky.
  5. Knead your dough for 5-10 minutes.
  6. Put your dough in a warm, dry bowl and cover with saran wrap. Or covered in a warm oven (as low a temperature as your oven will be on). Put in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour until tripled in size.
  7. Form your dough into a braided challah. I did six-strand of sorts but for a simple three strand diving your dough into three parts and braid up starting in the middle and securing at the ends.
  8. Then put the challah on parchment paper and cover with saran wrap for another 45 minutes until it doubles in size again, or uncovered in a warm oven.
  9. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  10. Wash the challah with an egg yolk and bake for 35 minutes until golden brown.

P.S. Check out more videos on my Google+ page!





  1. Bubbe says

    Traditional challah recipes use a large number of eggs, fine white flour, water, yeast, and sugar. But this is not traditional…..this sets a whole new standard in challahs!!!!!!

    Toasted with a little butter and cinnamon? YUM!!!!!!!!!

  2. says

    Totally their loss! I am sad they did not call….I think you have an original POV and you have amazing wit….they are nuts…maybe they were intimidated by your talent!

  3. Ellen says

    Is this cooking all Kosher? I would love to find a place that cooks baked foods like the kosher bakeries’ that I was taken to as a child in the Bronx, NY. It used to be jewish there, but now is not–mostly Mexican and hispanic. The bakery is long gone.

  4. Marta says

    Hi Amy, This is my first time here. I was led by another link and was so Happy to have found your blog! I love Bread and as an old time saying said…. You don’t have to be Jewish to love it! I was born in NY and was always surrounded by may cultures and traditions, so to find this blog on how to make Challah and how to Braid it is just Fantastic!!! Thanks so much hope to enjoy more of your recipes. (BTW, I am now in Oregon) Now if I could get a recipe for the good old Potato Knish I would be in Heaven! lol That with a slice of NY Pizza I can die happy! Anyway, you have given this old gal a blast from my childhood past., Thanks again!

    • says

      Welcome, Marta! I made a sweet potato knish once, but I definitely have more knishes on my to cook list. Let me know if you have any other ideas and hope you enjoy!

  5. Evelyn says

    Just put this challah in the oven! It’s perfect for Sukkot, but the dough is so incredibly sticky (even with the extra cup of flour). I had to give up on braiding and make it into a pull apart challah. I’m sure it will be delicious, but any advice for making the dough easier to work with?

  6. Evelyn says

    Just tried this recipe for the second time using half whole wheat flour and that totally changed my sticky dough problem! :)

  7. cydney robbins says

    Rise it on the dryer! What a smart Idea! since I moved from Chicago to Florida I no longer have a radiator on which to rise my challah. (or a sweltering hot top of my fridge on a hot summer day) So I browsed around on the computer, and you had the answer! thank you. Do you think if I put the towel covered bowl out in the hot sun it would be too hot and kill the yeast? This pumpkin challah looks delish, btw. thank you! shavua tove.

  8. says

    It was delicious! My husband made the dough and I braided and baked it. Thanks for the video for braiding with six strands. It came out a little lopsided but I’m sure my skills will improve with practice. Thanks for a great recipe.