pumpkin challah sliced in cooling rack

Happy hump day! And welcome to the Virtual Pumpkin Party of your dreamiest dreams.

The lovely and talented Sara has assembled a mass of bloggers who are celebrating the best of what this season has to offer: And that is pumpkin. PUMPKIN EVERYTHING. We are bringing a virtual pumpkinpalooza to you, so you best get your carb-loving face ready because my contribution is this carbo-loaded pumpkin wonder known as pumpkin challah. #YAS.

pumpkin challah loaf on baking sheet

There has been quite a bit of challah in my day, but never ever have I thought to put pumpkin in it and yes, I’m slapping my forehead about it. Because while challah itself is fluffy and tender and soft and flavorful, pumpkin challah is all of those things times ten thousand. Do I exaggerate? You’d have to ask the ladies of the dinner club I’m a part of (and that’s a cool/classy dinner club, btw, not an old lady snoozefest kind of one… I mean we even made homemade gnocchi last time and sometimes we drink peppermint tea at the end of the night!), because I brought the behemoth baby-size loaf to said dinner club and left with less than half of the loaf. So I’d say the odds are good that I’m not exaggerating that much.

pumpkin challah on cooling rack

So what did I do with the leftovers of this lovely loaf? YEP YEP YEP YEP I made pumpkin challah French toast. And it is every bit as glorious as you’d imagine. So if you’re not already enthralled by the thought of a warm, fresh-baked slice of soft pumpkin-y challah with a spread of melty butter on top, mayhaps the idea of using it to make French toast the next morning will put you over the threshold.

And don’t be fooled, savory carb lovers, by the addition of pumpkin to this loaf — the pumpkin flavor and pumpkin pie spices are subtle, so the bread plays nicely on both salty and sweet sides. I can imagine this bread also would taste phenomenal as a grilled ham and cheese sandwich, or in a savory bread pudding (or a sweet one, too!), or as croutons on top of a big ol’ autumn salad. But that French toast, though…

sliced pumpkin challah

Oh, dear baby-sized pumpkin bread, you complete my every fall dream.

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sliced pumpkin challah bread

Pumpkin Challah

  • Author: Adapted from What Jew Wanna Eat
  • Prep Time: 25 mins
  • Cook Time: 35 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 1 large loaf 1x


  • 1/2 cup warm water (about 100 to 110 degrees F)
  • 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) plus 1 teaspoon active dry yeast (3 1/4 teaspoons total)
  • 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • Egg wash (1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water)
  • Sesame seeds, for topping (optional)


  1. In medium bowl, stir water and yeast until combined. Let sit 10 minutes until slightly foamy.
  2. Meanwhile, in large bowl or bowl of stand mixer, stir flours, pumpkin pie spice and salt until combined.
  3. Once yeast mixture is foamy, whisk in pumpkin puree, honey, vegetable oil, egg and egg yolk until just combined.
  4. Make well in flour mixture. Pour pumpkin mixture into well. Use wooden spoon or dough hook of stand mixer on low speed to stir until dough forms. Knead dough by hand 10 minutes, adding more flour as needed just until soft, smooth, elastic dough forms; OR, use dough hook of stand mixer on medium speed to knead dough 5 minutes, adding more flour as needed just until soft, smooth, elastic dough forms.
  5. Shape dough into ball. Return to bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place 1 1/2 hours until doubled.
  6. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Punch down risen dough. Divide into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece into 14-inch long log. Braid dough, tucking ends under dough. (Here’s a great tutorial on how to braid challah). Cover loaf with towel and let rise 45 minutes until doubled.
  7. Brush top of loaf with egg wash, then sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using. Bake 35 to 40 minutes until golden brown and baked through.


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