Pumpkin Challah

Posted on by on October 3rd, 2011 | 60 Comments »

There is not one Jewish holiday that doesn’t have a beautiful challah on the table. There is not one Friday night dinner that doesn’t have a challah on the table, there is not one bowl of chicken soup that isn’t accompanied by a slice or 2 of challah, in fact most of the best family meals include a fresh baked challah gracing the table. This past Rosh Hashanah was no exception to this unspoken challah law.

In my last post where I baked up a beautiful pomegranate cheesecake for the holidays, I mentioned that challah, along with apples and honey and pomegranates, was also a traditional staple at the Rosh Hashanah table. And, when I noticed that there was not going to be any challah this year, I added it to the list of things to make. After all the laws of challah eating would not accept the absence of one on a high holy day now would it?

The normally braided bread undergoes a small makeover during Rosh Hashanah and is shaped into a circle to symbolize the cycle of the year. Though I braided mine normally and didnt go the circular shape I gave my freshly baked bread a twist of its own.

I know I have gushed about my mother in laws challah recipe when I posted a kicked up version of it here. But, her challah is so good it’s worth mentioning it again. Seriously, it’s that good. Like, eat the whole basket of it good. Its easy to make, is a huge crowd pleaser and the braid just makes people think that you are a whiz in the fresh baked bread department. What I love about her challah and any great bread recipe really, is; aside from the fact that it’s highly addictive and delicious, it’s a perfect base to add things to. And, that is just what I did.

I never thought to mess around too much with a perfect challah recipe but when Rosh Hashanah landed in the middle of pumpkin season, something had to be done. I added pumpkin to my challah. I also added cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg to give it a perfect pumpkin pie taste. And, it was good. Really good.

You don’t have to be celebrating the holidays to enjoy this recipe, you don’t have to be having a Friday night meal with your family, you don’t even need to be Jewish for that matter. This fall inspired challah bread will suit any occasion, any meal, day or night. Make it. You will be happy you did.

This recipe yields 2 large challah breads. You could half the recipe and make one but, why on earth would you do something like that? You will most definitely regret not having that second challah around when the first is devoured.


1/4 oz (about 2.8 teaspoons) instant yeast
1.2 teaspoon sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2.8 teaspoons salt
1.2 cups boiling water
1 cup pureed pumpkin
2 pounds flour
3 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 egg, beaten


In a medium mixing bowl mix together yeast, 1.2 teaspoons sugar, flour and cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, set aside.
In a small mixing bowl mix together oil, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and boiling water and set aside.
Add pureed pumpkin into the pil mixture and mix until combined.
In a large bowl beat eggs and add oil mixture and mix together using a wooden spoon.
Slowly add flour mixture and mix until a sticky dough forms.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and kneed for 5-7 minutes.
Clean the large mixing bowl and coat with oil.
Place dough into oiled bowl and cover with a bread towel.
Let rise in a warm dry area for at least 2 hours (dough with double in size).
Pre heat oven to 350F and liberally grease 2 baking sheets.
Once dough has risen cut into 2 equal pieces using a sharp knife.
Take each piece of dough and cut into 3 equal pieces.
Roll out each piece into a long cylinder shape and lay side by side.
Pinch the ends of the dough together and braid (just like when you braid hair)
When done braiding, pinch the ends together tightly.
In a small dish beat egg and brush on top of challah.
Bake each loaf of challah separately for 30-35 minutes or until golden and hollow sounding when tapped on the bottom.
Let cool completely or serve warm.


« Mascarpone Pomegranate Cheesecake
Chapati Recipe: Cooking For a Cause and a Giveaway »


  1. Posted on: 10-3-2011

    Oh, how I love making (and devouring) challah. I especially love getting creative with it and seeing others do the same. This is one of those moments – LOVE your pumpkin challah! No only does it look and sound amazing, but what a wicked bread pudding (IF there is any leftover) it would make! Beautifully done!.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 10-4-2011

      Thanks Lisa! My favorite part of making challah is definitely the devouring part! There usually are no leftovers to make into breadpudding but this would taste so good turned into it!

  2. Posted on: 10-3-2011

    What a wonderful idea to switch challah up a bit, this looks so yummy

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 10-4-2011

      Thanks Mal! If ever there were a way to make challah even better, this is it!

  3. Posted on: 10-3-2011

    Beautiful challah!!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 10-4-2011

      Thank you Kate!

  4. Posted on: 10-3-2011

    Pumpkin Challah? How brilliant… and you got such a great result – looks gorgeous and full of smoky, fall flavourings. Delish.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 10-4-2011

      Thanks Kelly! If I could I would put pumpkin and fall spices in everything!

  5. Posted on: 10-3-2011

    Challah bread is another bread that rates pretty high with me. You have put a wonderful twist on the flavor with the pumpkin and spices. Well done-yum!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 10-4-2011

      Thanks Tina! I think challah bread is high on everyone’s list! How can it not be?!

  6. Posted on: 10-3-2011

    This Challah looks perfect!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 10-4-2011

      Thanks Susie!!

  7. Posted on: 10-3-2011

    Such a great idea! I bet this would make amazing french toast!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 10-4-2011

      Lauren this would make amazing french toast! Only problem is you need leftovers which I never have when I make challah!!

  8. Posted on: 10-3-2011

    This was seriously amazing. I’ve never heard of pumpkin challah but am so happy you came up with it! Gorgeous shots of the bread too!!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 10-4-2011

      Thanks Katherine!! I’m glad you are once again eating gluten and were able to enjoy it!

  9. Posted on: 10-3-2011

    oh my, this is genius and the best of all foodie worlds!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 10-4-2011

      Thanks!!! It is the best of all foodie worlds!!!

  10. Posted on: 10-4-2011

    Ooooh Challah makes me want to Holla!! LOL that went through my mind when I read that post. LOL sounds great!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 10-4-2011

      Hahahaha Lindsey you’re too funny. I actually think that goes through a lot more people’s heads then are willing to admit it!!

  11. Posted on: 10-4-2011

    What a great idea Beth! I love how you added your own little twist here! And I can tell from the pictures that this challah was fantastic!!! 🙂

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 10-6-2011

      Thanks Manu! Challah is the best!

  12. Posted on: 10-4-2011

    Great idea.
    Happy New year. L’Shana tova!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 10-6-2011

      Thanks Lori! L’Shana Tova!

  13. Posted on: 10-4-2011

    THis looks amazing! My cousins made an apple challah for our Rosh Hashana table. I put my menu on my blog. I can’t wait to try this out. Maybe on Sunday after Yom Kippur.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 10-6-2011

      Thanks Elizabeth! Apple challah sounds amazing too. I have made an apple cinnamon challah before! Perfect for Rosh Hashanah.

  14. Posted on: 10-4-2011

    That is so appealing. The idea of pumpkin challah is terrific. Good job. 🙂

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 10-6-2011

      Thanks Joanne!

  15. Posted on: 10-4-2011

    I’ve never tried challah before, but this looks pretty freakin awesome! I especially love that it’s got pumpkin. Yum!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 10-6-2011

      Never tried challah?!? Colleen, you must try it or make it! It is SO GOOD!

  16. Posted on: 10-5-2011

    I love challah and this pumpkin challah looks perfect for fall! I bet it would be amazing as french toast!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 10-6-2011

      Thanks Vicki! It would be amazing french toast if there were any left overs to make it!!!

  17. Posted on: 10-5-2011

    delicious pumpkin challah

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 10-6-2011

      Thank you!

  18. Posted on: 10-5-2011

    I was thinking the same as Lisa, that this would make a great bread pudding. You should still be patting yourself on the back.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 10-6-2011

      Thanks Sandra! I would love to have left overs to make bread pudding or french toast, but challah in my house gets devoured very quickly!!!

  19. Posted on: 10-6-2011

    Wow! So many great recipes… I don’t know where to start!
    Thanks for the friend add.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 10-6-2011

      Thanks so much Sandy! Hope you find some that you enjoy!

  20. Posted on: 10-6-2011

    Yummy, delicious challah. Love the photos, great recipe.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 10-6-2011

      Thank you so much Ali!

  21. Posted on: 10-7-2011

    Pumpkin is such a wonderful addition! Looks perfect!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 10-8-2011

      Thanks Jill!!

  22. Posted on: 10-7-2011

    What a great idea to add pumpkin to a challah! Sounds absolutely delicious!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 10-8-2011

      Thanks Yael! Pumpkin is the perfect addition to challah!

  23. Steve2inLA
    Posted on: 10-8-2011

    Beth, your recipe looks great and I’m definitely going to give it a try but I think there’s a slight error in your ingredient list. 1/4 ounce of instant yeast (one package) is 2.8 teaspoons, not Tablespoons. That might turn out a challah balloon. Good yuntuff to you and yours.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 10-8-2011

      Ahhh thanks for catching that typo Steve!! 2.8 tablespoons would result in a pretty large challah bread!!!

  24. Posted on: 10-8-2011

    Oh, how I love challah! What a great, innovative recipe to try! It looks fabulous~

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 10-8-2011

      Thanks!! If you love challah Liz, this is a perfect twist on it!

  25. Posted on: 10-8-2011

    There nothing like baking your own fresh bread especially when you have also put a twist into it! Thanks for sharing!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 10-8-2011

      Thanks so much! Its true, nothing beats home baked bread!

  26. Posted on: 10-9-2011

    I’ve never heard of pumpkin challah, and I think you are the only one who made this! Looks so delicious and it’s perfect post for this season. I’m sure all the bakers are excited to try your recipe!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 10-25-2011

      Thanks for the sweet words Nami! I could put pumpkin in everything given the opportunity! 🙂

  27. Posted on: 10-13-2011

    I already loved your plain challah, and I love this, too 🙂

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 10-25-2011

      Thanks Giulia!!!

  28. Posted on: 10-14-2011

    Ever since I gave up eggs and dairy I’m dreaming of challah and brioche. Seeing yours makes me want a slice even more.
    Such a wonderful twist on the traditional challah, so holiday-ish 🙂

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 10-25-2011

      Roxana, I dont think I could ever give up eggs and dairy!! I would be dreaming about challah and brioche too!

  29. Posted on: 10-16-2011

    This looks delicious! Never seen a pumpkin adaptation of challah before! Can’t wait to make this 🙂

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 10-25-2011

      Thanks Jacqueline. The addition of pumpkin really adds something special to an already AMAZING bread!

  30. Posted on: 11-20-2011

    This sounds and looks delicious. I eat so much challah every friday night and saturday morning, I love it so much! I must try this.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 11-21-2011

      If you are a challah lover you must make this!!!!!

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