How to make braided pumpkin bread

These round, decorative loaves are perfect for holiday entertaining – and gift-giving.
The pumpkin puree gives this bread a pleasant golden-orange color. (Photo: Sarah Berkowitz/Unpacked)

There’s something about falling leaves that gets everyone in the mood for pumpkin-flavored everything.

The pumpkin taste is subtle, but you’ll definitely notice a neat, orange glow to your bread that will impress everyone. What if you really want to impress? Go for a pumpkin-shaped loaf! If you’re fond of seeds and stuff inside your bread, go ahead and sprinkle an extra cup of pumpkin seeds into the dough as you knead. For a sweeter loaf, up the sugar to one cup, and sprinkle the pans with a bit of cinnamon before baking the loaves. It’ll give the crust a slight cinnamon taste without being too overbearing (you know how cinnamon can get).

Any way you slice it, you’ll enjoy this bread immensely. Reheat briefly before serving for a hot, crusty slice of heaven.

Braided pumpkin bread

Prep2 hrs
Cook Time30 mins
Yield3 loaves


  • 2 tbsp yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 8 cups flour (blend of white and while whole wheat flour works well)
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1 ½ cup warm water
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg, for brushing
  • Pumpkin seeds, for topping


  • Combine yeast, warm water and sugar in medium bowl. Stir, and allow to proof for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, mix all remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Stir just until combined, and then add yeast mixture.
  • Knead until dough is smooth. If sticky, add more flour.
  • Cover and let rise for 30 minutes. Punch down, and let rise for another 30 minutes.
  • Line large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Divide dough into 6 pieces. Roll out two at a time into two evenly sized long ropes, and then twist the two ropes.
  • Wrap twisted ropes into a tight circle, pinch the end closed, and set onto baking sheet.
  • Repeat with remaining pieces of dough to yield 3 round braided loaves.
  • Allow to rise 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Beat egg and brush onto loaves, using two coats for an extra shiny touch. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.
  • Bake for 30 minutes. Cool on wire rack.