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Pumpkin Brioche

This pumpkin brioche tastes as good as it looks. A beautiful, golden loaf of ultra-soft, rich, buttery pumpkin bread is sure to please this fall. It’s so good, your family will request this as your newest seasonal tradition!

A loaf of pumpkin bread cooling on a block

Let me start by saying you should probably double this brioche recipe and make two loaves. In my house, this pumpkin brioche was eaten up as soon as it came out of the oven. If you have any leftovers, you’ll have to tell me how it’s done!

This delicious brioche recipe joins the pillowy sweetness of traditional brioche bread with pumpkin and warm fall spices. The combination is truly something special. The flavors will invoke everything you love about pumpkin spice without any of the gimmicks.

While brioche bread is a labor of love and time – this recipe spreads across two days – the end result is well worth it. Making brioche from scratch is worth every minute.

What is Brioche?

Brioche is a french bread known for its soft, pillowy texture and light sweetness. Pronounced “bri-yosh,” you can find this delicious treat gracing plates worldwide. You can enjoy it sliced with whipped butter, as a gourmet sandwich, or as the most decadent french toast. Brioche bread is well worth the time it takes to make.

A traditional brioche recipe uses all the same ingredients as regular bread. You’ll need yeast, flour, butter, and eggs. But unlike a loaf of regular sandwich bread, brioche bread uses more eggs and butter.

The other thing unique to brioche bread is the double rise and overnight set of the yeasty dough. This process is what gives it that light, airy texture.

A loaf of pumpkin brioche bread cut into slices on a wood tray.

Recipe Ingredients

Despite how fancy this bread tastes, it’s pretty simple to make. Even better, the ingredients you need are so common, your pantry is probably already stocked. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Water – You’ll want to warm this up to a temperature between 105 and 115 degrees F
  • Active Dry Yeast – Any active yeast will be fine here, but don’t use instant yeast.
  • Sugar
  • Pumpkin Puree – Use canned puree for this step; just make sure it’s at room temperature.
  • All Purpose Flour
  • Light Brown Sugar 
  • Salt
  • Spices – Cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground clove.
  • Eggs – For best results, set the eggs out for an hour to come to room temperature.
  • Butter – Use unsalted butter for this recipe. Cut the butter into small cubes while cold, then let it come to room temperature for an hour.
  • Whole Milk – Don’t skimp on the fat with 2% or skim. Whole milk adds fat, which creates a richer taste and a softer crumb.

How to Make Pumpkin Brioche

All you’ll need for this recipe is a small bowl, a heavy-duty stand mixer (or whisk if you’re feeling adventurous), a pizza cutter, and a loaf pan. Don’t let the long preparation time deter you. Most of that time is inactive rise time.

Proof the yeast. Pour the warm water into a small bowl. Sprinkle the yeast and a pinch of sugar on top of the water. Stir everything together until the yeast and sugar are completely dissolved. Let it stand at room temperature until the mixture is foamy. This process should take about 10 minutes.

Begin making the dough. If you have a heavy-duty stand mixer, set it up with the paddle attachment (you can use a large bowl and a whisk if you don’t). Combine the pumpkin puree, 1 cup of the all-purpose flour, sugar, salt, and spices. Add the yeast mixture and beat until completely smooth.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. You want the eggs to be fully incorporated into the dough before you add the next one. After you’ve added all the eggs, gradually add 2 more cups of flour. You don’t want to dump all that flour in at once. Instead, add ¼ cup at a time. Next, add the softened butter cubes a few at a time and beat until fully incorporated. Add exactly ¾ cup more flour and beat until the dough is creamy

At this point, the dough will be soft, sticky, and batter-like. It won’t look like regular bread dough, and that’s ok – it’s not supposed to!

Let the dough rise. It’s time for the brioche dough’s first rise! Scrape the dough into a deep container that’s well-greased. Cover it tightly with plastic wrap and let it rise at a cool room temperature until it has doubled or tripled in bulk. This process should take about 3 hours.

With your fingers, gently deflate the dough and cover it tightly with plastic. Place the entire container in the fridge and let the dough refrigerate overnight.

Gently deflate the dough. Pull your container out of the fridge and turn the dough onto a well-floured surface. Flour your hands and gently form the dough into a large ball. Pat it into a flat circle shape large enough to easily portion it into 8 pieces.

Cut the dough into 8 equally sized pieces. A pizza cutter works great here, but you can also use a knife.

Shape each piece into a ball and place them into a lightly greased loaf pan in two rows of four. It’s ok if you smoosh them a little bit to make them fit.

Let the dough rise. Brush the dough balls lightly with egg wash, cover with greased plastic wrap, and let rise until it has doubled in bulk. This process should take about 1 to 1½ hours. The dough should be nice and puffy and be risen over the top of the loaf pan.

Preheat the oven. About a half hour before your dough is ready, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Bake. Place the pan on a rack in the center of your oven and bake it for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. You want the loaf to be golden brown, slightly crisp, and have a hollow sound when tapped.

Cool. Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Gently remove the loaf from the pan and let it cool completely on a wire rack before slicing and eating.

A loaf of pumpkin brioche fresh out of the oven cooling on a wooden tray.

How Do I Tell When My Brioche is Done?

Your pumpkin brioche should be a deep golden brown when it’s done cooking, have some crispness around the edges and sound hollow when you tap it on the bottom. If you’re unsure just by looking at the bread, you can test it using an instant-read thermometer. The temperature should read 190 degrees F at the center.

Tips for the Best Homemade Brioche

While you’ll need to set aside two days for this brioche recipe, inactive rise time takes up most of it. However, you can take some active steps to ensure you’re making the very best homemade pumpkin brioche bread possible.

  • Make sure your yeast is alive. This is what proofing is for. If the yeast, water, and sugar mixture don’t turn frothy, your yeast is dead. If that’s the case, pause your work and buy some new yeast.
  • Keep the yeast and salt separate. Salt can kill the yeast if it comes into direct contact. An easy fix is to mix up your dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, and spices) before adding in your yeast.
  • Add the ingredients at the right time. I’m sure you noted a specific sequence of events when making the pumpkin brioche dough. That sequence is significant. If you skip it and chuck all the ingredients in simultaneously, you’ll wind up with a flat, dense bread that is decidedly “un-briochey.”
  • Don’t skip the overnight rise. If you’re in a hurry, it can be tempting to ignore the overnight rise in the refrigerator. But remember, brioche is a labor of love – and time. Overnight proofing also allows the dough to develop more flavor.
  • Eat your brioche bread fresh! Brioche is absolutely fantastic fresh out of the oven. If you have any leftovers, ensure you eat them up within three days. 
A slice of pumpkin brioche slathered with jam with a big bite missing.

Ways to Enjoy It

There are so many ways to enjoy pumpkin brioche bread and brioche rolls.

It’s almost impossible not to enjoy a thick slice of brioche bread when it comes out of the oven. Fresh pumpkin brioche is incredible with butter, jam, or whipped honey.

You can also use thick slices to create the most amazing french toast. Check out this recipe for French Toast in a Mug and Challah French Toast for inspiration.

Pumpkin brioche would also make an incredible addition to bread pudding.

How to Store Brioche

If you somehow have leftovers after the initial stampede, you can store them on the counter.

Brioche can be kept on the counter in an airtight container for up to three days. Don’t store brioche in the refrigerator. Cold air causes it to go stale faster.

Can I Freeze It?

Yes! You can absolutely freeze brioche bread. Wrap the remaining brioche bread in plastic and place it in a freezer bag. Get as much air out of the bag as possible and close tightly. Freeze for up to six months. 

More Pumpkin Recipes to Try 

If the pumpkin spice bug has bitten you already, check out these other delicious pumpkin recipes. Your kitchen will be the best-smelling place in your neighborhood!

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Pumpkin Brioche

A loaf of pumpkin bread cooling on a block
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This pumpkin brioche tastes as good as it looks. A beautiful, golden loaf of ultra-soft, rich, and buttery pumpkin bread that is sure to please this fall.

  • Author: Rustic Family Recipes
  • Prep Time: 2 days
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 48 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 1 loaf
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: French

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons warm water (105 to 115 degrees F)
  • 1 tablespoon (1 package) active dry yeast
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1 cup fresh or canned pumpkin puree at room temperature
  • 3 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature. Plus 1 egg for the wash.
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into small pieces

Egg wash:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk

Instructions

Proof the yeast. Pour the warm water in a small bowl. Sprinkle the yeast and a pinch of sugar over the surface of the water. Stir to dissolve and let stand at room temperature until foamy, about 10 minutes.

Make the bread dough. In a large bowl using a whisk or in the work bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the pumpkin, 1 cup of the flour, sugar, salt and spices. Add the yeast mixture and beat until smooth.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually add 2 cups more flour. Add the butter a few pieces at a time and beat until incorporated. Add exactly 3/4 cup more flour and beat until creamy. The dough with be soft, sticky and batter-like. (It will not look like regular bread dough, that’s ok!) Switch to a wooden spoon when necessary if making by hand.

Let the dough rise. Scrape the dough into a greased deep container. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at a cool room temperature until doubled or tripled in bulk, about 3 hours. Gently deflate the dough and cover it tightly with plastic. Refrigerate overnight.

Gently deflate the dough. Turn out onto a floured surface, flour your hands and gently form into a large ball. Pat into a flat circle shape large enough for the dough to be divided into 8 equally sized pieces. Cut into 8 pieces using a knife or pizza cutter, then shape each piece into a ball and place in a lightly greased loaf pan in two rows of four. Brush the dough lightly with egg wash, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise at a cool room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat the oven. Half an hour before baking, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Bake. Place the pan on a rack in the center of the oven and bake for 20 minutes . Reduce the oven to 350 degrees F and bake 10-15 minutes more, or until the loaf is browned, slightly crisp and has a hollow sound when tapped on the bottom.

Cool. Remove from oven and cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack before slicing and serving.

Keywords: pumpkin brioche, brioche recipe, brioche bread, brioche buns

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