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Yeasted Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

This Yeasted Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread is not your average pumpkin bread recipe! A pillowy soft interior, chewy crust, and warm spices combine for the perfect fall loaf.

Slice of chocolate chip pumpkin bread on plate with fork, loaf in background

There’s no shortage of chocolate chip pumpkin bread recipes on the internet, but I’d wager a guess that almost all of them are quick breads. Now, there’s nothing wrong with a good quick bread recipe, but when you add yeast to the mix, you get a completely different bread experience – a chewy exterior, an inside that’s light and fluffy instead of dense, and a loaf that’s just as fitting for a special occasion as it is for a casual weekend breakfast.

While you need a little bit of patience when working with yeast, that old adage is true – good things come to those who wait. Making yeasted bread isn’t hard, but you do need to account for the time it takes, so it’s not something you can whip up on the fly. I can’t think of any better way to spend a chilly, rainy fall weekend than making a loaf of this bread and then enjoying it with a warm cup of chai for breakfast the next morning.

Overhead view of Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread ingredients

What You’ll Need

Yeasted bread is more of a science than baking quick bread, so I don’t recommend making any ingredient substitutions other than those mentioned below.

  • All purpose flour
  • Pumpkin puree – If you use canned pumpkin, you’ll have about a cup leftover. Use it to make Pumpkin Cornmeal Pancakes or Pumpkin Scones!
  • Active dry yeast – Don’t use instant yeast! It’s not the same.
  • Light brown sugar – Dark brown sugar also works.
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Freshly grated nutmeg – Although the ground nutmeg sold in jars will work in a pinch, I highly recommend using fresh! The flavor is unparalleled.
  • Ground cloves
  • Ground ginger
  • Salt
  • Low-fat milk – You’ll need this to be warm and ready to go; I recommend putting it in a small saucepan over low heat. Don’t let it boil or even simmer! You can also use whole milk if you prefer.
  • Melted butter
  • Eggs – You’ll need one for the bread and one for the glaze. The egg you use for the bread should be at room temperature.
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips – If you like, you can use half the chocolate chips and substitute the other half with coarsely chopped walnuts.
  • Olive oil

How to Make Yeasted Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

Ready to roll up your sleeves and make some bread? Here’s what you’ll need to do!

Proof the yeast. Combine the warm milk, yeast and 1 tablespoon of the flour in a stand mixer bowl or a large mixing bowl. Allow to rest for 5 minutes.

Finish the dough. Add the pumpkin puree, spices, light brown sugar, salt, egg, and melted butter to the yeast mixture and mix until combined. Add the flour a half cup at a time, mixing between each addition. After you have added 2 cups of flour, fold in the chocolate chips, then add the rest of the flour. 

Knead the dough. When the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl, switch to the dough hook (or use a wooden spoon if you don’t have a stand mixer). Knead the dough for 4 minutes, adding extra flour a tablespoon at a time if the dough seems sticky. If you’re not using a stand mixer, turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead it for 4 to 5 minutes, sprinkling with flour as needed if the dough feels sticky.

Let the dough rise. Place the dough in a deep bowl or Dutch oven greased with a teaspoon of olive oil. Turn the dough to completely coat it in the oil, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise at room temperature until it has doubled in bulk, which will take 1½ to 2 hours.

Prepare your pan. Spray a spring-form cake pan with non-stick spray and lightly flour it, then tap out any excess.

Assemble. Divide the dough into 3 equal portions, and roll each portion out into a strip about 15 inches long. The ends should be slightly thinner than the middles. Lay the ropes side-by-side, then beginning in the middle and working towards you, braid the lower half of the three ropes. Now go to the other side of your working space (or if you’re using a marble slab or cutting board, turn it) and braid the other half, but this time instead of a normal braid, move the outside ropes under the center one. When you finish braiding, crimp the tapered ends together, then tuck them underneath. Twist the braid around itself like a pinwheel and place it in the prepared springform pan.

Overhead view of pumpkin bread dough in baking pan after rising

Glaze the bread. Whisk 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a small bowl, then gently brush the dough with it. (Don’t discard the glaze mixture after this; you’ll need it again.) Loosely cover the springform pan with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise again until it has doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. After about 30 minutes, start preheating your oven to 350ºF.

Overhead view of round chocolate chip pumpkin bread loaf

Bake. Brush the dough with the glaze again, then place the pan on the center rack of the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the exterior is nicely browned and the loaf sounds hollow when you tap it. Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then transfer the loaf to a cooling rack. Allow to cool for at least 20 more minutes before serving.

Tips for Success

Here’s how to make a perfect loaf of chocolate chip pumpkin bread!

  • Make sure your yeast hasn’t expired. If you don’t bake bread often, you might have some packets of yeast sitting at the back of your pantry. Make sure they’re not expired before you use them! Expired yeast isn’t like flour or cocoa powder that’s past its prime—it might not work at all and your bread won’t rise!
  • My secret for perfect kneading. Although I generally use my stand mixer to knead my dough, I always turn it out onto a lightly floured surface to finish kneading it by hand for the last minute or so, which gives me more control and a better feel for when the dough is ready. It’s done when the dough is smooth and bounces back when you press your thumb into it.
  • Braiding tips. Be gentle with the dough or you’ll tear it; this isn’t a big deal and it won’t impact the flavor, but the bread will have a “scar” where it tore when you bake it. Also, make sure you braid the ropes of dough tightly. No gaps!
Pumpkin chocolate chip bread loaf with large slice removed

Serving Suggestions

Naturally, chocolate chip pumpkin bread is delicious with a slathering of honey butter or maple butter, and the fall flavors are perfect for pairing with apple butter. If you have leftovers, though, I highly recommend using it to make French toast! You can also use my Overnight Blueberry French Toast Bake recipe and tweak it by either leaving out the blueberries or swapping them with apples or pecans.

How to Store

Like most yeast breads, this chocolate chip pumpkin bread is better the sooner you eat it—I recommend serving it within a day and if you’re making it for a gathering, don’t make it any more than a day ahead of time. Once the bread is completely cool, wrap it in plastic and store it at room temperature on the counter. 

Can I Freeze This Recipe?

Breads freeze beautifully and this recipe is no exception! Wrap it tightly with at least two layers of plastic wrap to protect against freezer burn and freeze it for up to 2 months. You can thaw it at room temperature overnight before serving.

Slice of chocolate chip pumpkin bread upright on plate with fork
Print

Yeasted Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

With a pillowy soft interior, chewy crust, and warm spices, this Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread is the perfect fall loaf!

  • Author: Rustic Family Recipes
  • Prep Time: 3 hours
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 40 minutes
  • Yield: 1 loaf
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

  • 4 to cups all purpose flour
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 heaping tablespoon active dry yeast
  • ⅓ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup low-fat milk, warm
  • ¼ cup melted butter (warm, not hot)
  • 1 large egg, plus one more for the glaze
  • ½ to ¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, according to taste
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil

Instructions

Make the Dough

In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl, combine the warm milk, the yeast and 1 tablespoon of the flour. Allow to rest for 5 minutes.

Add the pumpkin puree, spices, light brown sugar, salt, egg, and melted butter. Mix until combined. Add the flour ½ cup at a time, mixing well between additions. After you have added 2 cups of flour, add the chocolate chips, then continue with the rest of the flour. When the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl switch to your dough hook, or a wooden spoon if making bread by hand.

If using a stand mixer, knead the dough for 4 minutes, adding extra flour 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed – just enough to keep the dough from sticking to the sides of the bowl. If making the bread by hand, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 4-5 minutes, sprinkling with flour as needed to prevent sticking. *Note: Although I generally use my stand mixer to knead my dough, I always turn it out onto a floured surface and finish the kneading by hand, for the last minute or so. It’s the best way to know when the dough has been kneaded enough. The dough is done when it’s smooth and bounces back when you press your thumb into it.

Place the dough in a deep container greased with 1 tsp of olive oil. Turn the dough once to coat the top and cover with plastic wrap. Allow dough to rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1½ to 2 hours.

Assemble the Bread

Spray a spring-form cake pan with baking spray (such as Pam) and lightly flour. Sprinkle the flour on the bottom and along the sides, then invert the pan and tap out any excess flour.

Divide the dough into 3 equal portions, and roll each portion out into a smooth, thick strip about 15 inches long, with the ends slightly thinner than the middle. Be gentle with the dough or you’ll tear it, which wouldn’t affect the final flavor but would influence the way the finished loaf looks.

Lay the ropes side-by-side, not quite touching. Beginning in the middle and working towards you, braid the lower half of the three ropes. To braid, alternately move the outside ropes over the one in the center – left over, right over, left over – until you come to the end. Now go to the other side of your working space and braid the other half, this time moving the outside ropes under the center one. Braid tightly – you don’t want any gaps. When you finish braiding each side crimp the tapered ends together, then tuck them under. Twist the braid around itself, pinwheel fashion, gently pressing the outside end against the larger body of dough. Transfer to your prepared pan.

Do the Second Rise and Bake

Whisk together 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of olive oil, this is going to be the glaze for your bread. Gently brush the dough with it. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
About 30 minutes before baking, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Brush the dough with the egg mixture again. The dough will have stretched during rising, so be sure to get any spots that don’t have a glaze on them.

Place the pan on a rack in the center of the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until browned and the loaf sounds hollow when you tap it with your fingers. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then transfer the bread to a cooling rack.

Allow to cool at least 20 more minutes before slicing.

Keywords: pumpkin loaf, pumpkin yeast bread, breakfast breads

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