Pumpkin Yeast Bread, is a soft and hearty bread made with pumpkin puree, molasses, and topped with seeds for a crunchy crust. Use it for toast, sandwiches, or serve it alongside a cozy bowl of soup. It’s a delicious homemade pumpkin bread recipe.
Maybe you’ve made a pumpkin quick bread before but have you ever tried pumpkin yeast bread? This is another way to make a loaf of bread with pumpkin puree but instead of overly sweet it’s more savory.
If you’ve never worked with yeast, don’t worry. It’s not hard and when you make your own fresh loaf of bread there is nothing better.
The only thing this recipe requires is time and patience and you will be rewarded. There is nothing better than that first slice of bread you made yourself.
Table of Contents
Tips Before You Make It
This is not a sweet pumpkin bread with a cake-like texture. It’s a soft and slightly chewy yeast bread that is lightly flavored with pumpkin and a touch of molasses.
Using a stand mixer with a dough hook makes it easy to knead the dough, but you can knead it by hand, too. It will just take a little longer.
The best tip is to allow yourself time to make it. You will need to prepare a yeast starter, which needs to rest for at least six hours (or you can make it a day in advance). Once you’ve made the dough it needs to rise twice. So plan ahead so you’re not rushed.
This bread is made with biga, which is an Italian bread starter made with dry active yeast and bread flour. If you’ve heard of sourdough starter, it’s the same idea but the Italian starter can only be used once. When it rests it ferments – that gives your bread a delicious flavor and texture.
Before you do anything, check the expiration date on your yeast. Expired yeast won’t work properly and you don’t want to discover this after you’ve made the bread.
If this is your first time making yeast bread, be sure to read through the recipe before starting. That way, there are no surprises!
How to Make the Biga
The first thing to do is to make the starter with these ingredients:
- Lukewarm water
- Active dry yeast
- Bread flour
Pour the water into a medium bowl and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Let it sit for 10 minutes. During this time, the warm water will activate the yeast.
Stir the yeast into the water and then add the bread flour. Mix until you have a sticky dough. If your dough is too firm, add a little water to loosen it.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for at least six hours. It can also rest for up to 24 hours so you can make it a day in advance.
How to Make Pumpkin Yeast Dough
After your starter has rested, you can make the pumpkin bread dough. Here’s what you will need:
- Prepared biga
- Lukewarm water
- Active dry yeast
- Pumpkin puree
- Bread flour
- Whole wheat flour
- Assorted seeds
Start by sprinkling the yeast over the warm water in a small bowl. Let it sit for 10 minutes and then stir them together.
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the biga and pumpkin puree at low speed.
Mix in the yeast mixture and molasses. If you are doing this by hand you can use a large bowl and wooden spoon.
For the next step, swap the paddle attachment for the dough hook and add three cups of flour while mixing at low speed with the dough hook. This will start the kneading process.
Once mixed, increase to medium speed and add the rest of the flour a tablespoon at a time until the dough is smooth and elastic. This will take about eight to ten minutes.
If you are making the dough by hand, the easiest way to do this step is with your hands. Add the flour as directed and use your hands to knead the dough in the bowl by mixing and folding it into itself.
Once it forms a dough, you can transfer it to a lightly floured surface to finish kneading it by hand. It could take up to 20 minutes or so to get the right texture.
Once your dough is smooth, let it rest for 10 minutes at room temperature.
Place the rested dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Turn it to coat it evenly and then cover it with a kitchen towel and leave it to rise for one hour at room temperature. Once it’s puffed up to double its original size.
Fold the dough three to four times and then shape it. For this recipe, I cut the dough in half and make one loaf and five buns but you can do whatever shapes you like.
Place the loaf in a prepared 8×4″ or 9×5″ loaf pan and place the buns on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Leave the loaf and buns out at room temperature to rise a second time. This will take about an hour depending on the temperature of the room. If your kitchen is cooler, it will take longer.
Once they have doubled in size they are ready to bake.
Bake the Bread
Preheat the oven. While the oven is heating, soak the seeds in one cup of water. Soaking them first will prevent them from burning while the bread bakes.
Drain the seeds well and then sprinkle them over the top of the bread loaf and buns.
Bake the bread for 15 minutes and then lower the oven temperature.
Most likely, the buns will be done at the 15-minute mark, so you can take them out of the oven when you turn down the temperature. Leave the loaf in the oven and bake it until it’s golden brown and cooked through.
Cool the bread on a wire rack before slicing and serving.
- You can slice and toast this bread. It’s so good with some butter, sugar, and a sprinkle of spice like ground cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice.
- You can use to make cold sandwiches or grilled cheese sandwiches.
- It’s great with a bowl of soup or with a salad.
- Use it to make garlic bread. Just brush slices with olive oil, sprinkle minced garlic over the top and toast them in the oven until lightly golden and crispy.
- Or, just enjoy a slice plain!
No matter the size of the bread, it’s done baking when the internal temperature is 190°F (88°C). Use a digital thermometer to check. The amount of baking time will vary depending on the size of your loaf.
Wrap the cooled bread in plastic wrap and it will keep for a few days at room temperature. If your bread goes a little stale before you eat it, use it to make bread pudding, croutons, or break it down in a food processor to make breadcrumbs.
Once it’s completely cool, wrap it in plastic wrap and foil. It should freeze well for several months.
This pumpkin yeast bread might just be your new favorite recipe to make during the fall. It tastes as amazing as it smells while it’s baking in the oven. Everyone will want a slice – Enjoy!
More Baking Recipes
Homemade Pumpkin Bread Recipe
FOR THE BIGA
- ½ cup lukewarm water
- ¼ teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1½ cups bread flour
FOR THE DOUGH
- ¾ cup water (lukewarm)
- 1¼ teaspoon active dry yeast
- biga (as above)
- ¾ cup pumpkin puree
- ¾ tablespoon molasses
- 2¾ cups bread flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons assorted seeds (optional)
FOR THE BIGA
- In a medium-large bowl add the water, sprinkle the yeast on top, let sit for 10 minutes, stir to combine then add the flour and mix to form a sticky dough (if dough is too firm then add a tablespoon of water at a time). Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature for 6-24 hours.
FOR THE DOUGH
- In a small bowl add the water, sprinkle the yeast on top, let sit 10 minutes, then stir together.
- In a medium/large bowl whisk together the bread flour, whole wheat flour and salt.
- In the mixing bowl add the biga and pumpkin, mix with the flat beaters on low speed to combine. Add the yeast mixture, continue to beat, add the molasses, combine well.
- Add 3 cups of flour, start to knead with the dough hook on low speed, raise the speed #2, add the remaining flour a little at a time until it reaches a smooth elastic dough. Knead for 8-10 minutes, let the dough rest 10 minutes.
- Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turning to lightly coat the dough, cover and let rise 1 hour.
- Fold the dough 3-4 times, shape it into desired shape (I halved the dough and made 1 loaf and 5 buns). Place the shaped dough into a lightly oiled and floured loaf pan, place the shaped buns on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and let rise until almost doubled in size approximately 1-2 hours.
- Pre-heat oven to 425F (220C).
- If desired sprinkle seeds on top of the loaf and buns before baking, bake the loaf for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 350F (180C) and continue to bake for 15 minutes or until done. The buns will probably be done after the 15 minutes at 425F. Immediately move to a wire rack to cool. Enjoy!