Pumpkin Pie Brioche just in time for Thanksgiving!


Pumpkins are associated with the quintessential Thanksgiving dessert, a decadent pie filled with spices and sweetness. The pumpkin adds a smooth and luxurious texture that amounts to pure comfort food. Pumpkin is not only wonderful for its flavors but is also chock full of healthy vitamins. This was the inspiration for making a pumpkin pie brioche to include in Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. It can be baked as a loaf, in a brioche pan or even made into our Indian Spiced Doughnuts (page 287) or as the bottom crust for the Pear Tarte Tatin (page 290). It is fabulous as dessert or breakfast.

Pumpkin Pie Brioche:

3 cups white whole wheat, or traditional whole wheat

4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast

1 tablespoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons Vital Wheat Gluten**

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1 1/4 cups lukewarm water

4 large eggs

1/2 cup honey

3/4 cup neutral flavored oil or unsalted butter, melted

1 3/4 cups pumpkin puree (freshly roasted or canned)

Egg wash for brushing on top

Raw sugar for sprinkling on top

These directions are abridged from the book, for more detailed instructions go to page 354 in The New Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Note that there was an error in early versions of the book, which called for 2 cups of water– the correct amount was 1 1/4, as above.

Mixing and storing the dough: whisk together all of the dry ingredients in a 5-quart Food Storage Container, fitted with a non-airtight lid. Combine the liquid ingredients and add them to the dry with a wooden spoon. Mix thoroughly, until there are no more dry bits of flour. The dough will be quite loose when you are done.

Cover the container and allow the dough to rest on the counter for 2 hours. Once it has risen refrigerate for at least 2 hours before baking or it is too difficult to handle. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

On baking day: Grease a six-inch Brioche Mold. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1 1/2-pound (cantaloupe size) piece of dough. Dust with more flour and quickly shape into a ball.


Place the ball of dough into the prepared pan with the smooth side up.  Allow the dough to rest, loosely covered with plastic wrap for 1 hour 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 with the oven rack in the middle of the oven.


As you can see it didn’t rise that much during the rest. That is normal for our dough. Brush the top of the dough with egg wash using a pastry brush and sprinkle it with the raw sugar.


Bake for about 50 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Allow to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes then turn it out and


form a thick ring with a clean kitchen towel…


and invert the brioche onto the towel so that the dome of the brioche is supported by the towel. This will prevent the top or bottom of the loaf from getting crushed as it cools. Let the dough come to room temperature before cutting and serving.



There have been many questions about Vital Wheat Gluten (also known as Vital Wheat Gluten Flour) and where it can be found. We are lucky in Minnesota to have many grocery stores and co-ops that carry it. There are several brands, including some in bulk, but the most readily available is Bob’s Red Mill.


Happy Baking! Zoë and Jeff

277 thoughts to “Pumpkin Pie Brioche just in time for Thanksgiving!”

  1. I just discovered “Healthy Bread in Five” and LOVE IT! I want to try everything! I am especially looking forward to baking for my best friend’s mother. She is diabetic and tries hard to eat right. I think receiving fresh loaves of whole wheat bread will boost her spirits as well as her health. And you are so right about heating your home in the winter with the aroma of fresh bread! 😀

  2. I want to try the 10-grain bread. That’s always been one that seemed too difficult for me to tackle on my own. I’m feeling a bit more confident now 🙂

  3. Have to tell you this: I made a batch of master recipe and wasn’t too impressed with the breads I made, but I was making thin, crisp stuff like baugette and epi. They were pretty crusty and the flavorw were obscured by the chewy crusts.

    I had a little bit of dough left over and decided to try the “moon and stars” shape. As soon as it was cool I wrapped it well and tossed it in the freezer. We like to have small breads on hand to bring out for a meal that needs bread.

    So last night we were having cheddar cheese soup (yum!) and my husband thawed and heated the crescent shaped bread and sliced it up. My 17 year old was impressed. “Where did you get this bread, it’s so good!”

    This is the kid that “hates” my home baking, especially AB in 5 breads which she has deemed “too yeasty”. And she claims to not like whole grains at all. But she couldn’t get enough of this bread, and couldn’t believe it when I told her it was one of my “five minute” breads.

    It is VERY tasty when you can actually taste crumb instead of crust! I liked it very much myself, reversing my first impressions. I’ll definitely use the master recipe again, but from now on I’ll go for thicker, heartier types of loafs and save the thinner, crisper shapes for your other master recipe. ;o)

  4. I plan on making the healthy brioche. I don’t have a large brioche pan, but my mom gave me 6 mini brioche pans. How much dough should I put in each one? Also, I made breadsticks with the master recipe to serve with appetizers on Thanksgiving – they are great! They can also be warmed up in the oven before serving and taste even better. Thanks for your great ideas!

  5. Cinnamon-Raisin-Apple Bread
    I use your Brioche dough – the only change I make is instead of water, I use 1/2 water 1/2 milk (and I like a little more sugar ;-).
    I roll the dough out and layer it with Cinnamon, brown Sugar and 1-2 Tbsp butter, thinly sliced apples (about 2 apples) and spinkle with raisins. I roll it up, tucking the ends, and place it in a loaf pan. 350 degrees, about 40 min. (depending on size. if it’s too pale when I remove it from pan, I simply pop it back in the oven).
    I serve it with Bread Pudding Sauce:
    1 cup milk, 2 Tbsp Butter, 1/3 cup granulated w. sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1 Tbsp. flour, dash of salt: mix everything together and bring to a boil for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly.

  6. I own both books now and am making the Red Wine & Cheese Bread and Peppery Pumpkin & Olive Oil as gifts for the Thanksgiving hostess.

    Your recipes make me feel like a real artisan baker. Wait — I am an artisan baker now (with the help of these books). I also purchased 2 more as Christmas gifts for my son and daughter in law in Austin.

  7. I am new to your books, so anything would be great! I love vital wheat gluten in homemade bread, it is magical and like a secret ingredient!!

  8. I’ll be making a couple loafs of the roasted garlic bread with spelt flour on my rounds to TWO Thanksgiving dinners. The dough is made already. That garlic smelled divine while roasting.
    But, that pumpkin brioche sounds perfect for Thanksgiving breakfast…. I might have to whip up a batch of dough!

  9. I’ve asked for the book for christmas, so I haven’t made any of the healthy bread yet. the pumpkin brioche sounds great.

  10. I am a longtime fan of ABi5 and I love the new book! I think the master recipe produces the most wonderful whole wheat bread I have ever tasted, and the new rye recipe is to die for! I made english muffins out of 7 day old rye dough and my husband and I thought we’d gone to heaven. I had planned to work through the new book front to back, but that rye is so good it’s hard to move on… I’m going to try the pumpkin brioche ASAP.

    1. What would be the amounts for this recipe if using 100% whole wheat? I tried to use all the book tips for doing it myself and I think I just have 4lbs of slop. There was no way to shape the dough this morning. I pulled out 1.5lbs for the apple strudel bread and try to form a ball but it had no form and wouldn’t stick to itself after the flour to keep it from sticking to my hands and counter. I rolled it out anyway and put the apple filling jelly roll style. I tried to roll it but it was stuck and a scraper only tears holes. I stopped with the scrapper and slid lots of flour under as I tried to roll up with my hands. All I had was a log full of holes and filling all over because it didn’t have the strength for rolling. I ended up just kneading it all together with lots of flour to try to salvage it, but it still would not form a roll. How much apple is 2 medium in cups? The dough was really wet anyway and the apples added so much juice that I’m sure it wasn’t helping. There were pools of juice making holes. I was confused by how much moisture called for in this one. It’s much higher than the whole wheat master recipe to start with but I followed the charts to add water for my kinds of flour and increased the gluten by 1 TBS to put it closer to the 100% whole grain recipes. Oh, and it overflowed heavily on the counter and in the fridge initially.

  11. – Recently visited the state of Maine where I found some locally grown and milled whole wheat. Plans are to use that flour wih some vital wheat gluten to experience ww sandwhich bread free formed in fendu shape, and pizza or calzone.

  12. Jeff, someone on the Google groups said that there was an error in the pumpkin recipe but I thought it came out fine. I will check the error list for other stuff. Question: do you think I could use a bundt pan for the brioche recipe? I have an almost unused one and thought it might look good. What changes would I have to make in baking, in your opinion. Happy Thanksgiving!


    1. Suzan: Pumpkin recipes should be OK, can you be more specific about what was being claimed?

      I think the bundt pan should work well, baking time all depends on how skinny the Bundt-wall is– may need less or more, depending on how thick the ring is. My guess: about the same. Jeff

  13. Hi Jeff, someone claimed that the vital wheat gluten was incorrect. But, I checked your recipe here against the book and it was the same. It was an email during the bread braid but I can’t remember who posted it.



  14. Wow – I did this one, twice, and ran wild with it; there was a normal loaf, yes, but also muffin-rolls, a cinnamon swirl loaf, and the crescent rolls from the book. That last one, in particular, had absolutely amazing oven spring – they all must have doubled in size! Very festive in a basket on the post-Thanksgiving table…!

  15. Just a quick question: I would like to send family and friends some bread through the mail this holiday season. Any suggestions on this…?

  16. Just a quick question: I would like to send family and friends some bread through the mail this holiday season. Any suggestions on this…?

    1. Hi Julia,

      If you want to send it closer to the holidays I would try parbaking several loaves and then freezing them. You can either send them parbaked and have the recipient heat and serve or you can finish baking right before sending them off. Just bake the bread about 90% of the way, let it cool completely, wrap really well and freeze. To recrisp the crust, thaw, put in a preheated oven and bake for about 10-15 minutes depending on the type of bread.

      Enjoy, Zoë

  17. I am teaching some Holiday Bread classes and one of the recipes is the Braided Raspberry Almond Cream Pastry. I’m wondering if the frozen mixed berries could be defrosted, drained and substituted for the expensive (right now) fresh raspberries. I’ve considered other fruits but the berries are so nice and pretty.

    1. Hi Joan,

      The frozen and strained berries will work just fine and give you all the flavor and color you are looking for.

      Enjoy, Zoë

  18. Thanks for the quick response, Zoe, last night’s class went so well and they loved the braid, plus the lemon-poppyseed muffins with the rest of the brioche dough. The oohs & aahs as they tasted it was just soul-satisfying!

    1. Hi ckirkwood,

      Obviously we don’t really endorse baking in a bread machine, but all of the doughs could be mixed in one. Although we are making enough dough for 4 loaves so you may have to cut the recipes in half to fit?

      If you have not yet given our method a try you may end up preferring it to the machine!

      Thanks and happy baking, Zoë

  19. Can white whole wheat flour be used in place of regular white flour in any recipes?

    Can more than one load be made at one time? I like to give loaves at Christmas and need to make more than one at a time.

    1. Hi Paula,

      The white whole wheat can replace regular whole wheat but not all-purpose. Whole wheat flour absorbs much more water than all-purpose and therefore your dough will be much too dry if you try to substitute. Are there recipes in HBin5 that you are trying to make 100% whole grain?

      You can bake as many loaves as will fit into your oven. Just be sure they are not too crowded. You may have to give them a little more baking time, but you can just go by the color of the crust as we indicate in the recipes.

      Thanks and enjoy! Zoë

  20. What’s the best way to store freshly baked, crusty bread for a day or two (or three)? My family loves it dark and cracklin’ crusty but they don’t quite make it through 2 loaves at a meal. Thank you for this great technique!!

  21. As the flour is in a sourdough environment over a extended period of time, although refrigerated, would your method be classified as sprouted grain? Which neutralizes of the phytic acid in the grain.
    Thank you for your time,

    1. Paula: We don’t sprout the grain, where you have to soak the whole unground kernels till they sprout. But… from what I’ve read, our stuff may (may!) qualify as soaked, which supposedly neutralizes phytic acid.

      But I’m not willing to make any health claims here– not enough good science to make a judgement on whether this is important. Jeff

  22. Please comment on propane versus electric as fuel. My bread crust is not as good with the gas as it is when I had electric. Any way to compensate for the high moisture content of propane?

    1. Hi Mike,

      This is a constant issue for people baking with gas ovens. It often has to do with the way the ovens are vented, which doesn’t allow the steam to be trapped, therefore the crust is compromised. A solution to baking in a gas oven and getting the result you are used to in your electric oven is to bake within a closed pot. Here are a few alternatives:




      Thanks, Zoë

  23. I just happened to be making my first pumpkin pie brioche today, when I logged on here to try to find out why my dough is more like cake batter — cannot be formed at all even after 2+ hours in the fridge. I checked the ingredients, and feel fairly certain that my quantities were correct. I basically added some flour and still pretty much poured the “dough” into the loaf pan. I have no idea what will happen. I suppose my next bread will be a 2nd attempt at this! 🙂


    1. Hi Stephanie,

      The dough will be quite wet and sticky when you first mix it up, but once it is well chilled, which may take longer than 2+ hours, it should be easy to handle. If not, you may have omitted some of the flour. Be sure that you are using the scoop and sweep method of measuring. If you use the spoon and sweep method you will have a dough that is far too wet.

      Hope this helps! Zoë

  24. Thanks, Zoe. I do scoop and sweep, and I believe I measured the right amounts. It definitely chilled over 2 hours, but not much more. The only thing I do not clearly remember adding is the salt. Could leaving out the salt cause the extreme wetness. There was definitely no handling this “dough”!

  25. Stefanie: I don’ t think the salt could be the problem. Seems most likely that you mis-measured something, or possibly, that the brands of ingredients are different in their water-absorbing properties than the ones we tested with.

    About scoop-and-sweep, see this video:https://artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=1801

    But you may just have to decrease the water to account for differences in the ingredients. Assuming this wasn’t a measurement error.

    Let us know what you find… Jeff

  26. Thanks, Jeff. I guess I’ll assume I mis-measured somewhere and try this again. I did add flour in the end and it turned out edible and flavorful. 🙂

    Thanks for all the help,

  27. Zoe & Jeff – Thank you for the care, patience and attention you give to your commenting bakers! Our family started baking with ABi5 in July, and more recently HBi5, and have been loving every minute of it! Today my wife and I hoped to surprise the kids with healthy sticky buns. Last night we prepared the buns (using brioche dough); we then put the pan in the refrigerator overnight and baked them this morning. They were unbelievably delicious (thank you again!), but the middle ones were somewhat mushy. We baked them for 35, rather than 30 minutes, but was afraid of burning them (we even placed a sheet of foil on top to protect them). They sat out on the counter while the oven heated (per p. 48), but that was probably 15 minutes max. We were wondering if the mass of the dough requires leaving it out longer?

  28. Since I just found out about this lovely looking brioche. This will be it. In addition I just found your web site thanks to KAF and twitter.

  29. My daughter has been making your Artisan bread for over a year and she sent me to your website today to have a look around. I haven’t made anything yet but am considering the brioche recipe. Hope its not a difficult one to start with! Looking forward to many “fresh bread” days ahead!

  30. Thank you for clarifying about the Vital Wheat Gluton (flour). I was confused with VWG and VWG flour, or both are same or not.

    Here in Australia, Bob’s Red Mill products are not sold but I checked with other local bakery sold VWG flour. I can’t wait to receive my book and try my hands. 🙂

  31. This is an old thread but I just have to comment on the pumpkin pie brioche. I made cinnamon rolls out of it and they were fantastic. I can’t remember where or who suggested these were good but… I do have a question regarding freezing the dough. I want to make these to give as XMAS gifts but would like to freeze them so I can give them as a “bake and serve”. AB5 suggests the dough can be frozen following its 2 hr rise at room temp. I would like to make the rolls and place them in a pan and then freeze them–perhaps after they have risen for some time. Would like your thoughts on this idea. Thank you.

      1. Jeff-

        Thank you for the quick comeback. I made the pumpkin pie brioche recipe that Zoe put on your website in Nov 18, ’09 (she states the recipe is on pg 284 in HBin5, although I do not own that book). Rather than form into a loaf as described in Zoe’s post, I made cinnamon rolls out of the dough using a recipe I found on girlchef.com.

        So, I guess I spoke “with forked-tongue” when I mentioned ABin5 suggested the dough could be frozen following its 2 hr room temp rise. Sorry for the confusion, I must have found reference to freezing this dough on another website. Anyway, just wondering whether you have had success freezing this dough or have heard of someone else having success? Thank you.

      2. Hi Mike,

        You can freeze the dough, but only for a few weeks or it loses some of its rising power.

        Thanks, Zoë

  32. Just wondered how you came up w/the cooking time for PP Brioche. I’ve made this twice now, and both times, it took at LEAST 20 minutes longer for the bread temp to reach 190 degrees. Every other recipe I’ve seen for brioche calls for at least a 190 degree internal temp. Is yours different? Today I same some (in a bread pan) and after 50 min., the temp was only 125, so I was afraid it would be raw. 1st time I made it, I used a round casserole dish w/same results. I tented w/foil after 50 min. to keep top from burning and had to bake and bake and bake…

      1. I haven’t…but I don’t have trouble with any other breads or recipes for that matter. Kind of weird. I guess I’d be curious to know if you or others have checked the internal temp of this bread after the specified time. Is it 190+ or actually lower? Thanks!

  33. I combined this post and the post for French toast and made Pumkin Swirl Bread. For spices, I used a your cinnamon sugar mix, but added a tsp of gingerbread spice mix.

    I just had a slice and it was fabulous.

  34. I’d like to try making some pumpkin pie brioche based on the brioche recipe in the New ABin5. If I use 1 3/4 cups pumpkin puree in that recipe, how much water would I need? Does it replace the water one-to-one? I’d like to try making little rolls with this and coat them with cinnamon-sugar. Thanks!

    1. I’d have to think about that one… sounds like you have Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day (https://bit.ly/3wYSSN), which has our Pumpkin Pie Brioche recipe that has 1 3/4 cups of puree. Why not just make that? Or base it on that– but it’s going to take some experimentation. As I remember, it was more complicated recipe-testing than just swapping for water because of solids in the puree.

      1. I don’t have HBin5, I just have the New ABin5. I was referring to the recipe in the post, that was from HBin5. I don’t have any VWG (and didn’t really want to mess with it), so I was just wondering how the proportions in this compared to the HBin5 brioche without pumpkin. When I bake muffins, etc., I sometimes replace oil with pumpkin puree, but it sounds like it wouldn’t be so simple for this one. Thanks for the feedback, though. I’ll have to give it some thought!

  35. I know this is an old thread, but I have to thank you for the pumpkin brioche recipe!!!! I have made it before and it’s always a hit. This time, I made the HBi5 crescent roll recipe with pumpkin brioche, and WOW. They were amazing. I can’t even explain how good.

    For anyone who is scared of the rolling/cutting part of the recipe. I learned that getting the rectangles and triangles right isn’t a big deal. It does impact the final crescent shape, but then they rise and look different anyway. And, if they look funny after baking, slather on extra frosting!

    In all of the brioche recipes, it mentions chilling the dough before working with it. I find that if I do this, it is the easiest of the doughs to work with. It rolls out well and doesn’t tear.

    I just realized I’m turning into a brioche/HBi5 fan girl, so I’ll stop now.

    1. Thanks so much for the kind words, Sara. Made me realize I should add all our old Thanksgiving posts to today’s one.

  36. This looks so yummy! Can you tell me what size brioche pan was used please? Just received your newest book and have Challah dough in the fridge so I can make the star. So excited!!

    Thank you!

    1. Let me check with Zoe and get back to you– there’s some confusion in this post because the link to the pan looks like a small one, which surprises me…

      1. I see the problem–that link needs you to choose the pan size–and you should choose the 6-inch brioche pan, but use a 1 1/2 pound ball of dough, not 2 pounds (we changed that in the recipe).

  37. In the book, i have the digital version of all your books, it list 1 1/4 cup water and then 2 cups of water… i dont see however how much pumpkin I need. This for the Pumpkin Brioche bread in the healthy bread book.

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