Pumpkin Spice Brioche

Pumpkin Spice Brioche Crust

Pumpkin puree and its familiar spice mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger are kneaded into buttery dough in this seasonal take on the classic brioche. This recipe makes so much sense to me – winter squashes simply roasted with butter is always comforting when in season . These soft yellow puffs topped with crunchy pumpkin seeds have a bit more to offer than its oven-roasted cousin but it took a bit of deciphering to get started.

This pumpkin brioche recipe was derived from a rocket scientist-friendly formula posted in the San Francisco Baking Institute website. Converting every single decimal into manageable measurements was mind-numbing tediousness but the effort was thankfully worth it. I’ll make this again whether pumpkins are in season or not, thanks to the magic of canning.

Here’s to hoping that I’m not the only geek who bakes with a laptop and spreadsheet in the kitchen instead of measuring cups.

recipe adapted from The San Francisco Baking Institute
Yeastspotting at Wild Yeast Blog

Pumpkin Spice Brioche Rolls

makes 24 individual brioche rolls

Pumpkin Spice Brioche Nutmeg Cloves Cinnamon
Nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves for grinding.

For the Sponge (Pre-fermented Dough):

Ingredients                  Volume          Ounces          Grams
bread flour                       1 cup           4.4          124
water, at room temperature      1/3 cup           2.6           74
instant yeast                 pinch

Mix the sponge ingredients until evenly distributed and place in a covered bowl.

Let stand at room temperature for 12 to 16 hours before using in the final dough.

Final Dough Formula:

Ingredients                  Volume          Ounces          Grams
all of the sponge (pre-fermented dough)
bread flour                       3 cups         13.9          394
milk                              4 tsp            .7           20
large whole eggs                  1
large egg yolks                   2
instant yeast                     2 tsp
unsweetened pumpkin puree     1 1/4 cups         10.5          298
cinnamon, ground                1/2 tsp
nutmeg, ground                  2/3 tsp
ginger, dried ground            1/4 tsp
cloves, ground                  1/4 tsp
sugar                             3 tbsp          1.4           40
honey                             2 tbsp          1.4           40
butter, softened                 10 tbsp          4.9          139

Glaze and Toppings:

egg wash
toasted pumpkin seeds or pearl sugar / crushed sugar cubes


2 half sheet pans lined with parchment paper

Final Dough Instructions:

Reserve half of the pumpkin puree and butter. It will be added
towards the end of kneading. Adding all of the pumpkin puree and
butter at the beginning will inhibit gluten development.
Mix             Mix all of the ingredients (except the reserved
                pumpkin puree and butter) until evenly incorporated

Knead           8 to 10 minutes

Mix             Add the rest of the pumpkin puree and butter

Knead           4 to 6 minutes (the dough will be very sticky)

Ferment #1      45 minutes at room temperature

Stretch and Fold

Ferment #2      45 minutes at room temperature

Divide          24 pieces, approximately 2 ounces/56 grams each

Rest            15 minutes at room temperature

Shape           round rolls

Glaze and Top   Glaze with the egg wash and sprinkle the tops with
                pumpkin seeds or pearl sugar

Final Proof     90 minutes at room temperature on 2 half sheet pans
                lined with parchment (12 rolls on each pan)

Preheat Oven    380ºF/193ºC

Bake            Bake for 15 minutes at 380ºF/193ºC, rotating
                the sheet pans halfway through baking if necessary.

Pumpkin Spice Brioche Crumb
Pumpkin Spice Brioche crumb.

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38 Responses to “Pumpkin Spice Brioche”

  1. Susan/Wild Yeast says:

    No, you are not the only such geek — I’m baking from a spreadsheet at this very moment. The seeds on these rolls are a great idea, not only to add texture, flavor, and visual appeal but to hint at the pumpkin-y goodness within.

  2. Caitlin says:

    I always bake from spreadsheets. It’s how I scale recipes down so I don’t scale myself up :) And really, there’s nothing prettier than the inside of a nutmeg.

  3. snookydoodle says:

    This pumpkin brioche looks really nice. However I really admire for waiting that long for the brioche. It really takes alot of time to make. I m not that keen on that :) How can I substitute freash pumpkin for the canned ones since i canned pumpkin is not available here. Do I just puree it or I have to bake it first?

  4. Tom Aarons says:

    Jude, that spice photo is a study in macro perfection. And what you did with the spices is kind of spectacular as well! :)

  5. Rosa says:

    Those frangrant brioches look very pretty, festive and must taste really good!



  6. clumbsycookie says:

    What a gorgeous color your brioche has! It’s like sunshine in the autumn weather! Beautiful pictures!

  7. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) says:

    Beautiful! I love the color and the pumpkin seeds on the top, too. I’m not much of a measurer, so thanks for doing the hard work for us. Will pass this recipe along to my husband, who’s been baking lots of brioche lately. Hope he’ll give this a try!

  8. Mike says:

    You’re going to get me baking bread yet…or at the very least, licking my screen. For all the things I’ve pushed myself to try, bread is one of those things I, week after week, keep shying away from. I’ve really wanted brioche lately and I love the seasonal twist you took on it

  9. Andrea says:

    Wow, I think all of that math would fry my brain! Thanks for publishing your conversions! I’ve made one failed brioche before, so maybe it’s time to give it another try. I love the pepitas on top and they really are a beautiful, almost glowing color.

  10. kat says:

    Oh my gosh those look sos good! No you aren’t the only one figuring that kind of stuff out. I’m always sizing every recipe down to a small batch so there’s lots of math

  11. Zoë François says:

    This looks great and I bet your kitchen smells divine!

  12. Graeme says:

    Wow – They’ve a fantastic colour, don’t they?

  13. rainbowbrown says:

    Holy cow that’s gonna be so awesome when I make it, like tomorrow.

  14. Adam says:

    What an awesome Fall bread! That looks delicious, with the pumpkin seeds and everything :) I had no idea there was a ‘Baking Institute’, that’s pretty neat, especially when some baking is like a science :)

  15. Lynne says:

    I love this brioche. Such gorgeous colors and with the spices and pumpkins are so Fall! I’ve made brioche only once, but will definitely try your recipe.

  16. noobcook says:

    Just had breakfast and yet I am drooling over your photo of a perfect brioche. The pumpkin seeds look like they are ‘floating’ … very artistically and beautifully taken photo ^o^

  17. Natashya says:

    I was just thinking today that I would like to make a bread with squash. I was thinking that I would have to use a potato bread recipe and switch it.
    Your rolls look so Autumnal – and I love the shots of the spices.
    I have no spreadsheets, calculators or the likes in the kitchen. I thought I was getting pretty high-tech with the digital scale! You are a scientist, my friend. :)

  18. lalaine says:

    I love coming here week after week to see what you have baking. And weekend after weekend I take out my baking tools to give your breads a try and end up staring into space, intimidated. What a skilled baker you are!

    How about the Philippine brioche recipe, pretty please? I’ve always wanted to learn how to make ensaymadas!

  19. grace says:

    excellent, excellent use for pumpkin! i especially love the color and the little seeds adorning the tops. :)

  20. kellypea says:

    These really sound perfect. Made pumpkin bread w/ fresh pumpkin last year, then some rolls, too, but this brioche sound lovely. The pepitas are so cute on them.

  21. Glad to know i’m not the only bread spreadsheet geek.

    Snooky – It takes a while to make but it’s worth it. This recipe makes a fairly large batch. I would bake fresh pumpkin first for this recipe, just to make sure it doesn’t give that raw pumpkin taste.

    Lalaine – I have a few recipes for ensaimada but haven’t tried any of them yet. Never thought of it as Filipino brioche but it makes sense.

    I hope the conversions work!

  22. Y says:

    What fabulous looking brioche. I love that golden colour too!

  23. MyKitchenInHalfCups says:

    Breath taking Jude! I’ll have to be making these!

  24. Jo says:

    Love your photos and the brioche looks very delicious.

  25. Lori says:

    This looks so YUM. I would love to eat one of these right now with a cup of chai tea!

  26. Hannah says:

    These look ridiculously good! However, I can only imagine what they would be like as a loaf, and then used to make french toast… Mmm!

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  29. Kevin says:

    That pumpkin brioche looks so light an flaky and good! Nice colour!

  30. Gale Reeves says:

    Of all the winter squash samples listed in the link, which squash did you use for this recipe?
    Which is best for pumpkin pies?
    Also, I roasted pumpkin seeds, but they are brown, not green.
    What type squash seeds are these?

  31. Nicisme says:

    I love this one, it’s got everything to make the brioche a winner. Ha ha, I can imagine you in the kitchen with your spreadsheets, and I can honestly say I’ve never heard anyone else cook in this way – you are definitely unique!!

  32. aaricia says:

    I love these recipe! I made briches today – they’re delicious. They are so delicate and aromatic! I’ve used home-made puree and that was my only mistake: puree was too wet, and my brioches could’t keep their shapes while baking. But I will try once again with canned puree, and it will be 100% success!
    Thank U for such a great work (I’ve seen an original recipe and I’m really impressed that you convert it so good).

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  34. Howard says:

    Did I miss how much salt to add?

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