This Gluten Free Pumpkin Challah is not only fluffy, but it is full of delicious fall flavors. Challah should be fun so why not vary the flavors throughout the year? One bite and you will love this fall challah recipe!
Baking challah every Friday is a family tradition you see in many Jewish homes. When someone has to go gluten free, this can be difficult because so few gluten free flour blends work well enough to allow you to braid the dough.
I have been experimenting with flavors and I am really proud of my new gluten free pumpkin challah recipe. You can work and braid the dough, even with the pumpkin puree and fall seasonings used!!
Braid this challah in the traditional way, make it in a round shape for Rosh Hashana, or use the dough to make gluten free challah rolls! Anyway you make it, know that my recipe will taste incredible!
If you love to bake challah, be sure to try my original plain flavored Gluten Free Challah recipe. You can also check out all of my easy gluten free bread recipes if you are looking for more fun recipes to try.
Why This Recipe Is Great:
- Fall flavors of pumpkin and cinnamon really stand out in this recipe.
- You can braid the dough as you would a gluten challah! The gluten free flour blend I recommend below is seriously life changing when it comes to the ability to braid the dough.
- Even with pumpkin, the texture of this gluten free pumpkin challah is soft and springy!
- Leftovers make incredible French Toast!
- You can freeze this challah so you have it when you need it.
- Gluten Free Flour Blend - The best gluten free flour blend, EVER, for making gluten free challah is Authentic Foods Steve's Gluten Free Bread Blend. I don't know what magic they worked into the dough, but I can't say enough good things about this flour blend. It is perfect for any bread where you need to work the dough. If you don't have this blend, use Cup4Cup.
- Xanthan Gum - If the blend you use doesn't have xanthan or guar gum, you will need to add one teaspoon. This helps hold the bread together because it mimics gluten.
- Pumpkin Spice and Ground Cinnamon - Double check your spices are gluten free. Many do not contain gluten ingredients, but they may be made on shared equipment. I like to use McCormick and Penzeys spices.
- Salt - Use kosher salt or sea salt.
- Butter - I recommend using unsalted butter.
- Pumpkin Puree - Be sure to use pumpkin puree and NOT pumpkin pie filling. You can use canned or roast a pumpkin and puree it.
- Yeast - Be sure to verify the yeast you use is gluten free. Red Star Platinum is NOT gluten free.
- Eggs - Use size large.
Recipe Step By Step Directions:
Step 1: Add warm water to a glass dish. Be sure your water is no hotter than 110º F. Add the yeast and sugar. Let the yeast mixture sit for 5 minutes until it is frothy and full of bubbles.
Step 2: Add the melted butter, egg, pumpkin puree, yeast mixture, and spices to a standing mixer. (Note you can also mix this up in mixing bowls.) Put on the paddle attachment. Mix until the wet ingredients are mixed together.
Step 3: Add the gluten free flour and salt to the bowl of the stand mixer. Mix on medium speed until you have a nice formed dough. Do not mix long; all you need is about 20-30 seconds if you are using my preferred gluten free flour blend.
NOTE: If you are using Cup4Cup, you need to add ¼ cup additional flour. (Do not add extra if you use the Authentic Foods brand I recommend.)
Step 4: Your dough should make a nice ball. You only will get one good rise from gluten free dough, so you need to shape your challah BEFORE rising the dough.
Step 5: Divide your dough into three equal-sized balls of dough. Roll them out like snakes so that they are all the same length. Place the strands side by side and braid them into challah, crossing each strand over itself. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and place it in a warm area to rise.
Gluten Free Dough Rising Tip:
Turn your oven on to 200º F. When it hits 200 degrees, turn the oven off, keeping the door closed. Place the baking sheet with the challah into the oven. I always rise my dough in a warm oven. Let the challah rise until they double in size, which takes about 45 minutes if you use the recommended flour blend.
Step 6: This is what the pumpkin challah will look like when it has doubled in size.
Step 7: Whisk a small egg in a bowl. Brush the egg wash over the challah dough. This will help it get golden.
Step 8: Bake the challah in the oven at 350º F for 25 minutes. Note the actual baking time will vary depending on the size and thickness of the challah you make.
Remove the gluten free pumpkin challah from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool. Do not slice the challah until it has cooled. Serve for Shabbat or anytime.
Tips and Recipe FAQ:
This pumpkin challah will keep fresh for up to 3 days. Store it in an airtight container in your refrigerator. Note gluten free flour doesn't have the same preservatives, so it will not keep fresh long outside of the refrigerator.
To braid round challah, roll two long strands out of the dough. Twist the strands around each other, then roll them into a round shape. (Similar to how you would roll cinnamon rolls.) Bake it in that round position.
Yes you can freeze this challah. I actually recommend you do this. Slice the challah or freeze it whole. If you slice it, you may want to place wax paper between each slice to prevent it from freezing together.
More Gluten Free Pumpkin Recipes:
- The Best Gluten Free Pumpkin Scones
- Gluten Free Pumpkin French Toast Casserole - use leftover challah in this recipe.
- Easy Gluten Free Pumpkin Biscuits
- Gluten Free Pumpkin Biscotti
Gluten Free Pumpkin Challah
- 2 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast * see note
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ¾ cup warm water 110º F
- 2 ½ cups gluten free flour blend * see note!
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- Preheat your oven to 200º F, then turn off the oven. This is where you will rise your dough.
- Heat the water to 110º F in a glass dish. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the yeast. Let it sit for 5 minutes until it is bubbling.
- Add the pumpkin, vanilla extract, butter, and egg to the bowl of a standing mixer. Attach the paddle attachment and mix for 30 seconds.
- Pour in the yeast mixture and mix for 15 seconds.
- Add in the flour, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Mix on low speed, gradually increasing the speed as the dough forms.
- You only get one rise, so you need to shape the bread.
- NOTE: If you are not using the recommended flour, Authentic Foods Steve's GF Bread Flour, you will need to add more flour. For Cup4Cup you need an additional ¼ cup of gluten free flour. I didn't test any other brands, so keep in mind you will need to add more if you used another flour.
- Break the challah dough into three evenly sized balls. Roll each into a rope. They should all be the same length and thickness.
- Place the ropes on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Braid the three ropes crossing each over the other until you have a braided challah loaf.
- Cover loosely with plastic wrap and put it into the oven to rise. Let the challah rise for one hour or until it doubles in size.
- Remove the bread from the oven and remove the plastic wrap. Preheat the oven to 350º F. Bake the challah for 25-30 minutes. The actual baking time will vary depending on how thick the challah is.
- Remove the challah and cool on a cooling rack.
- I highly encourage you to use Authentic Foods Steve's GF Bread Flour Blend. It is life changing. You can braid and work the dough as you would a gluten dough! If you can't use this, the only other flour blend I have tested is Cup4Cup. You need to add ¼ cup of additional flour if you use Cup4Cup or other blends.
- If your flour blend doesn't have xanthan gum, add one teaspoon.
- Store the challah in an airtight container. It freezes really well too!
Nutritional information is an estimate provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the actual nutritional information with the products and brands you are using with your preferred nutritional calculator.
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