For the best weekend ever, you’ll need someone you love very dearly, your appetite, and a loaf of Pumpkin Pull Apart Bread, a.k.a. the best thing to happen to any of us since Nutella, DVR, or Daniel Craig as James Bond.
Here’s how it goes down: You begin at one end of the pumpkin pull apart bread; your friend begins at the other.
Twenty minutes later, you meet in the middle with the simultaneous, elated realization that this bread (and ok, each other) are the only two things you need to be deliriously happy for the rest of your lives.
Here’s what I love about this pumpkin pull apart bread recipe:
- Layers of love. It’s layer upon pillowy layer of sweet golden pumpkin dough, slathered in brown butter, and bathed in brown sugar stacked together piece by piece.
- No knives or forks required. Each fluffy slice is prime for peeling and popping right into your mouth.
- Fabulous fall flavors. Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and plenty of pumpkin make this an irresistible fall recipe perfect for brunching on the weekends, afternoon snacking, or even dessert.
Basically, it’s all my favorite things about pumpkin bread, cinnamon rolls, and monkey bread baked into a single, beautiful creation. The happiness is baked right in!
How to Make Pumpkin Pull Apart Bread
Pull apart bread recipes look a lot more complicated than they are. Don’t be intimidated. This pumpkin pull apart bread recipe isn’t just delicious, it’s easy and fun to make too.
- Flour. To keep the dough light and fluffy, while also a little nutritious, I use a blend of all purpose and whole wheat pastry flour. It’s my go-to 50-50 blend I’ve used in countless baking recipes (like this Cream Cheese Banana Bread).
- Pumpkin. Adds flavor and moisture to the dough. Plus pumpkin is packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
- Butter. Not just any butter, BROWN butter. Browning the butter adds a wonderful toasted toffee flavor to the bread that is simply divine!
- Brown Sugar. Serves as the foundation for the sweet filling which caramelizes as it bakes between each layer of dreamy pumpkin dough.
- Instant Yeast. I love instant yeast because there’s no need to activate with milk or water before mixing it with the other ingredients.
- Egg and Milk. Bring the dough together and enrich the dough to make it soft and tender.
- Spices. A blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cardamom makes this bread fill your kitchen with a heavenly aroma.
- Vanilla. Balances and enhances the pumpkin and brown sugar flavors.
- Brown the butter.
- Combine the dry ingredients.
- Add the browned butter, warm milk, pumpkin, egg, and vanilla to the dry ingredients.
- Knead until a smooth, tacky dough forms.
- Cover dough and let rise until doubled in size.
- Make the filling and brown additional butter.
- Roll the dough into a large rectangle, spread the browned butter over the dough, and sprinkle with the filling.
- Slice the dough into five equal strips, stack, and slice again into five equal pieces. Line up the dough pieces in a greased standard loaf pan. Cover a proof again until almost doubled in size.
- Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven until deep golden brown and the internal temperature of the dough slices registers 190 degrees F.
- Remove, let cool, then remove from pan. Serve warm. ENJOY!
Tools Used to Make This Recipe
- Saucepan. A tool that will cook beside you for many years.
- Stand Mixer. The perfect appliance for preparing the bread.
Frequently Asked Questions
If your pumpkin pull apart bread is still doughy in the center, it was likely underbaked. For best results, tent your bread halfway through baking to prevent the top from becoming too brown. I also recommend investing in an instant-read thermometer to test the doneness of your bread. 190 degrees F is the sweet spot for pull apart bread.
I have not tried making this recipe gluten free. You may try swapping the all purpose flour and whole wheat pastry flour in this recipe for a 1-to-1 gluten free baking flour alternative. It would be an experiment though!
Yes. While I have not personally used fresh pumpkin puree, you should be able to swap the canned pumpkin for an equal amount of fresh pumpkin puree. If you try this, let me know your results in the comments.
Pumpkin Pull Apart Bread
For the Dough:
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter (4 tablespoons)
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus about 1/2 cup additional for kneading
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour or use substitute all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar light or dark
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 package instant yeast (1/4 ounce or about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk or whole milk, heated until very warm but not hot (120 degrees F – 130 degrees F)
- 2/3 cup pumpkin puree do not use pumpkin pie filling
- 1 large egg lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Filling:
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter (4 tablespoons)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar light or dark
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- In a small saucepan, brown butter: Melt butter over medium heat until it begins to foam and sputter, swirling the pan occasionally. Continue to heat and swirl until it begins to smell nutty, its color darkens, and small gold bits form on the bottom of the saucepan. Remove from heat immediately and set aside to cool slightly.
- In a bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl, combine 1 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour, whole wheat pastry flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, yeast, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cardamom.
- With a small whisk, stir the browned butter to scrape up any brown bits, then pour into the dry ingredients. Add the warm milk, pumpkin, egg, and vanilla. Mix on medium speed (or by hand with a wooden spoon) just until the dough comes together.
- Switch to a dough hook and mix for 5 minutes on low, stopping periodically to scrape down the bowl (or knead by hand for 7 minutes). The dough will be wet and sticky. Continue to knead, gradually working in an additional 1/3 to 1/2 cup all purpose flour. The dough should lose some of its stickiness but still feel quite tacky.
- Lightly spray a large mixing bowl with cooking spray. Place the dough into the bowl, turning once to coat it with oil, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap or drape a kitchen towel over the top. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until doubled in size.*
- Meanwhile, make the filling. In a small saucepan, brown the 4 tablespoons butter, following the same procedure for Step 1 above. Set aside. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Grease a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan.
- Turn the risen dough out onto a well-floured surface and sprinkle a bit of additional flour on top. With a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 12-inch by 20-inch rectangle so that the long side is nearest to you (take care to measure with a ruler). With a pastry brush, spread the browned butter over the dough, all the way up to the edge. Sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mixture (it will seem like a lot, but use all of it).
- Slice the dough vertically, into five strips of equal width. Carefully stack the strips on top of one another (a long spatula is helpful) so that you have a single stack of five strips. Slice the stack into five equal slices again, so that you are left with five stacks of five squares. Line up each stack of dough squares in the pan so that the cinnamon sides are facing the narrow end of the pan. The slices will be longer on one side—stand them on their shorter end so that each slice is taller than it is wide. Place a kitchen towel over the loaf pan and allow it to rest in a warm, draft-free place for 30 to 45 minutes or until almost doubled in size.
- Preheat to 350 degrees F. Bake loaf for 25 minutes, tent with foil, then bake an additional 20-25 minutes, until the top is a deep golden brown and the internal temperature of the dough slices registers 190 degrees F. (If the top is only lightly brown, the dough may not be done in the center.)
- Remove loaf from the oven and allow it to rest in the pan for 20 to 30 minutes on a wire rack. Run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the bread and invert it onto a cutting board. Serve warm.
- *To determine if the dough has risen sufficiently, press the dough lightly with two fingers. If the indentation remains, the dough is fully proofed and ready to use.
- TO MAKE AHEAD: After kneading, place the dough in the refrigerator and let rise overnight. When you are ready to continue, let the dough rest at room temperature for 30 minutes, then proceed with the recipe as directed.
- TO STORE: Keep leftover pumpkin pull apart bread well-wrapped in plastic or foil at room temperature for up to 2 days.
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