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Hearty Dark Rye Pumpkin Yeast Bread

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Surprise your family and friends with this delicious Hearty Dark Rye Pumpkin Yeast Bread. It’s easy to make with a few simple ingredients, and it will be a huge hit on your Thanksgiving table.

Dark Rye Pumpkin Yeast Bread

Contrary to the title of this recipe, this Dark Rye Pumpkin Yeast Bread does not contain any pumpkin in the ingredients. I’ve named this recipe specifically from the shape of the loaves themselves. For those of you who are so over the last three months of all things “pumpkin flavored”…you’re welcome!! LOL

Dark Rye Pumpkin Yeast Bread

The idea for this bread came to me last week when I’d seen a friend (Katrina of Baking with Boys) on  a Facebook post that it was National Homemade Bread Day. After I’d seen her post, I immediately went to my baking cabinet to see what kind of homemade bread I could whip up in a short amount of time. My rye flour jumped out at me calling “use me, use me,” and since I’m never one to want to disappoint, I decided that a dark rye yeast bread would be perfect for the occasion.

Dark Rye Pumpkin Yeast Bread

From there, the idea of shaping the loaves into pumpkins just popped into my head, so I ran with it. I think it’s a fun and unexpected new way to serve bread at a family gathering, and it’s certainly a conversation starter if used as an edible centerpiece on the table.

Dark Rye Pumpkin Yeast Bread

Makes: 2 medium pumpkins     Prep Time: 2½ hours (includes rise time)    Bake Time: 40 minutes

2 cups water
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup molasses
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 packages active dry yeast (4½ teaspoons)
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1½ tablespoons caraway seeds
1 tablespoon salt
3½ cups rye flour (you may not need all of it), plus additional for kneading.
cooking spray
plastic wrap
2 baking sheets
parchment paper (optional)

-In a small saucepan simmer the first five ingredients until the butter is melted. Set aside to cool to a warm 110-115 degrees.

-In a large bowl (I used the bowl of my stand mixer), whisk together the all-purpose flour, yeast, cocoa powder, caraway seeds and flour. Stir in 3 cups of the rye flour.

-Using the dough hook attachment (or a wooden spoon) add the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients until the dough comes together into a ball. *Note – you may need to use the additional rye flour at this point if the dough is too wet and sticky.

-Turn the dough out onto a surface that has been lightly dusted with additional rye flour and knead the dough by hand until it is smooth and elastic.

-Spray the inside of the bowl with cooking spray. Return the dough back into the bowl and spray the top of the dough with a light spray of cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise in a warm, draft free place for 1 hour (or until doubled in bulk).

-Once the dough has doubled, turn the dough out and divide the dough equally in half. Cut two small pieces to form the stems of each pumpkin. Form each half of the dough into a smooth, round pumpkin shape, indenting slightly at the top for the stem. Wet the top of the pumpkin (where the stem will be) with a tiny bit of water and press the small bit of dough onto the large round to form a stem. Use a sharp paring knife to cut rounded slits into the pumpkin and some additional slits for the stem.
Continue the same process with the second half of dough and stem piece.

-Allow the pumpkin loaves to rise again until doubled in a warm, draft free place (approximately 30-45 minutes).

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake the loaves in a preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the bread sounds hallow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack and serve as desired for sandwiches or use as a edible table centerpiece.


Dark Rye Pumpkin Yeast Bread


Dark Rye Pumpkin Yeast Bread

If you love this recipe but don’t want to shape your bread into pumpkin shapes, no worries. Just divide the dough in half and shape each half into traditional oval shaped loaves. You’ll enjoy the taste of the dark rye bread just as much in an oval shape as you will in a pumpkin shape so fear not that this recipe can be used just during the holidays. Please enjoy it all year through!

For all you homemade bread bakers out there, I hope that my hand painted tea towel or apron design will get a rise out of you. Ha Ha. Get it? Sorry for my half-baked bread humor. Oops. There I go again!

All you knead is love hand painted tea towel


All you knead is love hand painted apron.

If there is ever anything I can paint for you, from tea towels, to aprons, to glassware items, please don’t hesitate to contact me or visit my shop on Etsy. Custom orders are always welcome and I will happily work from any photo or description you send my way.

Kudos Kitchen by Renee ~ Where food, art, and fun collide on a regular basis!

Until we eat again, I hope you have a delicious day!


Kim Bee

Wednesday 25th of November 2015

Oh my gosh, I flipping love this bread. Not only do I LOVE rye bread but I love the shape of this. This is super creative.


Wednesday 25th of November 2015

This is another winner Renee! Your bread could take center stage on a holiday table!

Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez

Wednesday 25th of November 2015

Oh my gosh, these are adorable Renee - so perfectly formed! And I adore dark rye, so I have to add these to my to-make list.

Kirsten from

Tuesday 24th of November 2015

Dark rye is one of my all time favorite breads. The pumpkin shape is way too cute!

Aly ~ Cooking in Stilettos

Tuesday 24th of November 2015

This is absolutely stunning and perfect for the holidays! While yeast and I still are on the outs, I might have to revisit my bread baking fear and make my own rye bread :)