I spent an irrational amount of my high school years protesting.

We walked out.  We sat in.  We made posters.  We chanted.

Heck, we all but marched on Washington.

And yet, that’s really not me.  I’m not usually one to get swept away with self righteousness or feel a connection to a cause that’s so all-encompassing that I’m sure I can’t live without blocking traffic or toilet paper-ing someone’s car.

This may come as a surprise.  But I’m pretty complacent.


Until, of course.  The great stuffing debate of 2010.  Which was promptly followed by the great stuffing boycott of 2010.

You see.  Every year my brother and father insist on making stuffing from a box.  Or a bag.  And every year, I fight tooth and nail for my right to homemade stuffing.  (Truly, if such a right isn’t already in the Constitution, I plan on writing a bill to have the damn thing amended.  Hallelujah.) Stuffing with a little something called flavor.  Stuffing that does not merely consist of synthetically produced bread cubes that are chock full of high fructose corn syrup, sausage, and celery.

No, no, no.  I wanted robust flavors. Homemade brioche, perhaps.  Or pumpkin cornbread.  With sausage, cranberries, raisins, sage, leeks, chestnuts.  Some sweat, blood, and tears.

Sigh.  Doesn’t that sound picturesque to you?


This proposal was, as you might have guessed, promptly rejected.  For no rational reason other than “because we said so”.

And so, remembering the one thing I’ve learned in med school which is that sometimes you have to do irrational things in irrational situations. I felt that I was left with only one recourse (other than storming the place and taking down every man, woman and child in my wake).  That being, of course.  To boycott.

I made posters, devised slogans, elicited signatures.

And, of course, I baked these pumpkin rolls.  Because I truly felt that I should not be banished to a carb-free Thanksgiving just because my family can be just about as gauche as they come.  (And also because I didn’t want you to read about me the next morning in the paper.  I’d be “that girl who killed her family over a pile of mass-produced bread cubes”.  No one wants that. And in my experience, nothing relieves stress more than digging your fingers into a pile of dough. Or setting your stand mixer to 2 and letting it beat the crap out of your dough.  That’s pretty gratifying, as well.)

So I arrived at my parents house.  With the rolls (and guns) blazing in their holsters (err…bread basket).  Expecting that I would be the sole ingest-er of these little knots of pumpkin challah good-ness and really excited about the extras I would get to take home and smear with peanut butter and cranberry sauce the next day.  But then something shocking happened.  Within about ten minutes of my being home, my brother waltzed into the living room stuffing a roll into his mouth.  And then another.  And then another.

The rolls were a hit.  Rightfully so, of course.  They were fantastic.  Fluffy in all the right ways with just a subtle hint of sweetness.

With the take home message being that the power of homemade bread knows no bounds.  (Hear that brother?  And father?  Homemade bread. NOT bread from a small plastic bag.)

And so, I will surely be making these again next year.  With a twist.  Little does everyone know, I have grandiose plans for these babies.  Plans that involve savory pumpkin roll stuffing.  Did I hear someone call for a throwdown?  Boo yah.


Savory Pumpkin Knot Rolls
Makes 24, adapted from The Cooking Photographer

2 oz active dry yeast
1 cup warm (almond) milk (110-115 F)
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
4 eggs, separated
1 1/2 tsp salt
5 1/2-6 cups AP flour
1 tbsp cold water

1. In a bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk.  Throw in just a pinch of sugar.  Watch to see if yeast starts to foam. If it does, that means it is ready to go!  If not, then it’s probably dead and you need new yeast.

2. Pour the yeast into the bowl of a stand mixer and add butter, sugar, pumpkin, 3 eggs, salt and 3 cups flour. (*the original recipe only called for adding 2 eggs here but I can’t read apparently and so I added three.  I probably added a hint of flour to compensate for the extra liquid, but honestly I saw no problem with them so I am going to stick with three*).  Mix with a bread hook until smooth.  Add enough of the remaining flour to form a soft dough that is not too sticky to handle.  Mix with the mixer for about 2-4 minutes to knead, or until smooth and elastic.  Alternatively, put onto a floured surface and knead with your hands for 6-8 minutes.

3. Place in a greased bowl.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.  I like to preheat my oven and let the bowl sit on top of it.  Punch down dough.  Turn onto a lightly floured surface and cut in half.

4. Shape each portion into 12 balls.  Roll each ball into an approximately 10-inch rope.  Tie into a knot and tuck in ends on each side.

5. Place two inches apart on a Silpat or baking sheet covered in parchment paper.  Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350.

6. In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg with 1 tbsp cold water.  Brush over rolls.  Bake at 350 for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from pans to wire racks.

This has been yeastspotted!


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at https://joanne-eatswellwithothers.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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100 Responses to Savory Pumpkin Knot Rolls

  1. LimeCake says:

    Good morning! And hello to these lovely rolls! Nothing better than homemade bread!

  2. Tasha says:

    I was going to make pumpkin yeast rolls for Thanksgiving to show up the store bought rolls someone else was bringing, but I ran out of time. Your family is luckier than mine.

    Also, I was extrememly disappointed this year that we had stuffing from a box as well, and I have already claimed bringing homemade for Christmas. Seriously, what is wrong with people?

  3. “With the rolls (and guns) blazing in their holsters (err…bread basket).”

    hahahaha LOVE this post!

    xo Alison

  4. So glad you decided to peacefully resist and make these instead of slaughtering your family– it would be too difficult to blog from jail 🙂 You need to take your father and brother in for observation when you do your psych rotation– maybe they are suffering from a syndrome that stifles their good taste in the stuffing department? These look soooooo good! I’m a huge fan of homemade bread and big meals like this! Adds such a nice touch!

  5. Shannon says:

    Ahhhh, that post I’ve been waiting for.

    These look SO awesome.

    I hear you about the stuffing… my mother tried to send me home with an extra box she picked up and I was in utter disbelief she would even TRY to push such a thing on me.

  6. Yes, I’ve always thought of you as complacent–even when slapping around these delicious-looking rolls! I can only imagine the enticing aroma coming from your kitchen–pumpkin and yeast!!


  7. Is it wrong for me to desperately want to eat like 3 of these for breakfast? Holy cow they look good! Bring on the throwdown!

  8. Ashlee says:

    Those look beautiful and so darn tasty.

  9. Lea Ann says:

    These rolls look absolutely amazing! Gotta make them…like now! 😉

  10. That Girl says:

    I won’t lie. These look absolutely perfect!

  11. These are adorable and they must be so good freshly baked, yum!

  12. Dawn says:

    I wish I was a baker with a really high metabolism. Cause these look good.

  13. They look irresistible! Golden on the outside and a little chewy inside… Absolutely perfect!

  14. Hannah says:

    Simply put: YUM. I’ve been wanting to make both yeasted pumpkin bread and garlic knots for ages, so I love that you could knock out both ideas in one recipe!

  15. Beth says:

    Those look amazing. And I have to agree with you on store-bought stuffing: why bother? If you could just get your family to try homemade, I know they’d never look back!

  16. Mo 'Betta says:

    In. Love. I have to make these. Of course, I have to go buy eggs first.

  17. elra says:

    They look scrumptious, and pretty !

  18. The Mom Chef says:

    Bravo!They look delicious and gorgeous. Good luck to you next year…keep ratcheting it up a notch. You’ll get everything home made by the time you’re done!

  19. Swathi says:

    You are right, Homemade bread is wonderful , delicious always. These savory pumpkin knot rolls are absolute awesome.

  20. Monet says:

    I’m in love. These pumpkin knots look like the best baked goods I’ve seen in awhile. I can see why your brother stuffed at least a few in his mouth. And we have stuffing debates too…almost every year. We need to burn all of those boxes…Thank you for sharing. I hope you have a great day!

  21. Mo Diva says:

    could we be born from the same families??? I had a brioche stuffin recipe ready and dough being beaten in my mixer when my mother said NO, we are using a family recipe… when i get to her house I see two packages of pepperidge farm herbed bread crumbs.
    I wanted to cry.
    How did we become foodies? I wonder…
    Your challah rolls are beautiful and for the record, my brioche was a big hit too… it would have tasted better in the stuffing tho, just sayin.

  22. Tanvi says:

    Joanne…..how many pounds of pumpkins have you bought all for the love of them????
    These knots look super tempting and perfectly baked..Looking at your pumpkin(y) posts one after the other I am feeling ashamed of myself to have not baked with them ever ..sigh!

  23. Rachana says:

    They look lovely. Nothing better than home-made bread.

  24. Faith says:

    Oh wow…I think I just fell in love with you (and bread!) even more, lol! Now that I’ve seen these gorgeous pumpkin rolls I don’t think I can go much longer without making them (I’m thinking maybe to the end of the day, tops). My family insisted on boxed stuffing too! Ugh.

  25. Kristin says:

    One look at those and I want to dive in. I can see why they were gone in seconds at your family’s house. I will be making these sometime soon, you can count on it!

  26. Shannon says:

    glad you held your ground, these look fantastic 🙂

  27. They sound fabulous! I wish I had one to nosh on right now. Saving this recipe!

  28. Katerina says:

    This nice brown color on top of these knods is so tempting and appetizing I would eat them in a minute if I had them in front of me.

  29. Shanon says:

    i am on your side! i hate all the spices, dried herbs in the pre-made stuffing mixings. my family always makes corn bread stuff in addition to the boxed stuff, so i am able to survive. i love these knot rolls. i hope to try them soon.

  30. Bide your time and someday you will be hosting and can make two types of stuffing to serve to your family. In the meantime these rolls would sure fix my carb addiction.

  31. Elizabeth says:

    Yummmm . . . these could be called “Love Me Knots.” I can almost smell the yeasty goodness wafting from the computer screen. I love the way you incorporate almond milk into the recipes. Delicious!

  32. Slowly but surely, you are bound to bring change! They just have to TASTE some of your homemade stuffing next year, and then they will have to accept that the box doesn’t cut it. . .as long as someone is willing to do the actual cooking, which thankfully you are. =)

  33. I want to make this. I love savory dishes and using pumpkin in savory dishes is the best.

    As for protesting my favorite kind is going to protests and cooking. Food not Bombs!

  34. I thought by now I wouldn’t ever want to see anything pumpkin again. But then you post these and I think to myself “I need to make these!” We are such bread lovers!! Great job!

  35. Alisa Cooks says:

    Eeek, those looks so unbelievably scrumptious!!!

  36. Stella says:

    I would love on of these right now with butter on it, Joanne. They looks so good. Oh, and one must have carbs on Thanksgiving. It doesn’t even count if you do (smile)…

  37. Barbara says:

    There’s nothing I love more than fresh rolls! And you’ve got pumpkin in them! Clever you! I love it!

  38. gotnomilk says:

    I just love that you’ve made these with almond milk. I can easily adapt these, and I can’t wait!

  39. Amy says:

    Even with posters, slogans, and elicited signatures you couldn’t convince them? Wow, that’s one tough crowd/family. When you get older and have a place large enough to host, you can call the shots!

    Loving these. Fresh bread. Mmmm. And I’m not tired of pumpkin. Keep it coming!

  40. Ms. Meanie says:

    Yum. These sound amazing and healthy too! Carb free Thanksgiving are 3 words that should never be in a sentence together. I’m glad yours was carbfull!

  41. I want one of those adorable, buttery knots in my belly right now. After the brioche, I’m ready to dive back into another bread recipe. This might be the first one I’ll need to try

  42. I read this this morning and now again – it makes me laugh as all your posts do! I love these rolls and would take them over the bagged stuff any day! lol!

  43. Simply Life says:

    oh man, those look incredible!

  44. Reeni says:

    They look completely irresistible! I’m thinking next year you’re going to show up with the stuffing without bothering to ask and have a head to head to battle with the boxed stuff! I bet I know who wins…

  45. Rachel says:

    Your rolls look about a zillion times better than boxed stuffing. Dry them out a little and you could make excellent stuffing with them!
    I think you’d love my grandmother’s Texas cornbread dressing. That’s what I grew up eating for every holiday dinner. She made her own cornbread and biscuits, dried them out for a few days, then crumbled and baked them with copious amounts of butter and other tasty things. My dad would eat it for days. I think it could convert any boxed stuffing-lover!

  46. Raina says:

    I think if you showed up next year with stuffing made from these gorgeous rolls your family would go crazy for it. It is funny how people get used to a certain type of food. I think once they taste your stuffing, they will not go back to the box..lol My husand is strange like that; he would rather eat store-bought cookies than homemade…strange I know:)

  47. Christy says:

    You do it sister – make some real stuffing and then just let them decide – there are much worse things, and few better, than leftover stuffing – YUM!! Oh, and you are invited to my house next year, bring the rolls please!

  48. Nutmeg Nanny says:

    These knots look great! I could go for a few right now….

    I say you just bring your own stuffing and tell everyone else to suck it…ok maybe that is a bit harsh…

  49. sra says:

    Kid brothers! Aargh! Mine usually wolfs down everything I make but will never admit he liked it. My dad’s appreciative.
    Those knots look really good!

  50. So glad you got your way – so sad you had to share though, as it seems like it should be a constitutional right (along with homemade stuffing) to be able to have a whole batch of these all to yourself 🙂

  51. Kim says:

    Did I hear you say smeared with peanut butter and cranberry sauce? Excellent idea for a sandwich. Why haven’t I thought of that?

    I love these little rolls tied in knots. You know they’re all soft and fluffy especially in those little nooks!

  52. As you know that I am a huge fan of all kinds of bread….these pumpkin knot rolls are perfectly perfect for me!

  53. Glad to hear you got through to that family of yours with these pumpkin knot rolls. Heck I would even slather mine in butter & brown sugar & eat ’em for dessert 🙂

  54. You are 23, a med student and make all this gorgeous food. I bow to you!
    I just subscribed as I can definitely learn from you!

  55. Vivienne says:

    ive never made bread before but i am def gonna make this soon..early next year perhaps. one of my new years resolutions hahha and of course i always follow it…hmmm.
    i love the wholesome type of food that you make…and i wish you all the best in your continuous battle to win your family over to your side of homemade goodness…and say bye to packaged food!

  56. Nelly says:

    There are not many wheaty/gluten-y things that I really crave, now that I know the disaster that will ensue if I should partake. But…damn, girl. WANT. unf.

  57. polwig says:

    I was going to make rolls for Thanksgiving but then again I did not have to make anything so I sat back and relaxed, well more like drove 9h to a thanksgiving feast… these look amazing

  58. I love them, they are so cute! Great flavours, too.

  59. teresa says:

    haha! gotta love family, compromise isn’t easy, especially when it comes to food!

    these look delicious, i love that they are pumpkin and savory.

  60. Homemade bread is the BEST… you definitely showed them 😉

  61. Mary says:

    How gorgeous – and tasty – do those look? Pretty darned I’d say. They really sound wonderful, Joanne. Have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  62. Victoria says:

    These rolls look fantastic! I am excited to get into more bread baking and this looks like a crowd-pleaser for sure!

  63. grace says:

    knots are fun. i daresay they’re fun enough to spur me to break out the posterboard and magic markers. 🙂

  64. They look so delicious, I’ve really enjoyed all the pumpkin and sweet potato recipes lately, they are such versatile ingredients!

  65. Debinhawaii says:

    Beautiful rolls–I am not surprised they got devoured. I think involving these beauties in the stuffing plan next year is a great idea. 😉

  66. Hehe I love it. Good, quality stuffing is something I would definitely go out to protest for, too! But I also do love the idea of a savory pumpkin knot 🙂


  67. Joanne, every single thing you make I always bookmark… I actually saw it on the cooking photographer and didn’t even blink but your stories and descriptions just draw me in. You’re good 😉
    So I know I rarely comment but I’m a big fan of your blog and I’ll be in NY Dec 10-14. It would be really awesome to meet you. I have a friend who’s doing her residency at Beth Israel Hospital… I feel like you’d have a lot in common too. K, hope that doesn’t sound creepy. Email me at [email protected] if you’re around!

  68. RamblingTart says:

    You rock, Joanne! I can totally picture you, this feisty little protester. 🙂 Love it! Your rolls look fantastic and make me want to whip up a batch of dough too. 🙂

  69. Johanna GGG says:

    I can’t see how there would even be any competition between these gorgeous rolls and the sweepings off the floor of the stuffing factory. Your family just have to learn to eat and learn to evaluate tradition.

    when I went vegetarian I started to bring nut roast for myself instead of turkey and jarlsberg instead of ham with exactly the same expectation as you but now I have to tell them that I expect leftovers to eat when they are eating leftover turkey and ham! Families!

  70. wow these look fab, shame you didn’t come to wake but NYC is more fun

  71. These rolls look so beautiful! Ahh, delicious!

  72. Sweet and fluffy? What’s not to love? And I’m totally with you about homemade! I badly need to make my own as I can’t eat the stuffing made with meat broth at my boyfriend’s family’s thanksgiving dinner.

  73. Dana says:

    Hi-larious Joanne! My family, who ordinarily love all the crazy food I come up with, hated my first stuffing. They wanted the Pepperidge Farm one my mom always made. I couldn’t quite bring myself to do that but I did use a starter (albeit one from a local bakery.) Anyway, these are gorgeous and I’m sure a very welcome addition to any table.

  74. Carolyn says:

    Oh, you sneaky devil, bringing your homemade rolls (GORGEOUS homemade rolls!) to combat the “stuffing out of a box” syndrome. I had to convince my husband that homemade stuffing was both easier AND tastier than the boxed variety early on in our relationship…since then, victory and homemade stuffing have been mine!

  75. Hello, my pretties! Looks fab! I hear you on the boxed stuffing. I nixed that in my kitchen at least ten years ago. I want!

  76. the pumpkin goodness never ends here!

  77. Gorgeous rolls! So tempting. They’d be perfect with marmalade.



  78. tigerfish says:

    Just don’t throw the knot rolls at me – it looks dense that I may feel painful. But if my mouth can catch them – hoo yah! I’ve got a treasure!

  79. Kerstin says:

    I’ve been waiting for this recipe ever since I saw your tweet about it and will definitely be making them – they sound just perfect!

  80. Indie.Tea says:

    I wish I protested more often. I mean, I’m a San Francisco-Berkeley person, you’d think I’d protest things all the time.
    I’d protest bagged/boxed stuffing too! But your delicious-looking rolls would squelch my protests and make me complacent too.

  81. Perfect!! They have the texture of pretzels a little which I adore.

    I think you were right about my body neeeding calcium, That’s probably what it was 🙂

    Happy Weekend!

  82. yummy yummy and cute rolls…can I omit eggs?

  83. what an inspired and brilliant idea for brioche-like rolls! I will try soon.

  84. Joanne , babe these are absolutely gorgeous !!
    U have perfected the art of baking breads so beautifully !!!
    What yeast do ya use bdw, i hope its the same as i picked:-))
    Love recipes from the cooking photographer too and i have quite a few bookmarked there!
    Happy weekend with lods of love to u!!

  85. Bdw, slogans or no , u sure have perfected everything delicious with pumpkin in!!!

  86. girlichef says:

    You go girl…you totally showed them…even brought some over to your side. Nice. Never underestimate the power of home baked bread. That’s what I always say…well, that’s what I’m going to start saying. Always. They look fantastic! I love picture just before the recipe…like the dough is flipping off the mass-produced hfcs cubes… 😉

  87. Sippity Sup says:

    Your pumpkin posts have been seasonably sensational. GREG

  88. sophia says:

    Well, you know I’ve recently dabbled in baking with yeast, Joanne. I need to add this to my loooong list of things to bake!

  89. happy to come here again and what a great and sweet recipe with pumpkin
    bises from France

  90. MaryMoh says:

    Fabulous homemade bread. Love the colour, texture and shape. I will down many, too, like your brother 😀

  91. Chris says:

    I think there might be a medical condition called “mnemonic culinary fundamental attribution error” in which people recall a traumatic culinary item like Stovetop stuffing with a pivotal event, like Thanksgiving which causes them to mis-perceive it actually tastes “good”. They transfer their emotional feelings to supersede the actual tastes of the dish.

    That’s my bullshit story and I’m sticking to it. I’m not a psychiatrist or chef, nor do I play one on TV.

  92. aipi says:

    Bookmarking it…just one word I have to say Awesome !!

    US Masala

  93. vanillasugar says:

    clever! love the combo girl! awesome indeed.

  94. Stuffing from a box doesn’t do anything for me either. But I bet stuffing made from these gorgeous rolls would!

  95. Deborah says:

    You would definitely be welcome at my house with a basket of those rolls!

  96. Marisa says:

    You go girl! Glad you had a semi-victory in the end. Next year, go for gold!

  97. These look perfect! I can see why they disappeared so quickly. I need to try these. I imagine they will be way more delicious than the pumpkin challah I made before with 12 eggs!

  98. Chrissy says:

    1 package of yeast is 1/4 oz. not 1.4, when you transposed this recipe you said 2 oz. of yeast (that’s 8 packets) rather than the 2 packages it should have been. I thought it was weird but I wanted to follow the recipe so I made them and they tasted very beery, it was a bummer because they look so good.

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