Breads, Rolls + Donuts Breakfast

Pumpkin-Spice Braided Brioche Knots

Pumpkin Spice Braided Brioche Knots | The Vanilla Bean Blog | Sarah Kieffer
It’s chilly today, but the sun is peeking out from behind its entourage of cloud cover. The oven is preheating, and my to-do list has so many items on it; every time I glance at it my mind goes black and can’t figure out where to start. Distractions everywhere are whispering to me. It’s so cozy on that couch. Maybe you could play Farms and Castles just one more time while watching Parks and Rec. I get out the butter, the sugar, the eggs, and flour. It’s time to get to work.

I’m sort of obsessed with these braided brioche knots. I’ve been working on a version for my book, but couldn’t help also turning them into a post. They are so beautiful, and fairly easy to make once you get the hang of twisting and turning them.  I plan on making them this holiday season, and thought you might want try them, too.
Pumpkin Spice Braided Brioche Knots | The Vanilla Bean Blog | Sarah Kieffer
Need more brioche in your life? I also have Pumpkin Spice Monkey Bread on Bread in 5 today!

Braided Brioche Knots Instructions | The Vanilla Bean Blog | Sarah Kieffer

Pumpkin Spice Braided Brioche Knots | The Vanilla Bean Blog | Sarah Kieffer

Pumpkin Spice Braided Brioche Knots | The Vanilla Bean Blog | Sarah Kieffer
Pumpkin Spice Braided Brioche Knots

I used Bread in 5’s brioche dough here. It’s so easy to make and worked well for me in this application. Their Challah dough would also work well, and any favorite brioche recipe or sweet dough recipe should (in theory) work.

I have also made these knots with a sweet dough I’m working on for my cookbook, and found cutting the dough into 8 pieces worked as well. You will have to roll the dough slightly smaller if you do so – just make sure you have a long rectangle that isn’t too thin to work with, and you should be fine.

I should note there is no actual pumpkin in this knot – just pumpkin spices. I don’t mean to be deceiving, I just love all the spices that go along with pumpkin desserts, and wasn’t quite sure what else to call it. Other fillings can work here, too. Just make sure they are not too sticky – you want to be able to have neat, distinct layers as the knots are twisted and are baked.

2 pounds Brioche dough (see note)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoons ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
good pinch of salt
egg wash: 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of water, and a pinch of salt lightly beaten together

In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and salt.

Cut the brioche into 6 pieces (or 8 – see note). Roll each piece into a ball, and cover the balls with plastic. Generously flour your work surface, and working one at a time, roll each ball into a 6 x 14 inch rectangle (if you have trouble getting your dough to 14 inches, don’t worry. You just want a long rectangle that isn’t too thin). Brush each rectangle with melted butter, and sprinkle generously with the sugar mixture. Starting with the long end of the dough, roll each piece of dough into a log. Place all 6 logs of dough on a baking sheet lined with a Silpat or parchment, and chill in the fridge for 10-15 minutes (this will help make cutting the dough easier). After the logs have chilled, trim about 1/4 inch off both ends of the roll. Gently cut the roll into half lengthwise, so the layers of dough and filling are visible (I found a scissors easier to use than a knife – it made much cleaner cuts). With the cut sides facing up, gently press together one end of each half, and then lift the right half over the left half, letting the layers fan out as you twist them. Continue until you have ‘braided’ the entire roll. Press the ends together, so each end has a point. Shape the twisted dough into a small circle, with both ends of the dough extending past the circle (the ends will make a sort of cross shape over each other). Bring the end that is on the bottom up and over top piece, and bring it through the center of the knot. Tuck the end that is on top underneath the bottom of the knot, and pinch the two ends together under the knot (see photos above for a visual). Place the knots on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover lightly with plastic wrap, and let rise for 1-1 1/2 hours, until the knots have risen slightly.

Preheat the oven to 350, with the oven rack in the middle position. Brush the knots carefully with egg wash (try not to brush the sugar filling all over the knots while you do so) and bake until the knots are golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. (As the knots rise and bake, they will leak a little bit of sugar and butter, just like cinnamon rolls do.)
Pumpkin Spice Braided Brioche Knots | The Vanilla Bean Blog | Sarah Kieffer

  • Reply
    Eden Passante
    Wednesday, September 21, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    These actually look really fun to make!! I’m sure it’ll take practice to look this good, but I love the idea!

  • Reply
    David | Iaso Source
    Wednesday, June 8, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    I actually made these a few days ago but I am a bit disappointed with myself because aesthetically, they look nothing like yours. However , they sure were delicious so I guess I could live with that :). Regardless, thanks for sharing this great recipe.

    • Reply
      Wednesday, June 8, 2016 at 6:18 pm

      Hi David- It took me a couple tries to get them looking halfway descent! I’m glad you liked them. -sk

  • Reply
    Scott Williams
    Tuesday, June 7, 2016 at 3:51 am

    Wow, your knots are gorgeous. My knots didn’t come out half as good as yours but they were still delicious. What kind of camera did you use for these awesome photos??

  • Reply
    Christine @ Cooking with Cakes
    Monday, November 16, 2015 at 7:27 pm

    this braiding tutorial is LIFE!!!! so crazy valuable, I am loving the photos! and of course this recipe looks beyond divine too – Pinning! x

  • Reply
    Friday, November 13, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    That looks really nice! Perfect knot too!

  • Reply
    Tuesday, November 10, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    These look beautiful. I definitely want to give them a try. Do you know approximately what percentage of the brioche recipe is two pounds (i.e. if I make half of the recipe in the attached link will I have enough to make 8 knots)?

    Also, have you tried freezing them to bake at a later date?

  • Reply
    Saturday, November 7, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    These look incredible! I’m going to have to try them.

  • Reply
    Claire @The Simple, Sweet Life
    Saturday, November 7, 2015 at 8:20 am

    It’s hard to resist a beautifully braided pastry like this, particularly when it’s pumpkin! Totally in love with these!

  • Reply
    Brian @ A Thought For Food
    Thursday, November 5, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    These knots look awesome. Would love to start my day with them and a cup of coffee (though, it’ll be iced since it’s been in the 70s all week).

  • Reply
    Wednesday, November 4, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    I made these for breakfast yesterday and they were a big hit! Mine didn’t look quite as “professional” as yours, but they actually looked pretty good. Your instructions and photos were very helpful. Thank you!

    • Reply
      Wednesday, November 4, 2015 at 8:35 pm

      I’m so glad to hear they turned out for you. I always need a visual when learning something new, so I’m glad the photos helped, too. And it took me quite a few tries to get them looking nice and neat, so don’t give up! 🙂

  • Reply
    Heidi Kokborg
    Wednesday, November 4, 2015 at 9:44 am

    These look absolutely beautiful!!

  • Reply
    Janelle |
    Tuesday, November 3, 2015 at 9:16 pm

    These look incredible! I love spicy/sweet breakfast pastries, and being gorgeous doesn’t hurt either. Can’t wait to try them!

  • Reply
    Eden Passante
    Tuesday, November 3, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    These are so beautiful! Love them!

  • Reply
    Tuesday, November 3, 2015 at 10:09 am

    You have my wheels spinning this morning with these rolls. I’m fairly certain I saw a recipe for pumpkin brioche on the bread in 5 website and I think that combo would make a great gift for families hosting Thanksgiving!

  • Reply
    Tuesday, November 3, 2015 at 10:05 am

    I have yet to try my hand at true brioche bread – not a fear of the dough but a fear of eating it all without sharing. Perhaps this season of holidays and celebrations will be when I leap – enough people streaming through to share. Good luck with that to-do list, they are beasts! As always, photos are lovely!

  • Reply
    Tuesday, November 3, 2015 at 5:25 am

    These brioche knots look to-die-for amazing! I can almost smell them through these gorgeous pictures. Definitely something I need to try!

  • Reply
    Angela - Patisserie Makes Perfect
    Tuesday, November 3, 2015 at 3:55 am

    These look so delicious and I love the step by step photos to help with the braiding. I love brioche, but because of its richness it goes dry so quickly. These look like they would be so moist and moreish.

    Great choice of flavours too.

  • Reply
    Monday, November 2, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    I’m such a sucker for buns like this! Your swirly brioche looks fantastic!!

  • Reply
    Madeline | madeline marie - food & photography
    Monday, November 2, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    These are so beautiful and make such a statement! They also look so fun to make. I definitely want to try these at Christmastime. : )

  • Reply
    Heather (Delicious Not Gorgeous)
    Monday, November 2, 2015 at 11:48 am

    i saw these on ig and was so looking forward to your blog post about them! and yet another incentive to try braiding bread like this (everywhere i see it, it’s gorgeous!).

Leave a Reply