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German-Style Winter Squash Bread

Makes one 1¾-pound loaf

6 hours 45 minutes active, plus cooling

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This inviting, impressive braided loaf gets its warm, golden hue from roasted butternut squash. The squash also gives the crumb a moistness, and the milk, eggs and butter lend a brioche-like richness. The German bread called Kürbisbrot (pumpkin bread, literally translated), in particular Luisa Weiss’ recipe from her book “Classic German Baking,” was our starting point for this autumnal loaf. Kürbisbrot is commonly shaped as a simple round loaf, but we took Weiss’ suggestion and made a special-occasion bread by forming the dough into a braid. We also added a touch of allspice for a warm, subtle fragrance and a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds just before baking. The dough is soft and sticky but also strong and elastic; it requires a sturdy stand mixer to develop a solid gluten structure and would be difficult to make this dough by hand. When you turn the dough out of the mixer bowl, it may seem too wet and batter-like to be shapeable, but with rising and refrigerating, it becomes workable. Store leftover bread at room temperature in an airtight container or zip-close bag for up to three days. It makes great toast once it begins to stale.

Makes one

1¾-pound loaf


Don’t be tempted to use canned squash instead of roasted fresh squash. Its flavor is more muted and its water content alters the moistness of the dough. Also, don’t forget to bring the butter to room temperature before starting the recipe, as it needs to be very soft in order to incorporate properly into the batter-like dough. Finally, don’t add too much more flour during kneading, before the butter is mixed in. If the dough pulls away cleanly from the sides of the bowl, it contains enough flour.

6 hours

45 minutes active, plus cooling


  • 1½-2

    pound butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded

  • ¼

    cup whole milk


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Dan C.
March 4, 2024
Great Recipe!
I followed the recipe and this came out great! It was my first braided loaf and thanks to the great instructions both on the TV episode and in the recipe it came out looking and tasting great. Nice soft texture and light crumb.
Scott W.
January 28, 2024
Outstandingly delicious
I made this last year and it came out very good (and this make’s delicious croutons if any is left). I made it again today and it’s even better. The house smells amazing. I really love the unique flavor and texture of this bread. A real favorite.
Patrica M.
January 29, 2023
German Winter Squash bread
I made this for the first time in 2023. It is light, tasty and definitely a bread to make over and over again. When it came out of the oven the aroma was so enticing that we sliced it immediately and let the butter melt into the golden slices. The bread never had time to cool before we had finished the loaf. Try it, you’ll like it.
Scott W.
January 23, 2023
Absolutely delicious
I made this last Sunday and it was incredibly delicious. It is light and airy with a very good flavor. This is a keeper.
Susan G.
December 16, 2022
Perfect holiday bread
Made this for the Thanksgiving holiday with my uncle and aunt, who spent a decade in Germany. They loved the flavor and texture of the bread and it turned out to be a favorite of my picky grandchildren.
Julie K.

What flour would you recommend to make this bread gluten free?

Lynn C.

Hi Julie -

We would recommend a gluten-free flour blend that also contains xanthan gum, such as Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free 1 for 1 Baking Flour or Cup4Cup Multipurpose Flour. Nut flours won't provide enough structure for this bread.

The Milk Street Team

Judie G.

This was easy and wonderful. The only thing I wish they stated was the size of the rimmed baking sheet. As I feel the size I used was TOO big and the bread was more flat then high. But still tasted great.

Mary B.

My loaf was also flatter than I wanted. Beautiful, but not tall. In hindsight, I wish I had made the three ropes shorter and thicker. Taste was lovely but the texture was a bit dry--much like challah. Our family didn't devour it like I hoped/imaged, so we used the leftovers as wonderful French toast.

Bettie H.

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Jennifer B.

Outstanding bread, easy on the eyes and the palate! Also great way to get rid of butternut squash.