How to: Shape Rolls into Pumpkins

I love celebrating holidays, traditions and making memories with my family. I also love low-key, high impact decor. The simpler to execute, the better. I love these pumpkin shaped rolls because they are so simple, but so cute. In a normal non-covid year we gather with extended family from all over the country for our Thanksgiving celebration. We all pitch in and bring a part of the meal. Sign up for the homemade rolls this year! These would be perfect for your harvest table.

Start with a Yeast Dough

To start, you will need to decide what yeast rolls you are planning to make. The second rise is where the magic will happen and the yeast is what causes the dough to rise. I have a favorite roll recipe here. This recipe for sourdough discard rolls would work beautifully with this method or even these Masa Butterhorn Rolls I recently posted (shaped as rolls instead of rolled up Butterhorn style). If you aren’t in the mood to make your own dough (tips and tricks found here…you can do it!), you can also use a bag of frozen rolls from the grocery store. I won’t tell! Once you’ve decided which dough you want to make, plan out the rise time. You will want to allow your dough to go through its first rise as normal. The pumpkin shaping will take place right before the second rise. 

The Pumpkin Roll Shaping Method:

Separate your dough into roll-sized pieces according to your recipe. Cut three pieces of twine about 10-12 inches each. You will need three pieces for each roll you make.

Place the three pieces of twine on the counter, all crossing over each other at the same place in the middle. Place the dough ball in the center of the twine.

Tie the first string over the dough. Then the second string and end with the third string, tying them all together with a quick knot. Try not to tie too tight, because the rolls will expand as they rise.

Place dough ball on a parchment-lined baking sheet for the second rise.

Watch the Process Here:

YouTube video

The Twine Matters

A word of caution: the twine does matter. I was in a rush to make these because I wanted to surprise my kids and get them on the table for dinner, so I went to the garage and pulled out the twine I could find. It happened to be the kind of twine that has little bits of “hair” that comes out of it. The hair left a little residue on the rolls and my kids were wondering what it was they were eating. So, make sure to get a twine that is compact and not “hairy.” This one looks good from amazon (affiliate link), though you may have some lying around that you could use. 

Colorful Orange Pumpkin Egg Wash

If you want a very fun and colorful orange pumpkin to go along with your rolls, you can make this quick egg wash to get a very orange color. I like the look of the natural and my kids loved the look of the orange pumpkin, so pick whatever suits you or a little of both like I did. The recipe for the egg wash is:

Mix together in a small bowl: 1 egg, a splash of cream or milk and 3-4 drops of orange food coloring. Brush the egg wash on the rolls after the rolls have risen and just before baking, covering them completely. 

Baking the Pumpkin Shaped Rolls

After the rolls have risen, bake them according to the recipe directions. Brush them with melted butter as soon as they come out of the oven to give them a special shine. You can choose to leave them tied up in a pumpkin shape or take off the twine and add in a piece of pretzel or a green decoration for a stem. I liked the look of mine tied up, so I left them that way. However you choose to serve them, they will be a memorable part of your harvest table…and you will earn rockstar status for sure!

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Please share this recipe if you enjoyed it! Post a photo and tag me @amybakesbread so I can see your bake.

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One Comment

  1. Such a perfect roll to make for the Thanksgiving table! Darling and delicious! Thank you for sharing this creative and festive recipe! 🎃😋🦃