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Pumpkin Seed Rolls for Thanksgiving from 'Milk Street'

Daniel Hautzinger
Pumpkin Seed Rolls from Christopher Kimball's Milk Street. Photo: Connie Miller of CB Creatives
Photo: Connie Miller of CB Creatives

Instead of serving bland rolls that are simply vehicles for butter or sopping up gravy this Thanksgiving (not that there's anything wrong with that), try something that is seasonally appropriate and has its own flavor, in this recipe for Pumpkin Seed Rolls from Christopher Kimball's Milk Street.

Pumpkin Seed Rolls

These rolls are best served the day they are baked. For ease, they can be made in the morning, then reheated in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes just before serving. The seed-butter mixture can be prepared up to three days ahead and refrigerated. Just be sure to pull it out an hour before using to bring it to room temperature.

Don’t be tempted to add extra flour when mixing the dough; it will look quite sticky, but will firm up as it rises. Otherwise, the rolls won’t have enough chew.

Makes: 15 rolls


For the sponge:
70 grams (1/2 cup) rye flour
1/2 cup warm (100°F) water
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons instant yeast

For the dough:
1 cup pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
1/2 cup sesame seeds
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) salted butter, cut into 4 pieces and chilled
343 grams (2 1/2 cups) bread flour
1 cup room temperature (70°F) water
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
Flaky salt, such as Maldon Sea Salt


1. To make the sponge, in the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the rye flour, warm water, honey, and yeast. Cover and let sit until doubled and bubbly, about 1 hour.

2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium, combine the pepitas and sesame seeds and toast, stirring, until the sesame seeds are golden (some pumpkin seeds will pop), 5 to 8 minutes. Measure out 1/2 cup of the mixture and set aside. Transfer the rest to a food processor and process until finely ground, about 1 minute. Add the butter and process until just melted and combined, about another 20 seconds.

3. When the sponge is ready, add the bread flour, water, and seed-butter mixture. Mix with the dough hook on low until just combined, about 1 minute. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add the salt, then mix on low until the dough forms a mass around the hook, but still adheres to the sides, about 5 minutes. The dough should look and feel sticky but not wet. Cover the bowl and let the rise until tripled in size, about 1 hour.

4. Heat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the middle position. Line a baking sheet with kitchen parchment. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface, being careful not to deflate it. Lightly flour the top of the dough and gently press it into a 10-by-6-inch rectangle. To create 15 equal portions of dough (about 2 ounces each), cut the rectangle into thirds lengthwise, then into fifths crosswise.

5. Gently fold each portion into a ball, creating a smooth, taught surface and pinching together any seams on the bottom. Arrange the rolls evenly on the baking sheet. Brush the tops generously with the egg and sprinkle the reserved seed mixture over them, pressing gently to adhere. Top each with a small sprinkle of salt. Cover, and let sit for 30 to 35 minutes, or until they have nearly doubled in size. Bake until deep golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the pan once halfway through. Using tongs, immediately transfer the rolls to a wire rack and cool at least 30 minutes before serving.