These are very cheesy and pumpkiny yellow. The rolls are excellent slightly warm with soup, although I like them best split and turned into turkey sandwiches.

Makes 16 rolls


  • 2/3 cup warm water
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 7 oz (½ can, about 1 cup) canned pumpkin puree (save the leftover pumpkin for waffles I’m posting next)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp sugar (or honey)
  • 4 oz finely grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 oz finely grated Parmesan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups stone-ground whole-wheat flour
  • 1¼ tsp salt
  • Some fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary) finely chopped, if you wish
  • About 2 tbsp melted butter or oil for brushing over baked rolls


If you happen to own a breadmaker, you can simply dump everything there according to the manufacturer’s directions (usually, first everything wet, then flour, then yeast), and select “dough”.

If you use a stand mixer, pour warm water into a mixing bowl, add the ½ tsp of sugar and the yeast. Cover with plastic wrap and place into a warm place for 10-15 minutes for yeast to foam. Whisk in the pumpkin puree, oil, and sugar. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir in the cheese, then the flour and salt. Stir until the dough comes together.

Knead for about 4-5 minutes on medium speed with the dough hook. The dough should form a ball around the hook, be elastic. Transfer the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with oil-sprayed plastic wrap, and leave in a warm place for about 45 minutes – 1 hour, until almost doubled in volume.

Meanwhile, center the oven rack and preheat the oven to 375F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Set aside.

Once the dough is ready, divide it into 16 portions. Roll each piece into a little ball. As you work, cover the dough, as well as the already formed balls with oil-sprayed plastic wrap to prevent the dough from drying. If you don’t want to make the “flowers”, omit the following step, just put the balls onto the prepared baking sheets, cover with oiled plastic, and put into the warm place to proof. Otherwise, start working on the ball you rolled first (it had time to relax and will be easier to work with). Flatten the ball into a 1/2-inch thick disk. Take a round cookie/biscuit cutter (mine was 1½-inch diameter) and press lightly into the center of the dough patty. Don’t cut through the dough, or the petals will separate unattractively in the oven. Make 6 incisions using scissors to make a 6-petal flower. Transfer to the baking sheet, cover with oiled plastic, and repeat with the remaining dough balls. Let the “flowers” sit in the warm place for about 30 minutes or so, until they are almost double in volume. Bake until golden brown, about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush with the melted butter or oil. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool until slightly warm (don’t eat hot), and serve. Any leftovers are nice split and toasted, and used for sandwiches.