She’s crisp, yet soft and ultra (ultra!) fragrant– she’s a pumpkin sourdough bread, with a cinnamon sugar swirl.
Pumpkin Sourdough Bread 🍂
with a sugar cinnamon swirl!
A must-make sourdough loaf if cozy vibes is what you’re after.
And since she’s veeery lightly sweetened with honey, she’s a good loaf for both sweet and savory parings alike– think a classic apple butter breakfast toast to one heck of a grilled cheese with smoked gouda and sage butter 🤤.
my top tip: hang out in the kitchen while your loaf is baking for the full sensory experience (and add in a hot toddy for extra measure).
laminating the cinnamon swirl
Your dough should have at least doubled in size after the first fermentation in order to laminate it with the cinnamon sugar and shape it (but I personally tend to push it towards tripling in size, as I enjoy the gut friendly benefits of slightly over-proofed doughs: less gluten and carbs mean a softer and easier to digest crumb).
Just note that I’ve always noticed a slower gluten development in all my sourdough loafs with pumpkin puree (say the dough is shaggier and more fragile during the stretch and folds). Worry not, the loafs still turn out splendid– just ensure you’re using a strong bread flour (though subbing something like 10% rye would be a fab idea if that’s your thing).
1. laminate the dough
Stretch your dough on a very lightly floured countertop (if you feel it resisting just let it rest for fifteen minutes)(and you’ll definitely know if its resisting). Sprinkle a generous amount of cinnamon sugar– you can do just cinnamon (or, yes, pumpkin spice), but I personally enjoyed the touch of sweetness.
2. fold it
3. fold it (again)
4. sprinkle a touch more cinnamon (‘roll it up!)
This is the stage where you roll up your loaf as tightly as you can (with as little flour as you also can) in order to create tension in your dough, which is what leads to the holy grail of a sourdough crust: one that is crisp and bubbly.
Once shaped, transfer to a (very well floured) banneton and proof in the fridge* for at least 6 hours (max 24 as the honey and pumpkin increase the fermentation exponentially).
*yes, you can proof at room temp too– but do note that this dough is much easier to score and handle once chilled (i.e. you really might find it impossible to score cleanly without chilling it for at least one hour).
5. shape it (‘n bake it)
And last, but not least, it might just be compulsory to shape it like an actual pumpkin. It’s easy (worry not!), all you need is some bakers twine (giving it a good rub with oil is always a good idea to ensure it doesn’t permanently embed into your loaf).
p.s. I made a little video tutorial for this part, feel free to watch the little video story below 😉
the video story 📹
Pumpkin Sourdough Bread (with a cinnamon swirl!) 🍂
for the cinnamon sugar swirl
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1/4 cup sugar optional
feed your starter
- Add roughly 50g of flour to feed your starter (you want 100g of active starter for the recipe, so it depends on how big you keep your starter (say you may want to feed it for a couple days without discarding if you keep a small one going)(or if you’re taking yours out of the fridge you’ll def need to do one feeding before it’s strong enough to bake with).
- Add enough spring water (you don’t want filtered, you really do want the added minerals) until the dough resembles a thick pancake batter. Generally 50g of water/50 g of flour (i.e. a 100% ratio) is enough to get the consistency right (but if you're dealing with warmer temperatures you may want to do just 70% to have a more stable starter).
- Allow to rest for 3-6 hours in a warm(ish) place: until it doubles in size. You can test for prime activity fairly well either using the float test (as it sounds: check if your starter floats in a little water) or the burn test (tap your starter on the counter to “break the surface”, light a match and if it blows out it means your starter is using up all the oxygen in the surrounding area i.e. it’s sourdough time).
3-6 hours later: make your dough
- Add the water (preferably at room temp), pumpkin puree, active starter and honey to a large bowl. Using your hands (though some peeps favor a danish hook) mix until thoroughly dissolved.
- Add in the flour and salt and mix with your hands until just combined and the dough is all shaggy (and sticky).
- Cover with a kitchen towel and let it rest for 30 minutes.
30 mins later: bulk rise (plus stretch ‘n folds)
- Thirty minutes in you’ll want to do a set of “stretch ‘n folds”: grab a hold of the dough, stretch it upwards and fold it down towards the center of the bowl. Rotate and repeat four times (you can watch me do it here).
- Repeat three more times every thirty minutes (sourdough pumpkin baked goods take a little longer to develop gluten, so its important to do a few sets!).
- Transfer to a smaller bowl (as it’s easier to gauge the rise if you can actually mark it with a sharpie) and cover with a kitchen towel.
- Allow to rest for 3-10 hours, or until at least doubled in size (remember that time here is directly influenced by temperature so it’ll vary greatly)(p.s. I generally let mine go until it almost tripes as I’ve pushed it just until the point that it begins to recede back and it still comes out superb)(and I personally find it easiest to digest).
4-8 hours later: shape
- See post for guidance! Lightly flour your working surface, turn the dough out and stretch it out gently (allow it to rest for 10 minutes if it “feels” like it’s resisting)(you’ll know, trust me!). Stretch it out, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, fold the sides in, and roll it gently but tightly. You then want to roll it gently against the counter towards you a few times (this creates surface tension, making for a better crust!).
- Transfer to a (very well floured or lined) banneton or small-ish bowl and cover with a paper towel, place inside a plastic bag and refrigerate for 6-24 hours (sourdough breads with added starches and sugars can't really go much longer than 24 hours)(I did 48 once and it was ok, but a little too sour).Or allow to proof at room temperature for about 2 more hours, until it springs back to touch (you literally want to poke it gently, and if it springs back you know you’re golden)(though if it springs back too quickly it’s actually under-proofed)(and, you may’ve guessed it, if it doesn’t spring back at all you’re now over-proofed). i.e. this is why baking a few loafs and poking them around throughout it’s stages is highly suggested.
2 hours later: bake away!
- Preheat oven to 450°F/230°C with your Dutch oven inside for 20 minutes (some peeps bake at a lower temperature, say 420°F, it depends a bit on your oven).
- Wrap loaf with bakers twine and score it (please see video story for a little tutorial).
- Bake lid on for 20 minutes, remove lid and bake for 20 more minutes or until deeply golden brown (if you tap it on the bottom it’ll also sound hollow).
- Allow to cool completely if you want it at its best– but 20 minutes will do if you simply can’t hold your horses (and you don’t want to wreck your crumb).p.s. my best suggestion for storing your sourdough is to simply keep it in your bread or Dutch oven (what I do). But investing in a bread tin is neat too!