Come fall, I love adding pumpkin to my bakes! To most it is the season for pumpkin pies, but for me it’d the bread that get a pumpkin twist. I love a good balance pumpkin pie, but I can’t really consume more than a very thin slice in one sitting. I love the warm pumpkin spice flavor though…pumpkin spice latte is something I look forward to ordering at my favorite café.
But above all, I just love to throw some pumpkin puree in the bread. I created this amazing “Sourdough Pumpkin Brioche” which happened to be Vegan too. If you are not a vegan, you can use milk, butter and eggs in place of their vegan counterparts. It is a really nice, supper moist brioche which is great for making French toasts. So if you want something for brunch along the autumn-vibe line, check that out!
I also have a Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls that is done using commercial yeast! So if you don’t have a starter or are looking for a quick bake, this one is a must try. If you need a sweet treat then checkout my Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes . They are to die for!
In this post though, I will show you how I make my country sourdough using pumpkin. I had this recipe on YouTube for over a year, but I thought it is only fair to add it to my blog too. This bread doesn’t have a strong pumpkin flavor. Well it may be a good thing as you can serve this bread with anything. Pumpkin adds a lovely yellow golden color and a softer texture to the crumb though. The intensity of the color depends on the pumpkin you use. Sometimes I find pumpkins with deep Orange color flesh and other times they are of a pale yellow color.
If you want to intensify the color, you can add a pinch of turmeric or saffron.
I (always) use homemade pumpkin puree. When I say pumpkin, I refer to butternut squash. Well that’s what is in most store bought cans too. It is really really easy to make and that way I can be sure that it is additive free. Preheat the oven to 400°F, cut a butternut squash length-wise in half. Rub some oil on the cut side, lay flat on a lined baking tray and bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven. You can scoop out the soft flesh easily and use this for any recipe.
I prefer roasting over boiling. Roasting adds more flavor as it caramelizes the sugars in the pumpkin. Also the roasted pumpkin is less watery. If you use boiled pumpkin, you may not need all the water mentioned in the recipe. Like any bread recipe, controlling the hydration is a key factor and always add water gradually.
Scoring & baking
Okay so as it is a pumpkin loaf, I usually bake it to look like a pumpkin too. This is completely optional. But I assume most of you would love to give this scoring technique a try. It is very attractive and would be perfect if you are gifting this loaf to someone! If you are not up to all the fancy scoring and string tying, by all means, feel free to do your normal everyday scoring.
This loaf can be baked in a round or an oven banneton. I’m using the round because I want to shape it to a pumpkin but otherwise, feel free to use the oval. If you are using the oval, shape the dough accordingly. I have a bread shaping video here.
I bake my bread in a Dutch Oven as my oven in this apartment has hot spots. A Dutch Oven does a good job in baking your bread evenly and it also gives a better oven spring. But you can use your preferred way of baking.
Find the full video tutorial at the end of this post or watch on YouTube
Blend roasted pumpkin and water to make a puree
Mix puree and starter.
Add the puree+starter mix to the flour and mix just until everything is combined. Leave the salt for later. Let this dough rest for about an hour
Add salt and knead either by hand or using a mixer. I always use my hands and do slap and folds until I get a less sticky medium developed dough. about 3-5 minute kneading
Give 3 coil folds at 45 minute intervals
leave the folded dough covered in a warm place for about 1 hour (if your kitchen is cold bulk for 2 hours) or until you see a proofed dough that’s almost doubled its original size
Punch down the bulked dough gently and rest for 20 minutes before shaping to a boul
Dust the proofing basket with rice flour
Place the shaped dough in the basket, cover with plastic and place in the refrigerator for retarding. 18-24 hours
Preheat the oven to 450 °F before you start scoring
Here’s a video of how to tie the strings and score to get the pumpkin shape. You can do this on any round bread not just pumpkin sourdough
Once done, place in the preheated oven (or DO)
After 20 minutes, remove the lid and continue to bake for another 20 minutes
Fully baked bread! Once baked, leave to cool before slicing