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A loaf of Pumpkin Sourdough Bread cut in half and resting on a fabric lined cake stand

Pumpkin Sourdough Bread

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  • Author: Whip & Wander
  • Prep Time: 60 minutes
  • Inactive Time: 23 hours
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Total Time: 24 hours 55 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings (wedges) 1x
  • Category: Breads
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: French
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Fall baking means in my house means lots of sourdough bread and lots of pumpkin, so I was only too happy to combine the two to make this gorgeous Pumpkin Sourdough Bread. This sourdough boule gets its color from pumpkin puree, complemented with dried cranberries and pepitas, then tied with twine so that it forms into the shape of a pumpkin as it bakes. The pumpkin stem is traded for a cinnamon stick to finish the look, but don't let that keep you from slicing into this beauty. This Pumpkin Sourdough Bread is equally delicious toasted with butter for breakfast or used for turkey sandwiches at lunch.



For the levain

For the dough:

Optional mix-ins:


Day 1 (using a sample schedule):

  • 8 am: Build your levain. In a medium jar, add 50 g mature sourdough starter, 50 g bread flour, 50 g whole wheat flour, and 100 g room-temperature water. Mix with a small spatula until evenly combined. Cover the jar with a loose lid and reserve to the side in a reasonably warm environment for 5 hours, or until the levain has (at a minimum) doubled in size. If your environment is on the warm side mine often rises up to 3x its original size.
  • 10 am: Autolyze the dough. In a large mixing bowl, add 350 g bread flour, 70 g whole wheat flour, 85 g room-temperature water, and 338 g canned pumpkin puree and mix until well-combined and no dry bits remain. I prefer to use a Danish dough whisk for this, but you can use a mixing spoon and finish by hand if you prefer. Cover with a clean damp kitchen towel and reserve to the side for 3 hours.
  • 1 pm: Add the levain to the autolyzed dough. Gently scrape the levain out of the jar onto the dough using a small silicone spatula. Mix the levain and the dough together by hand by pinching and folding the dough over the levain until well-combined and you have a shaggy, sticky dough. Cover with the damp kitchen towel and reserve to the side for 30 minutes.
  • 1:35 pm: Add the salt. Sprinkle the salt over the top of the dough. Using your fingers, squish the salt into the dough, then fold over on itself and mix by hand until well-combined using your desired method. I use the Rubaud method which is a 'scoop, lift, and slap,' mimicking a diving arm mixer, but I know others who prefer to pinch the ingredients together and do a series of stretch and folds until their dough is well-mixed. Cover with the damp kitchen towel and set to the side for 1 hour.
  • 2:45 pm: Add the mix-ins. Spray your countertop down with a fine mist of water, then dampen the edge of a silicone bowl scraper with water and scoop your dough out onto the counter. Wet your fingers and gently pull the sourdough out into a large rectangle. Sprinkle 80 g sweetened dried cranberries and 60 g pepitas over the top of the dough. Fold the outer side 1/3 of the dough over to the center and then the remaining outer side 1/3 of the dough until you have covered the mix-ins with dough and have a long, thin parcel of dough. Repeat this 1/3 fold in the opposite direction until you have a square parcel of folded dough. Lightly spray a clean mixing bowl (I clean and reuse the same one) with a fine mist of water and return the dough to the bowl. Recover with the damp kitchen towel and reserve to the side to continue the bulk ferment.
  • 3:30 pm: Coil fold #1
  • 4 pm: Coil fold #2
  • 4:30 pm: Coil fold #3
  • 5 pm: Coil fold #4. Recover with the damp kitchen towel and reserve to the side to rest for the remainder of bulk fermentation.
  • 7 pm: Shape the dough and transfer to proofing vessel: Generously dust a round bread banneton (or a medium mixing bowl lined with a clean linen cloth) with white rice flour and reserve to the side. Lightly dust your dry kitchen counter with a layer of white rice flour. Using a silicone bowl scraper, gently turn your dough out onto the counter. Gently stretch and fold the corners of the dough out and over to the center until you have shaped a round boule. Using your silicone bowl scraper, transfer the dough to your prepared proofing vessel, seam side down. Cover with the kitchen towel and allow to rest for 20-25 minutes.
  • 7:30 pm: Retard dough overnight. Transfer the dough in its proofing vessel to a proofing bag and transfer to the refrigerator to retard overnight for 12-16 hours.

Day 2

  1. Transfer your lidded Dutch oven to a cool oven on the center rack. Then preheat the oven to 475 degrees F / 250 C for one hour with the Dutch oven inside.
  2. A few minutes before you plan to transfer the bread to the oven, prep the parchment paper and kitchen twine to get your pumpkin shape. Cut 4 pieces of kitchen twine, around 24-inches each and a sheet of parchment paper that is large enough to accommodate your bread without hanging outside of the Dutch oven.
  3. Working on your countertop, place a piece of parchment paper down and arrange the twine so that they each cross in the center, resulting in 8 equal sections all of equal length.
  4. Lightly flour the surface of the twine and parchment with white rice flour -- this will help prevent the twine from sticking to the bread so much that it's difficult to remove after baking.
  5. Remove the bread from the refrigerator and remove from it's proofing bag. Gently turn the dough over, out of the banneton, onto the center of the kitchen twine and generously sprinkle the top of the dough with white rice flour. Then tie each string over the dough, crossing in the center of the top of the dough. You do not want to pull the strings tightly, just tie them roughly flush with the dough so they are secure and don't flop around. The dough will expand around the strings as it bakes, resulting in a pumpkin shape. If you force the pumpkin shape too deeply with the strings before baking, they will lodge too deeply into the dough as it expands and will be very difficult to remove after baking.
  6. Snip the excess ends of the twine ties with scissors and brush off the excess white rice flour from the parchment paper with a pastry brush.
  7. Using a bread lame, a clean razor, or a sharp knife carefully score the bread as desired.
  8. Remove the Dutch oven from your preheated oven and remove the lid. Carefully transfer the twined dough and the parchment paper into the Dutch oven and resecure the lid. Transfer the Dutch oven back to the oven. Once closed, reduce the oven heat to 450 degrees F / 230 C. Bake for 35 minutes then carefully remove the lid from your Dutch oven and continue baking the bread in the open Dutch oven for an additional 20 minutes. If you find that your bread is starting to darken too quickly, you can return the Dutch oven lid to the top to reduce browning. The internal temperature of your finished bread should be 210 degrees F / 99 C.
  9. Carefully transfer the bread from the Dutch oven to a wire baking rack to cool fully before slicing. Once cool, remove the strings by snipping with scissors and carefully pulling them off. If desired, you can press a cinnamon stick into the top of the bread to look like a pumpkin stem.


Nutritional information on Whip & Wander is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site.


  • Serving Size: 1 large wedge (1/8th of boule)
  • Calories: 344
  • Sugar: 9 g
  • Sodium: 556 mg
  • Fat: 4 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 63 g
  • Fiber: 6 g
  • Protein: 12 g