The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pumpkin Sourdough

wassisname's picture

Pumpkin Sourdough





First off, many thanks to Karin (hanseata) for posting her bake of Dan Lepard’s pumpkin whey bread.  What a great idea, and not just for autumn bakes.  This is a sourdough, whey-less take on that lovely bread. 














I love what the pumpkin does for this bread!  The colors are striking, the crumb is exceptionally moist, and the flavor is wonderfully complex.  The amount of pumpkin added to the dough will affect the flavor of the finished loaf pretty dramatically.  The flavor using this formula is subtle – there, but not up front – and fades over time.  The flavor is much more pronounced with the addition of even 25g more pumpkin (reduce water by 15g to keep the hydration about the same).

I really do recommend an autolyse for this dough because it starts out very sticky.  I tried mixing the first attempt straight off without an autolyse and it was a mess.  I was convinced the dough was far too wet, but it eventually worked itself out and ended up being a little tight if anything.  The loaves pictured here are the second attempt.  They were handled much more gently and turned out much better for it.















Another idea I tried was to mix a bit of cinnamon and allspice with flour and use that to dust the bottom of the loaves.  I kept it very light and the flavor didn’t come through in the finished bread, but it is something I will play with in future bakes. 

And, there will certainly be future bakes of this one, because… YUM!


Oh, and the type 85 flour could just as well be whole wheat, but it's what I have on hand at the moment.




Floydm's picture


wassisname's picture

Thanks, Floyd.  To say that I was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement!

bakingbadly's picture

Oh my goodness, I have to try this. I've always wanted to add pumpkins into my bread and I'm too impatient to wait any longer. Unfortunately, pumpkins don't exist around here so the next best thing for me is to use squash. 

Will report to TFL on how it turns out.

Thanks for another great post!


wassisname's picture

Thank you, Zita!  I would love to see some squash bread experiments.  This has me wondering about other possibilities as well!

holds99's picture


What a lovely loaf of bread and an excellent post.  Your photos are outstanding.




wassisname's picture

Thanks, Howard!  The pumpkin color sure makes a photogenic loaf.  I'm glad I got the photos because the bread sure didn't last long!

Mebake's picture

Yum, how elegant! That is one handsome loaf, especially with the attractive pumpkin style scoring. Love the idea.


wassisname's picture

Thanks, Khalid, I wasn't sure how well the scoring would work but I had to try! 

For the next version I'm thinking of a multi-grain approach like the loaves you have perfected.  That could be really tasty!

Casey_Powers's picture

This is so Inspiring! You did a beautiful job creating.  I do think the exterior is gorgeous and she looks like a fall kind a day.


warm Regards,


wassisname's picture

Thank you, Casey!  I hadn't really thought of it as fall colors, but it captures that pretty well.  No wonder it seemed so familiar!

kgmom's picture

What is the hydration level of your starter?  

Is there any reason not to use whey if I have it?  

Thanks for any and all help!

wassisname's picture

Do give it a try, kgmom.  I think the pumpkin could be worked into all sorts of breads.

I keep my starter at around 70%-75% hydration and feed it with whole wheat flour.

Seems like whey would be fine (the original formula looks like it makes a very nice bread) but honestly I've never baked with it so I can't tell you if there are any pitfalls to watch for.  There is a link in Karin's post to the original formula you can check out. 

dabrownman's picture

like a pumpkin than real pumpkin!  Has to taste fantastic.  The open crumb and blistered crust are fantastic.  Nicely done! . 

carltonb's picture

I can buy powdered whey, but where does one find a liquid whey, besides the result of making cheeses.

Carlton Brooks


wassisname's picture

Hmmm... a little you could get by straining yogurt, but a lot?  No idea.  I just went ahead and skipped it since it isn't something I have around and I don't really eat much dairy anymore anyway.

wassisname's picture

Sorry, that got cut off like dabrownman's comments did. 

As I was saying:  you could strain yogurt to get a little, but I have no idea where you could get it in bulk.  I left it out altogether since it isn't something I have around and I don't eat much dairy anymore anyway.

wassisname's picture

I'll try this again later:)

Ok, what was I saying?

Whey - I know that straining yogurt is one way to get a little, but a lot?  No idea.  I left it out altogether because it's not something I have around and I don't eat much dairy anymore anyway.

Janetcook's picture

Hi Marcus,

What a coincidence……my take on Karin's loaf is in the oven right now.  (I will post a photo on Karin's blog when it cools.)

Your loaf looks beautiful.  I love your scoring.  Wish I had seen it prior to baking my loaf.

My dough was pretty wet last night too before letting it bulk ferment in the refrig. overnight.  I was worried it would remain loose and be difficult to shape.  I was pleasantly surprised by a wonderful supple dough this morning that was heavenly to shape.  I will be baking this formula again too!!!

I couldn't resist adding a touch of maple syrup to my loaf - I used sweet potato puree in place of pumpkin.  I like your idea of a touch of spice…..many ideas to play around with.

Thanks for your post and ideas for future scoring.

Take Care,



wassisname's picture

Thanks, Janet, I just checked out your loaf, it looks great!  I like your adaptations, too.  Sweet potatoes are a great alternative to the pumpkin, and the maple is a perfect compliment.  When I got my first taste of this I wondered if maybe I should give it a touch of sweetness next time.  I hadn't thought of maple syrup but I think that would be just the ticket, especially if I can get the spices figured out.  This really is a great one to tinker with.

Janetcook's picture

Hi Marcus,

Thanks for the kind words in regards to my loaf.  Next will be scored like yours were - if I can remember to do it!  

The gears in head are rapidly turning and churning out ideas for this loaf.  I do so love this time of year due all the fun things it inspires me to add to my doughs when I want something a bit 'fancy'…..

I just checked my Flavor Bible and for my next loaf I am going to use the spices you mentioned - cinnamon and allspice plus nutmeg.  I will use the sweet potatoes again along with the maple syrup but I am going to toss in cranberries in place of the pumpkin seeds…..Think Thanksgiving  :- )

(When I add cinnamon to breads I usually use about 1%.  I go about half of that with allspice and I have never added nutmeg so I will wing it there but think I will keep it subtle too with just a touch.) 

I will substitute butter in place of the olive oil.

Now to find room for it on my 'to bake' schedule and I have to wait until November….well, maybe I don't have to wait that long….

Thanks for the spice ideas.

Take Care,


wassisname's picture

Ooooh, cranberries.  That's a good one! 

I love the Flavor Bible!  As much as I love bread books, I don't have much use for regular cookbooks - I would much rather improvise with what's handy.  I just need a few ideas to get the wheels turning and the Flavor Bible provides exactly that.  Everyone should have a copy!

Janetcook's picture

I agree.  It is the book I pull down from my shelf the most often these days when thinking up how to enhance a main ingredient in a loaf.  I love the format too.  Easy breezy which is what I need!

Carmen Savu's picture
Carmen Savu

Thank you for sharing the receipt! I baked this bread last week using home baked pumpkin. Very good taste, amazing crumb.

wassisname's picture

You're welcome.  I'm so glad it worked out for you!

LP14's picture

<p>Thanks so much for this recipe. I halved it and made a loaf with toasted sunflower seeds. I also used whole wheat in the preferment and pumpkin juice (from my roasted pumpkin puree) for the water. I found the dough easy to work with, much less sticky than the pumpkin bagels I just made (from the Wild Yeast blog) or the high hydration doughs with which I normally work. Nice structure was built with the autolyze and retard in refrigerator.&nbsp;</p><p>The bread is soft and faintly, sweetly vegetabley. Next time I'll add more seeds (I added less than called for in your recipe) and also take heed to remove steam/take off my dutch oven lid after 15 minutes. My crust could be improved.&nbsp;</p>

wassisname's picture

That looks great and sounds delicious!  Nice adaptation.  Happy Baking!


sourdoughonly's picture

I saw a beautiful picture of your pumpkin sourdough on pintrest but i can't find the recipe! On this page, i don't see the pictures anymore, only your blog, and more importantly no recipe! Please can you fix this page so i can make this recipe that sounds perfect for October. I can hardly wait!

katyajini's picture

I too soooo want to make this bread!  I can't find the recipe!  Please, please share it again. Thank you!

wassisname's picture

Here you go :) 

Pumpkin Sourdough  
Type 85 Flour200100%
Initial Starter4020%
Bread Flour700 
Canned Pumpkin425 
Pumpkin Seeds150 
Whole Wheat Flour232%
Type 85 Flour20022%
Bread Flour70076%
Canned Pumpkin42546%
Pumpkin Seeds15016%
 prefermented flour24%
Initial starter contribution in grams 
Whole Wheat Flour2357%




Mix preferment and let it ferment for 8-10 hours at 72ºF .



Toast the pumpkin seeds on a sheet pan at 350ºF until they start to pop.


Combine the water and pumpkin.


Note - this dough starts out very sticky.  Don't Panic.

Add the bread flour.  Mix just until flour and liquid come together.  Autolyse 30 minutes.


Add the preferment, salt and pumpkin seeds.  Mix until they are mostly, but not necessarily entirely incorported.


Perform two more sets of in-the-bowl scrape and folds at about 30 minute intervals.  If you are making the bread without the overnight refrigeration you might do one or two more sets of stretch and folds. 


The dough will develop considerable strength overnight, so don't worry if it feels loose.  Too much gluten development at this point will leave you with a very tight dough tomorrow.

Dough was at room temp about 2 hours before being refrigerated.


Refrigerate overnight.


3 1/2 hrs warmup at 78ºF.  Divide and Shape.  Proof 3 hours at 78ºF


This is how I baked it but the bottom crust got a bit scorched:

Bake 450ºF.  Steam the first 15 minutes.

Reduce to 440 after 25 minutes.



katyajini's picture

Thank you very, very much!  Trying it out soon!