The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Seasonal Sourdough

TerryD's picture

Seasonal Sourdough

I dug the sweet potatoes a few weeks ago and they are cured enough to start eating. The apples have been harvested and the wild hazelnuts along the back fence are ready to pick... it's time to make some bread to celebrate the fall season.

This is based on a basic sourdough formula, adopted fairly successfully to accommodate the sweet potatoes and seeds.

350 gr         100% levain

1000 gr        KA Artisan Select

600 gr          Water


350 gr         Baked sweet potatoes

200 gr         Roasted/shelled pumpkin seeds

30 gr           Salt


50 gr           hazelnuts (a delicious decoration)


I run the sweet potatoes through medium plate on a food mill, and lightly roast the pumpkin seeds in a 350 oven for 8-10 minutes.

Prepare ingredients to get 80 F dough temp.

Combine flour, water, levain; mix to shaggy dough and autolyse 30 minutes.

Add sweet potatoes, salt and seeds; fold/knead until well mixed.

Keeping dough temp in the 75-80 range, ferment 3-4 hours with turn/folds at 30, 60, 90, 120 minutes. (This dough was pretty wet - it took a lot of folds to get it to tighten up.)

Divide, with enough flour to keep dough from sticking, lightly round and rest for 30 minutes. Form the final shape, brush water on top of the loaf and stick the hazelnuts to it, and proof about 2 hours.

Preheat oven and dutch ovens to 500. Place loaded DOs into oven, lower temp to 450 and bake 25 minutes; uncover, bake another 15 + minutes; when internal temp reaches 210,  I turn off the oven and leave the bread for another 10 minutes.

The crumb is a little tighter than I’d hoped.  The color from the sweet potatoes is nice.  The flavor is quite good – the bread is just a little sweet from the sweet potatoes, though the actual sweet potato flavor not obvious. The pumpkin seeds add a clear flavor note.  A dollop of home-made apple butter ties it all together very nicely.

I feel like I’m on the right track.  For the next batch, I intend to add more sweet potato and reduce to overall hydration. Also, I will use a portion of high extraction and some whole wheat -- I usually bake with at least 50% whole grain flour. (I used all AP this time to make sure the dough would support the addition of the sweet potatoes.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Lovely post!  :)

Reni's picture

can someone point me to subject on hydration - when I someone says they do 100% hydration I don't know what it means.

TerryD's picture


Hydration is the ratio of water to flour expressed as a percentage. It tells you (usually) how wet the dough is.

Thus, when I prepared this levain, I used 50g of 'starter' plus 150 grams each of flour and water, producing a 100% levain that is often described as being like a 'stiff batter' 

The same is true for a simple bread dough. A baguette made of only flour, water, salt and yeast, with 68% hydration, will have 68g water for every 100g of total flour.  

It gets more complicated when high moisture ingredients like sweet potatoes are added because the amount of water (60% in the case of this bread) doesn't really tell you how wet the dough is.

I will leave it to others on this site to point out more information to help you out.  This is my first post and I don't know my way around this site very well.

Reni's picture

Thank you - have since got it into my noggin.

Danni3ll3's picture

Your crumb shot has me drooling! I really need to try sweet potatoes in my breads.  

Chikadee Baker's picture
Chikadee Baker

How would I convert this from a loaf to rolls? Would I shape the rolls at the end during the final shaping period? Just made a version of this using this recipe; excited to see how it turns out!