The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Celebrating Fall: Pumpkin Coffee Sourdough

nadira2100's picture

Celebrating Fall: Pumpkin Coffee Sourdough

Ok ok, so maybe it's not *technically* Fall yet. But down here in New Orleans we don't get seasons and lately we've been experiencing cool(er) weather than normal. Having lived in the Chicago suburbs all my life I always told myself that I would move someplace warm. Some place where it didn't get cold and it didn't snow. But now that I have the warmer weather.....I miss the changing seasons dreadfully! I miss the leaves changing color. I miss the crisp autumn air. I even miss snow on the ground around Christmas time and bundling up in winter coats and knit hats.

But my absolute favorite part of fall (and part of winter) I can have just about anywhere thankfully. I am obsessed with pumpkin. And I mean to the point where my husband tells me I have a problem. For me, Fall means feeding this addiction with Pumpkin Spice Lattes, Pumpkin Cheesecake brownies, Pumpkin Cheesecake, Pumpkin get the idea. I *may have* even hoarded a bunch of cans of pumpkin puree last fall so I could enjoy it throughout the year. The other day I opened up my last can to make my own pumpkin coffee but I ended up adding too much spice to the mixture. I must say my little concotion was horrible and I was very disappointed. 

I had only used 1/2 the can leaving about 1 cup left. I had a firm sourdough starter happily fermenting in the fridge that I needed to use. So, this is how my pumpkin coffee sourdough came into existence. I had both in the fridge. So they both went into the basic sourdough recipe I've been using from Peter Reinharts The Bread Bakers Apprentice. 

This dough was pretty wet. My first time working with a really wet dough was.....interesting. But I have acheived the most open crumb yet to be seen in my kitchen, complete with shininess and excellent texture. The taste....I wasn't sure what to expect. But the pumpkin comes through beautifully and the coffee gives an earthy flavor that is different than what I'm used to being paired with pumpkin, probably because everything with pumpkin in it that I eat has loads of sugar in it. It's not bad by any means, and it gives the bread different dimensions that I wasn't aware even existed. I think it would go well with some apple butter, plain butter, or be good as an egg and cheese sandwich. I enjoyed a slice all by itself but then again I can do that with pretty much any bread. I think next time I'll add in some cranberries or apples to offset the savoriness of the bread, give it that sweet/tart little burst of something to go along with the squashiness of the pumpkin. 

Is the picture too small to see the shininess of the crumb? I had to use the flash in order to get it "shine" :)

Firm Starter

  • 2/3 c sourdough starter (mine is 100% hydration)
  • 4.5 oz. bread flour
  • 1/4 c water

Mix these together and let ferment at room temperature for 4 hrs. Refridgerate overnight. (I actually left mine in the fridge for a few days).

Pumpkin Coffee Sourdough

  • Firm Starter
  • 20.5 oz bread flour
  • 1 3/4 c coffee
  • 1 c pumpkin puree
  • 2 tsp salt
  1. Let the firm starter rest at room temperature for 1 hr to take off the chill. Cut the starter into 12 pieces. 
  2. Mix together the starter with the bread flour, coffee, salt and pumpkin until a shaggy dough ball forms. 
  3. Let rest for 20min before turning out on a well floured surface. 
  4. Perform 4-5 stretch and folds, then place in a well oiled bowl for 15min. 
  5. Stretch and fold 3 times. The rest for 15 min. Repeat 2 more times, then let the dough rest at room temperature for 3 hrs. I left the house at this point to meet a friend for margaritas. 3 hrs later it had tripled in volume. 
  6. Divide the dough in half and pre-shape into boules. Let rest for 20 min before the final shaping. I made a spiral boule out of 1 and proofed the other in a banneton. After shaping, I stuck these in the fridge overnight. 
  7. Preheat the oven to 500 and take out the dough 1 hr before baking.
  8. Score and bake with steam for 2 min. Then drop the temp to 450 and continue baking for another 8 min. Rotate the bread, and bake for another 10-15min or until golden brown. 



dabrownman's picture

concoction!  We love the snail shape and the scoring to go with the crust and crumb.  A new Thanksgiving bake is on the list!

nadira2100's picture

I was practicing the snail shape to make a sourdough challah for a friend of mine this weekend. I was pleased with how it turned out! Happy baking and I hope if you make this you enjoy it as much as I have :)

Janetcook's picture

Thanks for the post...I feel an experiment coming on....I have some extra butternut squash in the refrig...okay, it isn't pumpkin but it is orange :-)  and I have some pumpkin pie spice sitting un-used at the moment plus some fresh honey....and there is always extra sourdough at the end of my day....

I love the shape of your loaf!

Take Care,


nadira2100's picture

I'm sure the butternut squash will be just as delicious as the pumpkin, especially with the honey! Let me know how it turns out. Happy baking!

Floydm's picture

Lovely.  Would you mind if I featured it on the homepage for a bit?  It's a great example of what folks can come up with if they follow their muse.



nadira2100's picture

I would be honored! :) Thank you Floyd!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

What would that be?

  • 4 oz starter?
  • 2 oz water
  • 14 oz coffee (as in ready to drink liquid coffee? or is it grounds?)
  • and how much does a cup of pumpkin weigh?

Thanks  :)

nadira2100's picture

2.3 c of starter (barm) is 4 oz.

1/4 c of water for the firm starter is 2 oz. 

The coffee is ready to drink. I just substituted it for the water in the recipe. 

I'm estimating I put about 7-8 oz of pumpkin into the bread. It was actually a scant cup and I think the cans of pumpkin weigh about 14 oz? If that's true then I'd say I put closer to 7 oz in. I hope that helps!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven


Isand66's picture

Beautiful shaping and scoring.  Love the idea of using pumpkin and coffee together.  I use coffee in a bunch of different breads I have made and I love the flavor profile it imparts.

Great job.


nadira2100's picture

I actually think I had one of your posts in the back of my mind when I put the coffee in :)

Justkneadit's picture

I too feel your pain about the seasons. I recently moved to Florida from Springfield, Illinois and the fall times blues are setting in. Oddly enough I have also bumped up my recipes with pumpkin, maybe its because I miss fall that much. Who knows. I will indeed be including this recipe in my repertoire as soon as my stater is ready to go. Thanks for sharing!

Aussie Pete's picture
Aussie Pete

Hello Ian,

Your statement re :-"use coffee in a bunch of different breads".

Can you help please. I am looking for a recipe for Coffee and date loaf of bread. Our baker use to sell  this blend but the shop changed owners the loaf disappeared  from the shelf. I tried duplicating the loaf at home but could never get enough coffee flavour. It was bland to say the least.

Would you have such a recipe in your bread collection  that you could share please? It would be most appreciated.

Cheers from Australia.............Pete.

Isand66's picture

Hi Pete,

Sorry for the late reply, but for some reason I only just saw your request tonight.

Here are some links to my breads I've made with coffee.  I'm  not sure they will do the trick for you, but I don't see any reason why you can't add some dates. Just be sure to add them either at the last mix or fold them in by hand before you put the dough in your refrigerator or retarder.

Aussie Pete's picture
Aussie Pete

Hi Isand66,

Thank you for the reply. I noticed spelt flour being used in some recipes....I use that as well. I like the sweet nutty flavour and I like to use about about 15% of the total flour weight otherwise for me it takes over completely and I find it too strong. 

Anyway maybe you might like to try dates and coffee and see how it goes!!!.

Cheers and thanks from Australia.............Pete. the cat photo.

Isand66's picture

I hope I helped you a little.  I think I shall certainly try some dates and coffee at some point!  I just got my order of flour from King Arthur Flour so I have some new things to try.  I bought some white spelt and whole spelt flours so I look forward to using those as I really like the flavor it imparts in combination with other flours.


Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

I have been looking for a good pumpkin bread for a while now.  Good job! 

In your recipe for this nice loaf, shouldn't there be some water in the final build?  I am quite new at baking, but only a 1/4 cup in the whole recipe seems a bit dry?


nadira2100's picture

So instead of adding 1 3/4 c water to the final dough I added 1 3/4 c of brewed coffee. Sorry for any confusion! I should have stated that it was brewed coffee! Happy Baking! 

breadsong's picture

What a beautifully-shaped and scored loaf, with interesting flavors for the fall season!
This would be a very lovely Thanksgiving bread, and I really like your idea of adding fruit/cranberries.

( You mentioned in your post how much you like pumpkin, and cheesecake too - you might like these muffins,
pumpkin with a maple cream cheese 'garnish' (pictured in second photo in the original post): )

Wishing you the best of the season!
:^) breadsong

nadira2100's picture

Thanks, Breadsong, for the link to the muffin recipe!!!!! Those will definitely be baked soon :D

jackie9999's picture

This post is great timing :)

I was in William Sonoma the other day and tried one of their pumpkin pecan cupcakes with a dollop of their own Pecan pumpkin butter on top - it was wonderful...but I'm afraid if I made a load of cupcakes I'd eat them all in one sitting :) This recipe looks just the thing to go with it...thanks!

jackie9999's picture

I was inspired by this thread to try my hand at making your loaf. I took the lazy approach by altering my 'go-to' sourdough recipe and adding pumpkin pie filling. The resulting loaf was a surprise - lovely oven spring, very moist and, as the day goes on I've taken a slice here and there and each time it's more flavourful than the last..and the color is looking more 'pumpkiny' :)


scake's picture

I didn't know how to celebrate the death of my sourdough starter (I've some question about freezing sourdough starter by the way...), but when I saw this bread on the site I reduced a slice of a good pumpkin in cubes

(we call this pumpkin "mantovana"), cooked it in the microwave-oven and squash it with a fork. I put the mash in the dough with some istantcoffee and milk and mixed it. And this is the stuff!

Delllliiscious with wild flower honey!

Thank you for the inspiration!!!!