The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Pumpkin, Sunflower Seed & Chili Sourdough

browndog's picture

Pumpkin, Sunflower Seed & Chili Sourdough


This is a lovely sourdough, my current favorite. I found the recipe on the now-defunct Dan Lepard forums,  and unfortunately cannot credit the original baker who posted it.  Beautiful golden yellow and with just a bit of a kick from the chilies, you can also add a teaspoon or so of cardamom and fennel for added flavor and interest, but it is utterly charming without. I have assumed in the instructions that you have a basic knowledge of sourdough technique--if not I am happy to field any questions.

I never have got the beautiful open airy crumb that many bakers seem able to produce, but nevertheless this is a tender loaf with an excellent texture, just enough chewiness for your teeth to feel as though they were being useful. I use store brand unbleached or a mix of regular unbleached and one of the higher protein all-purpose flours like King Arthur.

starter {twice refreshed} 240g
water 264g
pumpkin (cooked weight) 320g
strong white flour 840g
salt 18g
sunflower seed 100g
crushed chili

Called Pumpkin Sourdough but any winter squash will do and butternut
squash is particularly nice. Because squash can vary a lot in water content you have to be
prepared to juggle the amount of water in the recipe. Halve and seed squash.
Splash with olive oil, sprinkle with crushed  chili to taste and bake til soft.
Cool. Puree with the water.

Mix and knead using your preferred method. I fold twice at fifty-minute intervals. Bulk fermentation about 4 hours, although it can be a bit lively.
Form into two boules or batards, let rest 15 minutes, shape and set in proofing baskets.
A few sunflower seeds and a sprinkle of crushed chili in the bottom of the basket looks pretty
on the baked loaf.
Prove 3-4 hours or in the refrigerator overnight.
Carefully turn out onto a floured baking sheet. Slash and bake using preferred steaming method. I bake under rinsed stainless steel bowls for 20 minutes, then remove the bowls and another 20 minutes does the trick.
Bake in preheated 440 degree oven for about 40 minutes.







SylviaH's picture

thanks for sharing, and good to hear from you :)

Happy New Year!


browndog's picture

Hi Sylvia, thank you, and Happy New Year to you!

(It's only been five years.)

Floydm's picture

Very nice!  And as Sylvia said, welcome back!


browndog's picture

Hi Floyd, and thank you.

Been a while and lots of unfamiliar names, along with some old ones.   But TFL looks as cozy, warm and inspiring as ever.                                                                                                            

breadsong's picture

Hi browndog,
Thank you so much for contributing this interesting-and-delicious sounding recipe.
The bread has a beautiful color and texture, and the flavor must be amazing with the pumpkin, seeds and spice.
Saving to favorites!
:^) breadsong

browndog's picture

Hello breadsong, thanks for stopping by! It really is a delicious bread, and the color is indeed surprising and very pretty. I found the recipe when I was overrun by  pumpkin this fall and needed something besides pie and dessert bread to use it up. Now of course I have to bake squash on purpose, to make it, but it's so worth it. :-)


Isand66's picture

Beautiful looking bread.  Love that pumpkin color and the crumb looks pretty open to me for this style of bread.


browndog's picture

Hi Ian, thanks. The color is almost but not quite the best part. :-) The crumb is fine really, not dense or heavy or too moist at all. It's just that I'm a bit sullen after 5 years of baking sourdough and never quite getting that really open crumb one often sees come out of other people's ovens.

Isand66's picture

Sorry to hear you are still struggling.  It could be you are handling the dough a bit too rough when shaping or maybe your hyration level needs to increase.  I usually use an overnight retardation in the refrigerator for the bulk dough and I find this provides great flavor and usually helps develop an open crumb, but I also tend to work with fairly high hydration doughs.


browndog's picture

Yeah, I've chased down all the avenues, learned heaps from the very adept bakers here, some years back. I almost invariably retard overnight in the fridge. My doughs usually run around 60-63% hydration, so you can't expect miracles. But the one time I made a 100% hydration ciabatta, even though the dough was bubbly and gently tended, and the baked loaves light as a feather and  with wonderful flavor, they still had very average crumb. No more struggling, though. I have learned to accept. :-)

Thanks Ian, nice to meet you.


dabrownman's picture

Glad you are back.  The only thing easier than making holes in bread is not making holes in bread.    Where do you live?  I'm sure some huge hole producing Fresh Lofian lives near enough to you to show you how they make them, - in person, somehow.  Just seeing it done once is all you need.  It is probably something simple like Ian suggests.  You're certainly skillful enough as this pumpkin bread clearly shows.  It is very nice and has to taste yummy.

Think big holes and they will be yours!

browndog's picture

Hello dabrownman! I expect that's entirely true, and a cup or two of positive thinking improves any recipe, for sure. :-)