Pumpkin Sourdough Bread

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Pumpkin sourdough bread is perfect for fall baking because it has both pumpkin pie spice and dried cranberries. It also includes some pumpkin puree to give the bread a rich flavor that will make your house smell amazing while you bake.

It’s fall, the leaves are changing, people are pulling plaid out of the back of their closets.

Starbucks line ups are getting longer, and everything.is.pumpkin.

I’m not above admitting that I can get behind a good pumpkin spice craze.

But I like my pumpkin with a side of carbs!

This pumpkin sourdough bread is dedicated to plaid!

A sliced loaf of pumpkin sourdough bread.

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Tips + Tricks

No. 1 –> New to sourdough? Need a starter? Check out my super EASY SOURDOUGH STARTER. It’s ready in 24 hours!

No. 2 –> This recipe is written with a room temperature bulk ferment but this dough can easily be proofed in the fridge to help the baking fit into your schedule.

No. 3 –> Once I’ve preshaped my loaf and placed it on the parchment paper, I like to set it in a pot that is roughly the same size as the dutch oven I’m using.

No. 4 –> Grab a shower cap at the drugstore next time you’re out! I use my polka-dotted shower cap a few times a week while making sourdough. It’s a great, reusable cover for proofing sourdough.

Overhead view of baked pumpkin sourdough bread in a dutch oven.

Key Ingredients

Sourdough Starter: use a fed and active 100% hydration starter. The sourdough starter should be very bubbly and risen at least twice its size since feeding.

Pumpkin Puree: can’t have pumpkin spice sourdough bread without the pumpkin! This recipe works using canned pumpkin puree and homemade pumpkin puree. If your homemade puree is particularly watery, it would be prudent to drain off some of the liquid.

Ingredients required for pumpkin sourdough bread.

How To Make Pumpkin Sourdough Bread

–> Printable recipe card at the bottom of the post

Feed The Starter:

  1. Combine 60g hungry sourdough starter with 60g water, and 60g bread flour.
  2. Stir until the starter is completely combined, then set aside to rise.
  3. Once the starter has at least doubled in size and is full of bubbles, it is ready to use.

Start The Dough:

  1. Combine 100g active starter with 240g water and 200g pumpkin puree, stirring until smooth and mostly combined. Add in 500g bread flour, mixing until all the flour is incorporated. I usually stir with a spoon until the dough is too thick, then I switch to a bowl scraper to help lift and fold the dough to incorporate all the flour. Cover and set aside to rest for 30 minutes.
  2. Sprinkle 10g of salt over the sourdough, then perform a series of stretches and folds: with wet hands, grab the dough and gently pull it until the flap is long enough to fold over itself, then fold the flap, rotate the bowl 90 degrees and repeat 4 times. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes. Repeat the stretch and fold process once more. Recover at set aside for 30 minutes.
  3. Combine 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup dried cranberries and 1 1/2 tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the dough. Complete 1 last stretch and fold to incorporate the added mixture. Less folding in the sugar mixture will result in pronounced ribbons as pictured above, more folding in will result in a more homogenized dough mixture.

Bulk Ferment + Pre-shape:

  1. Cover the dough and set it aside to bulk ferment for 10-12 hours, or until it doubles in size. You’ll see in the photos that I use a pot for my bulk ferment. This pot is almost exactly the same size as my 3 qt dutch oven so I love to use it for all my proofing.
  2. Once the dough has doubled in size, turn it onto a floured surface and pre-shape the loaf into your desired shape, place it seam side down on a piece of parchment paper. Cover and allow to rise for another 60-120 minutes.

Bake:

  1. While the dough is finishing the final rise, place a cast iron dutch oven into the cold oven and preheat together at 475f.
  2. Once the oven is heated, score your loaf as desired. Lift with the parchment paper as handles and lower into the preheated dutch oven.
  3. Bake the pumpkin sourdough at 475f covered for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove the lid and continue to bake until the crust has darkened, another 15-20 minutes.
  5. Remove the sourdough from the dutch oven and cool on a wire mesh cooling rack until room temperature before slicing.

Baker’s Schedule

Here’s an example of my schedule for baking this irresistible pumpkin sourdough bread!

  • Day 1 –>
    • 12 pm: Feed my starter room temperature or cooler water. Set aside in a cooler place to activate.
    • 7 pm: Mix up the dough for pumpkin sourdough bread.
    • 8:30 pm: The stretching and folding process is complete, the sugar, cranberries, and pumpkin pie spice have been incorporated. Cover and set aside to rise for 10-12 hours, or until doubled.
  • Day 2 –>
    • 8 am: Turn the dough onto a floured surface, form into a boule and place seam side down on a piece of parchment paper. Place the boule into a bowl similar in size to your dutch oven. Cover and rise for 60-120 minutes.
    • 9:30 am: Set my favorite small dutch oven into the cold oven and preheat both together at 475f.
    • 10 am: Uncover and carefully score the surface of your boule. Then remove the dutch oven from the oven, and using the parchment paper as a sling, lower the boule into the dutch oven. Recover then bake as per the recipe.

More Sourdough Recipes To Love

Batch + Storage Information

BATCH:

This recipe bakes a nice-sized loaf of pumpkin sourdough bread. This is the perfect amount for our family of 4 to serve with breakfast for at least 2 days.

STORAGE:

If you’ve got leftover sourdough, you’ve got serious willpower!

Your boule can be kept cut side down on a cutting board for up to 12 hours before the crust becomes too crisp. I recommend transferring it to a bread bag once cooled.

Your sourdough loaf can also be frozen. To freeze, cool the loaf to room temperature, then tightly wrap in plastic wrap, slide it into a bread bag, seal it up and stick it in the freezer for 1-2 months. To use after freezing, remove the loaf from the freezer, unwrap and allow to come to room temperature (1 -2 hours) before slicing and enjoying.

Two halves of a pumpkin sourdough loaf.

3 qt cast iron dutch oven: Much of the success of this bread depends on having a heavy ass cast iron dutch oven. It’s one of those things you should already have, and if you don’t have one, fix that! The little red one in these photos was my first piece of cast iron and something that started somewhat of a cooking revolution for us a decade ago.

A 3-quart CAST IRON DUTCH OVEN is a workhorse in the kitchen, and you’ll find yourself reaching for it often.

Scale: It’s really hard to make sourdough without a scale. Sorry, but them’s the facts! bread baking and bread dough are a bit of a science. A GOOD KITCHEN SCALE will treat you well over a huge range of recipes, not just sourdough. Think of  HOMEMADE BACON!

If you love this recipe, please give it a star rating or leave a comment below! This helps me to create more content you enjoy!

📖 Printable Recipe

Overhead view of baked pumpkin sourdough bread in a dutch oven.

Pumpkin Sourdough Bread

Allyson Letal
Pumpkin sourdough bread is a rich and delicious pumpkin flavored sourdough ribboned with pumpkin spice and cranberries. It's the perfect mix of spice and sweet.
4.35 from 32 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Fermenting Time 10 hours
Course Sourdough
Cuisine American
Servings 10
Calories 233 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 100 g active sourdough starter
  • 200 g pumpkin puree
  • 240 g room temperature water
  • 500 g bread flour
  • 10 g coarse kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup chopped dried cranberries
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

Instructions
 

  • Combine 100g active starter 240g water, and mix until mostly combined. Add in 200g pumpkin puree, stirring until smooth. Add in 500g bread flour, mixing until all the flour is incorporated. Cover and set aside to rest for 30 minutes.
  • Sprinkle 10g of salt over the sourdough, then perform a series of stretches and folds: with wet hands, grab the dough and gently pull it until the flap is long enough to fold over itself, then fold the flap, rotate the bowl 90 degrees and repeat 4 times. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes. Repeat the stretch and fold process 3 times total.
  • Combine 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup dried cranberries and 1 1/2 tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the dough. Complete 1 last stretch and fold to incorporate the added mixture. Less folding in the sugar mixture will result in pronounced ribbons as pictured above, more folding in will result in a more homogenized dough mixture.
  • Cover the dough and set it aside to bulk ferment for 10-12 hours, or until it doubles.
  • Once the dough has doubled in size, turn it onto a floured surface and pre-shape the loaf into your desired shape, place it seam side down on a piece of parchment paper. Cover and allow to rise for another 60-120 minutes.
  • While the dough is finishing the final rise, place a cast iron dutch oven into the cold oven and preheat together at 475f.
  • Once the oven is heated, score your loaf as desired. Lift with the parchment paper as handles and lower into the preheated dutch oven.
  • Bake the pumpkin sourdough at 475f covered for 30 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and continue to bake until the crust has darkened, another 15-20 minutes.
  • Remove the sourdough from the dutch oven and cool on a wire mesh cooling rack until room temperature before slicing.

Notes

BATCH:

This recipe bakes a nice-sized loaf of pumpkin sourdough bread. This is the perfect amount for our family of 4 to serve with breakfast for at least 2 days.

STORAGE:

Your boule can be kept cut side down on a cutting board for up to 12 hours before the crust becomes too crisp. I recommend transferring it to a bread bag once cooled.
Your sourdough loaf can also be frozen. To freeze, cool the loaf to room temperature, then tightly wrap in plastic wrap, slide it into a bread bag, seal it up and stick it in the freezer for 1-2 months. To use after freezing, remove the loaf from the freezer, unwrap and allow to come to room temperature (1 -2 hours) before slicing and enjoying.

baker's schedule

Here's an example of my schedule for baking this irresistible pumpkin sourdough bread!
  • Day 1 –>
    12 pm:
     Feed my starter room temperature or cooler water. Set aside in a cooler place to activate.
    7 pm: Mix up the dough for pumpkin sourdough bread.
    8:30 pm: The stretching and folding process is complete, the sugar, cranberries, and pumpkin pie spice have been incorporated. Cover and set aside to rise for 10-12 hours, or until doubled.
  • Day 2 –>
    8 am: 
    Turn the dough onto a floured surface, form into a boule and place seam side down on a piece of parchment paper. Place the boule into a bowl similar in size to your dutch oven. Cover and rise for 60-120 minutes.
    9:30 pm: Set my favorite small dutch oven into the cold oven and preheat both together at 475f.
    10 am: Uncover and carefully score the surface of your boule. Then remove the dutch oven from the oven, and using the parchment paper as a sling, lower the boule into the dutch oven. Recover then bake as per the recipe.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 233kcalCarbohydrates: 49gProtein: 7gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.1gSodium: 393mgPotassium: 107mgFiber: 2gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 3116IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 25mgIron: 1mg
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37 Comments

  1. Do you review your recipe for needed corrections? You mention 240 gm of water in the ingredients, but don’t describe incorporating it into the dough.

    1. Hi Marilyn, I certainly do, however, I am human, and sometimes, you can review your own work 10 times and still miss an error. I’ll fix it now, thanks for pointing it out!

  2. Thanks for the recipe! 475 turned out to be a little too hot — my bread is a little burnt on the edges. I’m still really excited to cut into it and taste it! I think I might try it again on 450.

    1. @Ally, it is otherwise AWESOME! I have baked this bread twice more since the first try. 450 seems to be just right. Variations in ovens or something, I guess! Everyone I’ve shared with has absolutely loved it and I feel like a saint for sharing it instead of keeping it all for myself! Thanks for a great recipe!

      1. @Amy, Oh my gosh, you’ve made my day! Thank you so much for letting me know <3 . I am going to put a secondary thermometer in my oven today and just double check the temps. My oven is getting older so it's not out of the realm of possibility that mine is out!

  3. I followed all ingredients except I used 350g ap flour and 150g whole wheat flour (added just a few more grams of water). Sprinkled some topping at each stretch and fold. I followed a different schedule that I use for a plain sourdough loaf that includes a cold ferment overnight. I don’t have a Dutch oven, so after a few hours out of the fridge, I flip onto a parchment lined cookie sheet then bake at 425 for about 45-50 minutes. Turned out great! Already made 3 loaves in 3 days!

    1. Hi Sheryl! This recipe is delicious and totally worth weighing for!

      For most of my sourdough recipes, unless they are discard recipes, I like to use weighted measurements to ensure consistent results. While measuring with cups is easy, it’s definitely not as precise as weight. I found that once I got used to the scale it was just as quick for me to measure out my recipes as it was to use cups and spoons. I highly recommend giving it a try!

    2. @Sheryl, I don’t convert my measurements to cups. I find it more accurate to get a kitchen scale and just weigh everything out. Depending on how you scoop flour, you could have less than a cup, more than a cup, or exactly a cup. Kitchen scale set to grams is the way to go. And much less stressful.

    3. @Sheryl, I use a kitchen scale set to grams. I find it more accurate than cups because cups vary depending on how you scoop them out. Same with everything else. If you don’t have one, you will never regret an investment in a kitchen scale.

  4. Hi Ally. I am making this right now and have finished the bulk ferment. When I turned it out of the bowl there was quite a lot of liquid. Is this normal?
    I did an aggressive pre-shape and am letting it rest now before a final shape and then plan on a long cold proof.
    I’m hoping some of the wet will evaporate during this rest. If not, I’m afraid the shaping won’t hold together.

    1. Hi Lisa, sometimes when you have a sugar ribbon in bread it melts and creates its own liquid. It should be fine – especially if you’re cold proofing. It might just need a gentle hand when scoring and transferring. Let me know how it turns out!

  5. Hey there! I was super excited to try out this recipe, but I’m very confused on where I went wrong😅 I followed your instructions to a T, but after just 6 hours of proofing, my dough was way over proofed and when I lifted it out of the bowl, there was a ton of liquid inside! I’m still going to attempt to bake it, but it seems all wrong from the many loaves I’ve made in the past. Any ideas what could have gone wrong?

    1. Hey Wren, sometimes when using sugar as a ribboning ingredient in soudough, it either melts or pulls out a little moisture, just like when you’re making cinnamon buns and the liquid pools at the bottom. That is not a problem, you can just leave it there and carry on.

      The over proofing is surprising, do you have an extra warm kitchen or very vigorous starter?

  6. In the pumpkin sd bread recipe — looks delicious by the way- in the sample baking schedule you put :
    Day 2
    8AM : Turn the dough…
    9:30 PM: Set my favorite…

    I know you mean 9:30 AM. Just a quick fix.

    I can’t wait to try this recipe. I’ve done Grant’s if Grant Bakes. It’s yummy!
    Beth

  7. Hi there! The recipe mentions that the recipe calls for a room temp bulk fermentation, but can be done in the fridge too. I’m wondering at what stage would I pop it in the fridge… immediately after last stretch and folds? After it has bulk fermented on the counter and has pre shaped? Thanks in advance!

    1. Hey Katie, sorry for the late reply! You’ll want to place it in the fridge after the shaping, as cold dough is more difficult to shape. So I would shape it, place it in a banneton or proofing bowl, cover with a plastic bag and toss in the fridge!

    2. @Ally, so just one more clarification for my novice brain! If cold fermenting after shaping – do you still bulk ferment for 10-12 hours before shaping? Or do you skip the bulk ferment and go straight to shaping, then into the fridge? Thanks!!

      1. Hey Katie, no worries at all!

        If you’re wanting to cold ferment the dough, you’ll want to shorten the 8-10 hour rise time because the dough holds onto heat during the cooling process in the fridge and going a full 10 hours on the counter and then into the fridge will likely cause overproofing. I’d probably go closer to 6 hours rest before shaping and then toss in the fridge for up to 24 hours!

        Hopefully that helps!

  8. This was so delicious and the perfect texture. I made it yesterday with dried cherries and I’m just making it again.. gonna try chocolate chips this time. Thanks!

  9. Just found this, and this is now my new sour dough bread! Crusty on the outside, soft and tender on the inside. I made this to serve with dinner when my parents were over. I made some cinnamon honey compound butter to dress it. YUM! I have a little left over, and thinking it might make some fabulous french toast!

  10. Oh. My GOODNESS!!! I made this today. The scent is absolutely the definition of Fall!!! The flavor is absolutely amazing!!! Used low sugar cranberries so maybe I don’t feel as guilty eating it!!! This will be perfect with Thanksgiving dinner. Way to go!!!!
    Sharon

  11. 5 stars
    I made this today and it’s delicious with a little honey butter! The crust got a little dark but is still soft and the inside is just slightly chewy. I will definitely be making this frequently this fall and winter!

  12. Hi! I’ve made this wonderful bread several times now. I added 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips with great success!! My only issue is with the bottom scorching. My easy solution was to put a circular baking rack on the bottom of my Dutch oven. No more scorching!!!!!
    Thank you!!!!!
    Sharon

    1. I love the idea of adding chocolate chips! Thanks for sharing!

      When the bottom scorches on your loaf, where do you have the rack positioned in your oven? If it’s near the bottom, you can try to move it up, but if you have no room, lots of people put a cookie sheet in the rack underneath to help create more indirect heat on the dutch oven – just in case you want to try a different method.

  13. Hi Ally,
    Love this sourdough pumpkin bread recipe. Each time I make, it tastes delicious. My family loves it as well.
    Any suggestions on substituting pumpkin purée with any other type of purée?
    Many thanks for the recipe.

    1. Hey Neena! So glad you love this recipe, it is a favorite here too! I have not experimented with other purees, but I am dabbling with an apple cider recipe – can’t wait to share that one once I’ve got it sorted!

  14. Hi Ally,
    I am loving the process of new ways to use sourdough starter! Normally, my breads were just glorified bricks, but sourdough makes an amazing crumb EVERY TIME!
    I am going to make this pumpkin sourdough but wonder if I can use frozen cranberries, and if so, what adjustments would you recommend? (I am thinking less water, but want to ask before trying!)
    Thank you,
    Morgan

    1. Hey Morgan,

      Sorry for the delay, I won’t lie, I was on a beach in the Caribbean. LOL. But I’m home in frosty Alberta now and my head is back in the game.

      You could try frozen cranberries, I haven’t done so yet, but it would probably be delicious. It may add a little extra moisture though, which could make the crumb a bit gummy.

  15. I’m brand new to sourdough and I did everything as it was written but somehow during my proffing there’s no change in 4.5 hrs except that now there is water so I’m not sure how to fix it or what I didn’t wrong or if it normal, help please!

    1. Hey Shannon, when adding sugar swirl, sometimes the sugar dissolves and makes water at the bottom of your fermenting bowl.

      When you say that there’s no change, do you mean in volume? How does the dough look? Did the texture improve during the stretch and folds? Was the starter at its peak when you used it in the recipe?