Pumpkin shaped sourdough bread screams "Autumn's here!" and I'm living for it. Also, these babies kind of scream "there's snow on my pumpkins!" and I love that too.
These pumpkins are about the diameter of two fists put together. They break apart really interestingly - the segments of "pumpkin" can be separated super easily.
I would say if you're having them alongside dinner or lunch, you can split one pumpkin with another person. Or, you can slice it through the center and make a big pumpkin sandwich for lunch - it's all up to you!
Pumpkin Shaped Sourdough Bread: Timing breakdown
Alright, this is a two and a half day recipe, but it's super hands off! It's honestly a really easy recipe for sourdough - there's minimal folding, and no kneading.
- 10 pm: Make the levain
- 10 am: Make the dough
- 10:30 am: Stretch and fold
- 11 am: Stretch and fold
- 7ish pm, depending on room temperature: Shape and let shortly proof
- 8:30 pm: Set in fridge to finish proofing overnight
- 8:30 am: Preheat the oven to 400F, tie up the buns, flour, and score
- 9 am: Bake for 45 minutes and let cool for an hour
- 10am: Remove the strings and eat!
Ingredients and supplies
Now, these Pumpkin Shaped Sourdough Breads need no other shaping than being shaped into buns! And bun shaping is utterly simple - check out this video if you need visual guidance.
Start with the rougher side facing up, fold all four corners into the center, then smooth out the seams by rolling the seam-side of the ball on a flat surface. Because this dough is higher hydration to give these breads the best sourdough flavor and texture, you need to use lots of flour when shaping.
Then, you just need to do the tying of string and boom, you'll soon have pumpkins!
Quick tips on wheat pattern bread scoring
If you'd like the look of the wheat pattern scoring on your pumpkins, keep the scoring pretty close together (as in the "V's") to keep the pattern tight. And another thing that helps aesthetics is to hold your razor blade or knife at a 45 degree angle to the dough, not straight down.
The razor blade above is at an angle as if to "scoop" through the dough rather than just cut it. I've found that wheat patterns also tend to look more lively and bulbous when the scoring is done in a slight "U" fashion or "(" rather than a "\", if that makes sense.
I've circled some scoring above to illustrate my point. The left circle's scoring was with the razor blade at an angle and a "( )" shape when scoring. The right circle's scoring was with the razor blade straight down and a straight "\ /" when scoring.
Temperature and its effect on timing
If your kitchen temperature is pretty hot because you live in a warm weather place, your dough will be quicker to rise. So you'll probably err on the 6 hour side of bulk rising.
If your kitchen runs cool because it's maybe a brisk fall outside, then your dough will take a bit to puff up and double. Watch your dough and don't be wary if it's taking 8-10 hours to show signs of volume.
Anyways, that enough out of my mouth. Let's get to baking! And if you make this recipe, comment below & let me know how it went.
If you want to see the process of this recipe, you can check out my IG Reel or YouTube Short. If you make these sourdough pumpkins, tag me on Instagram @higheralchemybaking! I want to see your pumpkins!!
Pumpkin Shaped Sourdough Bread
for the levain
- 155g water
- 70g peak sourdough starter
- 185g bread flour
for the dough
- all the levain
- 90g water
- 190g canned pumpkin puree
- 25g brown sugar
- 25g oil
- 260g bread flour
- 80g all-purpose flour
- 8g salt
- 12 10-inch pieces of kitchen/butcher string
- a small bowl with a teaspoon of oil in it
for stems (optional)
- pieces of a cinnamon stick or dried umeboshi plum
- The night before, in a large bowl, mix all the levain ingredients, lightly cover and let sit overnight (12 hours).
- Add all the dough ingredients to the levain and mix thoroughly until no lumps or dry flour remains. The dough will be sticky. Cover and let rest for thirty minutes.
- Stretch and fold the dough on all four sides, then let sit for another thirty minutes.
- Stretch and fold again, then let sit for 6-8 hours (depending on temperature in your house, see above) or until roughly doubled in size and puffy.
- Line a quarter-size sheet pan with parchment paper. Dump the dough on a heavily floured surface and split into four sections. Shape all four sections into four large buns (directions above), heavily flouring the surfaces of each bun, and set on the prepared sheet pan.
- Cover and let proof for 1.5 hours, then place the covered pan in the fridge overnight (12 hours).
- The next morning, preheat the oven to 400F while you tie up the buns.
- Place your kitchen strings in the bowl of oil and submerge them entirely. Pull out the buns from the fridge.
- Squeeze the oil out of three of the strings. Carefully lift one of the buns (it may slightly deflate but just tenderly hold it from underneath), place the three strings under where the bun sat like a 6-spoke wheel so they cross in the center and the string halves are even.
- Set the bun back down so it’s centered on the string wheel spoke, then tie up the strings on top (I tie up the three strings separately).
- With scissors, cut off the excess string, leaving just a quarter-inch nub of string.
- Repeat with the rest of the buns.
- If you like the floured and scored look, sift flour over the buns after their strings are on, and then score with a razor blade or sharp knife as you wish (I detailed how to do the wheat scoring above).
- Bake for 45 minutes, then let cool for an hour. Then you can cut the strings and remove them. You can also brush off any excess flour from the top if there's too much.
- If you want to add stems, you can use parts of a cinnamon stick, or parts of a dried umeboshi plum as I did. Just cut it into pieces that look like a stem and stick it in the center of each bread. The less perfect the better. Enjoy!
Please rate my recipe below and leave a comment if you made these pumpkins! And if you like this recipe, check out my Sourdough Japanese Milk Bread recipe - it's just such a classic.
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