Pumpkin sourdough bread

With the arrival of autumn, long evenings, and ripe pumpkins, I have prepared another bread recipe for you. All you need is a rye sourdough starter and a cute pumpkin. The pumpkin adds softness to the bread (similar to potatoes in potato bread), increases its nutritional value, and thanks to the sugars contained in the pulp of orange pumpkins, the bread crust will be beautifully golden-brown and caramelized. I recommend you to use dark orange-fleshed pumpkins for this recipe. Jarrahdale pumpkin or Red Kuri squash work the best for me.

In the recipe, you are supposed to use pumpkin puree. You can prepare this very easily yourself, almost effortlessly, by baking the pumpkin at 220°C for about 25 minutes (depending on how big pieces you cut). Then just separate the pumpkin from its peel, if you used a Jarrahdale pumpkin, like me in the recipe. Red Kuri squash has a fine skin and after baking, you can use it completely with ease 🙂 Further, just mash the beautifully caramelized pumpkin with a fork and your puree is ready. It will last for a while in the refrigerator, but I admit that it never survives long in mine. Use it for cream soup, muffins, or just eat it as it is. It’s a great treat. Each pumpkin contains a slightly different amount of water, so in this recipe, I list the approximate amount of puree you need to prepare this bread. The dough should be sticky but compact after kneading. For beginners, I recommend using the lower amount of puree. So let’s get started 😉

The beautiful orange pulp of a Jarrahdale pumpkin
The beautiful orange pulp of a Jarrahdale pumpkin

8-10h levain + 6h fermentation 12°C + 12-24h fermentation 4°C 

35min baking

A small, ca 750 g loaf of bread


  • 150 g             rye leaven (30 g rye starter, 60 g whole rye flour, 60 g water)
  • 260 – 290 g pumpkin puree from Jarrahdale pumpkin
  • 280 g           wheat flour, finely ground
  • 50 g              whole wheat flour
  •   8 g              salt

Mix the leaven with pumpkin puree, flour, and salt. Yes, you see it correctly, I haven’t forgotten about the water, we really don’t need any additional water except for the water contained in the pumpkin.


Knead for a couple of minutes until you get a slightly sticky dough. If you have any walnuts on hand, feel free to chop a handful and add them into the dough (about 30 g). If you have opted for bread with a higher puree content, I recommend continuing to ferment the bread in cold (fridge, cool balcony, etc.). Working with the sticky dough becomes easier and as I have mentioned in several previous articles, longer cold fermentation will only benefit your dough and the resulting bread will taste better. My dough has risen for about 6 hours at 12°C on the balcony 🙂 In between, I mixed it a few times by stretching and folding from side to side. When you have time for it, do it as well. The dough will be stretchy and easier to manage in the end. At room temperature, the dough should rise for a max of 2-3 hours. Then roll it on a floured surface into a round banneton and leave to ferment ideally in the refrigerator overnight (at least 12 hours) until the dough fills the banneton or doubles its volume.

Pumpkin puree before mixing into dough
Pumpkin puree before mixing into the dough

Proper proofing is important in this recipe if you want to bake your bread in the shape of a pumpkin according to our photo guide 🙂 You simply flip the bread out of the banneton and take 4 food twines, which you will tie around the bread (see slideshow below). You can decorate your bread by scoring and put it into a preheated oven to 250°C. Bake for 15 minutes and after venting out the oven, reduce the temperature to 200°C. Bake for 17 – 20 minutes more, until the gets golden-brown. Long live the pumpkins!

The finished bread, still with twines
The finished bread, still with twines
The orange breadcrumb and the pumpkin in its full beauty
The orange breadcrumb and the pumpkin in its full beauty


Martina Hason

I have always been a highly curious person, who wants to understand everything. Probably that’s why I decided to study biology at the level of cells and molecules. The world around us is amazing and I try to comprehend and enjoy it to the fullest. I have to admit that my passion for food has always been there too, but I have never cooked myself so much. Not until I realized how relaxing it actually is for me to run around the kitchen and that home-cooked meals are also good for our health. I’m soothed by my mother’s traditional dishes on the other side I’m fascinated by all the colors, smells and tastes of exotic food and I love international cuisine. Another reason for my next passion, namely travelling, which enables me to try new dishes and to get inspiration. I hope you will enjoy our recipes!

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