There are two kinds of people in the world: Those irritated at the arrival of pumpkin products well before the leaves change and those who can't get enough. I'm unashamedly in the latter category. In fact, I'm that person who stocks up on cans of the stuff, so I can make pumpkin cookies, muffins, and focaccia whenever the mood strikes, year-round.
Luckily just about the time my supply starts to get low, the pumpkin spice lattes, doughnuts, and air fresheners reappear.
So whenever you're in the mood for some fall flavors, raid your pumpkin stash and whip up a batch of pumpkin sourdough with cranberries. For a special treat, you can substitute chocolate chips for the cranberries, in case you're in training for Halloween candy time. (Use 85 grams, or 3/4 cup, semisweet or dark chocolate chips.)
The Importance of Proofing & Other Notes
Both the pumpkin and the cinnamon in the pumpkin pie spice mixture can inhibit the starter, so give the dough time to rise and proof completely. It starts off very ragged but quickly gets smooth and silky as you give it a few turns and folds. Add the cranberries (or chocolate if you wish, or both) after the first turn. Most dried cranberries seem to come pre-sweetened, so I don't add any additional sugar but give them a taste, and if your need more sweetness, add a teaspoon of white sugar (or honey) to the berries with the vanilla and spices.
What You Need to Make Cranberry Pumpkin Sourdough
- 75 grams (1/2 cup) active starter
- 250 grams (2 cups) room temperature water
- 187 grams (3/4 cup) pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
- 50 grams (1/4 cup) whole-wheat bread flour
- 150 grams (3/4 cup) all-purpose white flour (plus extra for shaping)
- 300 grams (1 ½ cups) bread flour
- 9 grams (1 ½ teaspoon) kosher salt
- Rice flour, for coating the banneton
- 85 grams (3/4 cup) dried cranberries
- 5 grams (1 teaspoon) vanilla extract
- 5 grams (1 teaspoon) pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon if you prefer)
- 14 grams (1 tablespoon) water
Related Reading: The Best Places to Buy Baking Ingredients Online
Step 1: Mix the Dough
Combine starter, water, and pumpkin puree. Add flours and salt and mix until the liquid is absorbed and forms a stiff dough. Cover and allow to rest for an hour.
While it rests, mix the cranberries, vanilla, and water. Microwave for 30 seconds and then add pumpkin pie spice. Allow cranberry mixture to cool.
Turn and fold the dough once. Add the cranberry mixture to the dough after the first fold; repeat turns and folds 3 more times (for 4 total). Cover and allow to bulk rise for 4-6 more hours (for a total of 6-8 hours) at room temperature until doubled in size.
Step 2: Shape and Proof the Dough
Generously coat your banneton with rice flour or line a bowl with a clean cotton towel and coat with rice flour or all-purpose flour. Gently scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a round (or your preferred banneton shape). Place in the banneton or bowl, and rest at room temperature for an hour or until puffy. Alternatively, you can refrigerate for a few hours until you're ready to bake.
Step 3: Bake the Loaf
Preheat your oven to 450° F. Turn out the bread onto parchment and score as you wish. Lower into your Dutch oven. Add a couple of ice cubes between the parchment and the pot to help make that crackly sourdough crust. Bake on a center rack for 30-35 minutes, remove the lid, and bake for an additional 5-7 minutes until the top is golden. Carefully remove the bread and parchment from the pot, take off the parchment, and return the bread to the oven for another 5-7 minutes to finish the sides, if needed.
Remove bread from oven when the whole loaf is a dark golden brown. Cool at least one hour before enjoying. This loaf will stay fresh at room temperature for a day or two; or slice and freeze for up to a month.
Step 4: Enjoy!
Serve this bread warmed and topped with butter, apple butter or pumpkin butter, or cream cheese. I also like to make a quick pumpkin spice spread with 4 ounces softened cream cheese, 1 teaspoon of pumpkin spice mixture, and a pinch of salt. For a sweeter spread, add a teaspoon or two of powdered sugar to taste.
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