Pumpkin Sourdough

Pumpkin season never ends.

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It just snowed in Minnesota last weekend, IN THE MIDDLE OF FALL, which is just depressing, really. In an attempt to stay in the fall mood, I’ve just been baking everything pumpkin and pumpkin spice, which leads me to this guy here.

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The easiest way to cook a pumpkin is just to cut the pumpkin into wedges,  de-seed the pumpkin, microwave it, then scoop the flesh from the pumpkin. I suppose you could theoretically get more flavour if you roasted the pumpkin instead, but I was just too lazy for that ok.

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Since the pumpkin doesn’t contain gluten it was difficult to add the right amount of pumpkin such that the dough was easy to work with but still contained the pumpkin flavour. The proportions I used below was enough to give a strong colour to the boule, but was not quite enough that the bread tasted like pumpkin. More of a subtle flavour.

The pumpkin somehow managed to make the bread smell amazing though.

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I based the recipe off my previous sweet potato sourdough recipe, and used the method in my toasted millet sourdough recipe just because I think it gives a more flavourful bread. I just increased the baking time a little.

Ingredients

  • 135g sourdough starter (mine was at 100% hydration, see notes)
  • 80g wholemeal flour
  • 452g strong white flour
  • 400g water
  • 225g cooked pumpkin flesh
  • 13g salt

Method

The dough (the day before baking)

  1. Mix the flours and the water. Cover and let the dough autolyse (see notes) for about 2h.
  2. Then, add the starter to the dough and mix using the pincer and fold method. Leave for another 30 mins.
  3. Stretch and fold your dough. Leave for 30 mins.
  4. Add the cooked pumpkin flesh and salt to the dough. Mix using the pincer and fold method.
  5. Stretch and fold your dough an additional three times, leaving 30 mins before each stretch and fold.
  6. Cover and let the dough rise for an additional 6 hours.
  7. Shape the dough and transfer to a well-floured banneton.
  8. Cover and put in the fridge overnight.

Bake the bread

  1. Take the banneton out of the fridge and leave at room temperature for about an hour. Meanwhile, place your dutch oven in the oven and preheat to 260°C.
  2. After the hour, turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Take the dutch oven out of the oven. Carefully place the dough into the dutch oven, and score the dough. Cover and return the dutch oven to the oven.
  3. Bake the bread at 260°C for 30 mins with the lid of the dutch oven on.
  4. After 30 mins, take the lid off and reduce the temperature of the oven to 230°C. Bake for an additional 15 mins.
  5. Remove the dutch oven from the oven, and transfer the bread to a cooling rack.
  6. Let the bread cool for at least 1h before cutting.

Notes

  • You could use pumpkin from a can I guess, but I’ve always thought canned pumpkin smelt a bit weird.
  • My starter was at 100% hydration. If you have no idea what I’m talking about check out my previous recipe on classic white sourdough.
  • Autolysing just means letting your flour sit with the water before you add any salt or yeast. This is supposed to make the bread easier to handle and have better structure and taste since the flour absorbs the water or something. More here.
  • Turning and folding means you don’t knead the dough. It’s just an alternative method to build structure in the dough usually used for higher hydration sourdoughs, but it can be used for any bread really. Up to your personal preference.
  • Scoring helps direct the shape your bread will rise when baked. And it looks pretty.
  • If you don’t have a dutch oven, you can try baking it like I used to, for example in this recipe.
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Toasted Millet Porridge Sourdough

I finally got a Dutch oven, which has made a world of difference.

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Oven spring! And -dare I say- the hints of a ear opening up?

Gone are the days of finessing with a spray bottle like a savage. Now I just have to deal with 5 Seconds of Fear as I carefully lower the sourdough boule into hot cast iron.

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This sourdough is on the moist side since it contains porridge. Millet porridge to be exact, and putting it in bread is about the only time I’ll eat this grain despite its wide and varied purported health benefits. Although apparently millet porridge is a common Chinese dish, which is news to me and makes me question my Chinese heritage.

Toasting the millet gives the bread a nice nutty flavour. Also, millet is gluten-free but what do I care I’m putting it in bread.

I used one of the recipes here.

Ingredients

  • 225g whole wheat flour
  • 225g strong white bread flour
  • 175g toasted millet porridge (75g dry uncooked)
  • 325g + 35g water
  • 75g sourdough starter (mine is at 100% hydration, see notes)
  • 9g salt

Method

Make the porridge (2 days before baking)

  1. In a dry pan over medium heat, toast the 75g of millet until it smells good and you hear the occasional popping sound, stirring constantly. It took me longer than the 2-3 mins stated on the linked recipe.
  2. Transfer the millet to another bowl and add 1 cup of water. Cover and let sit overnight.
  3. Transfer the contents of the bowl to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Then, lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pan. Simmer for 20 mins.
  4. Bring the saucepan off the heat and leave the lid on for 10 additional mins.
  5. Fluff the porridge and cool.

Make the dough (the day before baking)

  1. Mix the flours and 325g of water. Cover and let the dough autolyse (see notes) for about 2h.
  2. Then, add the starter to the dough and mix using the pincer and fold method. Leave for another 30 mins.
  3. Stretch and fold your dough. Leave for 30 mins.
  4. Dissolve the salt in the remaining 35g of water and add to the dough. Also add the millet porridge. Mix using the pincer and fold method.
  5. Stretch and fold your dough an additional three times, leaving 30 mins before each stretch and fold.
  6. Cover and let the dough rise for an additional 6 hours.
  7. Shape the dough and transfer to a well-floured banneton.
  8. Cover and put in the fridge overnight.

Bake the bread

  1. Take the banneton out of the fridge and leave at room temperature for about an hour. Meanwhile, place your dutch oven in the oven (haha) and preheat to 260°C.
  2. After the hour, turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Take the dutch oven out of the oven. Carefully place the dough into the dutch oven, and score the dough. Cover and return the dutch oven to the oven.
  3. Bake the bread at 260°C for 30 mins with the lid of the dutch oven on.
  4. After 30 mins, take the lid off and reduce the temperature of the oven to 230°C. Bake for an additional 10 mins.
  5. Remove the dutch oven from the oven, and transfer the bread to a cooling rack.
  6. Let the bread cool for at least 1h before cutting.

Notes

  • My starter was at 100% hydration. This bread was about 80% hydration, although who knows what the real hydration is with the millet porridge. If you have no idea what I’m talking about check out my previous recipe on classic white sourdough.
  • Autolysing just means letting your flour sit with the water before you add any salt or yeast. This is supposed to make the bread easier to handle and have better structure and taste since the flour absorbs the water or something. More here.
  • Turning and folding means you don’t knead the dough. It’s just an alternative method to build structure in the dough usually used for higher hydration sourdoughs, but it can be used for any bread really. Up to your personal preference.
  • Scoring helps direct the shape your bread will rise when baked. And it looks pretty.
  • If you don’t have a dutch oven, you can try baking it like I used to, for example in this recipe.

Chocolate Sourdough with Walnuts and Raisins

My first sweet sourdough!

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I think that this is a bread that will satisfy both those who have a sweet tooth and those who don’t really like sweet things.

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The dough itself is on the bitter side because of the cocoa powder, but this also gives it a rich chocolate flavour. And of course you get the little pools of melted chocolate within which are to die for.

Chocolate Sourdough with Walnuts and Raisins (2)

And then you get the classic chocolate complement of aromatic, crunchy walnuts and plump, sweet raisins just to add a bit of textural variety to the bread.

I also don’t know why my crust looks purple.

Chocolate Sourdough with Walnuts and Raisins (1)

The crumb itself was really soft and moist. The crust is a little on the chewy side though, which was described in the original recipe as well. If you like your crust a little bit more crispy, a good toasting is the solution to all of your life’s problems.

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And when you toast it and add cream cheese? NEXT LEVEL.

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I got the recipe from here, but used my own timings.

Ingredients

  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 50g malted milk powder, optional (ie ovaltine, I just thought it’d taste good)
  • 50g sugar
  • 150g sourdough starter (mine was at 100% hydration, see notes)
  • 400g water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8g salt
  • 65g chopped walnuts
  • 65g raisins, soaked in water for at least an hour
  • 150g semi-sweet chocolate chips (see notes)

Method

  1. Mix the flour, cocoa powder, and sugar together. Then stir in the sourdough starter, water, and vanilla extract until well combined.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and autolyse for 1h (just let it sit).
  3. When the dough is done autolysing add the salt, chopped walnuts, raisins, and chocolate using the pinch and fold method.
  4. Stretch and fold your dough four times over the next 2 hours (so every 30 mins).
  5. Cover the dough and let rise in the fridge overnight.
  6. In the morning, turn your dough out into a well-floured banneton. Shape your dough by basically pulling the dough from the sides of the ball towards the center.
  7. Cover and let rise for about 2 hours.
  8. 15 mins before baking, preheat your oven to 260°C with a baking tray half-filled with water at the bottom of the oven to create a steam oven.
  9. Tip out your dough onto a lined baking tray. Score your bread if you want with either a bread lame or the sharpest knife in your kitchen.
  10. Place the bread in the steam oven. Mist the oven generously with a spray bottle to generate more steam. Bake at 260°C for 30 mins. Then reduce the temperature to 200°C and bake for 20 mins or until done. Bread is done when it is well browned and when you tap it it sounds hollow.
  11. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Notes

  • My starter was at 100% hydration. This bread was about 70% hydration. If you have no idea what I’m talking about check out my previous recipe on classic white sourdough.
  • I soak raisins beforehand so that they’d remain plump after baking.
  • Use chocolate chips not chopped chocolate. The original recipe source tried using chopped chocolate and it just melted into the dough, so you don’t get the pools of chocolate which is honestly the whole reason why you’re eating this bread in the first place.
  • Autolysing just means letting your flour sit with the water before you add any salt or yeast. This is supposed to make the bread easier to handle and have better structure and taste since the flour absorbs the water or something. More here.
  • Turning and folding means you don’t knead the dough. It’s just an alternative method to build structure in the dough usually used for higher hydration sourdoughs, but it can be used for any bread really. Up to your personal preference.
  • Scoring helps direct the shape your bread will rise when baked. And it looks pretty.

Blue Cheese, Mozzarella, Pear, Thyme, and Walnut Sourdough Pizza

A quick recipe this time!

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I just really like weird combinations of flavours that unexpectedly merge to form a beautiful friendship with mutual love and respect.

Blue cheese walnut mozarella thyme pear pizza

In this case it’s the Sweetness of Pear, Saltiness of Blue Cheese, Aroma of Thyme, and Crunch of Walnuts that really makes this a special pizza. And the Mildness of Mozzarella?

If the picture is missing thyme, it’s because I forgot it. I added it in subsequent reheatings of pizza though so I can vouch that it definitely tastes better with the thyme.

I made this using my standard sourdough pizza base recipe and got the idea from this reddit post.

Ingredients (makes 1 medium thin crust pizza)

  • 1/2 cup sourdough starter (mine was 100% hydration)
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 150g all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp instant yeast
  • Some walnuts, some pear (depending on the type of pear you use, you might need to pre-cook the pear to let it soften sufficiently first), blue cheese, mozzarella, thyme. Just however much you want really.

Method

  1. Mix the sourdough starter with the water, flour, salt, and yeast (make sure the salt and yeast are placed at opposite ends of the bowl).
  2. Knead until smooth and elastic. Grease the ball of dough and place in a greased container.
  3. Cover the container with cling film and leave to rise until doubled in size, about 2-4 hours.
  4. Coat a pan with olive oil. Flatten the dough onto the pan. Cover, and let rest for 15 mins. It will start to shrink back a little, just press the dough to the edges of the pan again.
  5. Cover and let the dough rise until it’s as thick as you like.
  6. Preheat your oven to 230°C. Bake the crust for 4-5 mins, then top and bake for an additional 8-10 mins or until the toppings are done as you like.
  7. Remove from the oven and loosen the edges of the pizza with a knife. Carefully lift it onto a cooling rack to keep the bottom crisp. Or you could just eat it straight away from the pan.

Notes

  • 100% hydration means my starter was equal parts flour and water by weight.
  • To see how I started my sourdough starter, see this post.

Sweet Potato Sourdough

When you think to yourself that normal bread just isn’t orange enough.

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This bread was a journey to bake. It starts off with baking off some sweet potatoes in the oven. Or rather baking it for 20 mins, then realising it’d cook faster in the microwave.

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This was the first sourdough I made after a 2 month break and woah was I out of touch.

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I didn’t flour the banneton well enough so the dough collapsed when I tried turning it out.

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So I tried saving it by placing it in my ratchet-ass “Dutch oven”… or basically my only oven-safe saucepan.

It worked quite well! It managed to rise despite the initial deflation. Like my spirits during the last examination. Unlike me after the examination however, the bread did not develop a crusty exterior. Probably because I forgot to heat up my “Dutch oven” first before putting the bread in it, and the lid was not tight at all so it couldn’t trap steam.

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There’s the crumb shot, don’t mind my hacking job with the knife. This dough was quite high hydration (although I have no idea how to calculate the percentages with sweet potato. Is sweet potato dry or wet?) so there’s quite large air bubbles. You could actually taste the sweet potato in the bread! Thought it made it a bit tastier.

I loosely based the recipe off this, but I used my own timings, and added some wholemeal flour. And mine was a sourdough. And I used orange sweet potato not purple sweet potato. The person who wrote the original recipe said her addition of purple sweet potato added a “faint and almost floral fragrance in the back-note” which is taking too much of an artistic liberty if you ask me. It just tastes like sweet potato, mate.

Ingredients

  • 135g sourdough starter (mine was at 100% hydration, see notes)
  • 80g wholemeal flour
  • 452g strong white flour
  • 400g water
  • 225g cooked sweet potato flesh (just microwave it it’s faster)
  • 13g salt

Method

  1. In a large bowl, mix the sourdough starter, flours, and water. Cover with plastic wrap and let it autolyse (see notes) for 30 mins.
  2. After 30 mins, add the sweet potato flesh and salt. Mix using the pincer method.
  3. Stretch and fold your dough for about 5 mins or until the dough starts to develop some elasticity. Then stretch and fold 4 times over the next hour (every 15 mins).
  4. Cover the dough and let it rise in the fridge overnight.
  5. In the morning, place the dough into your banneton (flour very well before use, this dough is quite sticky). Shape your dough by basically pulling the dough from the sides of the ball towards the center.
  6. Cover and let rise for about 2 hours or until slightly increased in size.
  7. If not using a Dutch oven (as I’d planned),
    • 15 mins before baking, preheat your oven to 260°C with a baking tray half-filled with water at the bottom of the oven to create a steam oven.
      Tip out your dough onto a lined baking tray.
    • Score your bread if you want with either a bread lame or the sharpest knife in your kitchen.
    • Place the bread in the steam oven. Mist the oven generously with a spray bottle to generate more steam.
    • Bake at 260°C for 30 mins. Then reduce the temperature to 200°C and bake for 20 mins or until done. Bread is done when it is well browned and when you tap it it sounds hollow
  8. If using a Dutch oven (as I sort of did),
    • 30 mins before baking, preheat your oven to 260°C and place a Dutch oven in the oven while it preheats.
    • When the dough is ready, tip out onto some baking paper. Use the baking paper to help carefully lower your dough into the Dutch oven. Score the bread if you want.
    • Cover and bake for 30 mins, then remove the lid and bake for about 15 mins.
  9. Let bread cool about 15 mins before cutting into it.

Notes

  • My starter was at 100% hydration. Basically means equal weight of flour and water. If you have no idea what I’m talking about check out my previous recipe on classic white sourdough.
  • Autolysing just means letting your flour sit with the water before you add any salt or yeast. This is supposed to make the bread easier to handle and have better structure and taste since the flour absorbs the water or something. More here.
  • Turning and folding means you don’t knead the dough. It’s just an alternative method to build structure in the dough usually used for higher hydration sourdoughs, but it can be used for any bread really. Up to your personal preference.
  • Scoring helps direct the shape your bread will rise when baked. And it looks pretty. But my sourdough was so collapsed from my banneton mishap that I didn’t want to score it.