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overhead of pumpkin shaped sourdough bread

Whole Wheat Sourdough Pumpkin Bread

Whole wheat and pumpkin sourdough bread with dried cranberries and pepitas easily formed into a festive pumpkin shaped loaf!  Perfect for breakfast or alongside a cozy fall meal.
Course breads
Cuisine American
Keyword pumpkin shaped bread, pumpkin sourdough, sourdough, whole wheat sourdough
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 12 slices
Calories 2299kcal
Author Lauren


  • 100 g starter fed and bubbly ½ cup
  • 295 g warm water (80-90°F) 1 ¼ cup
  • 7 g salt 1 teaspoon
  • 130 g pumpkin purée ½ cup
  • 250 g bread flour 2 cups + 1 tablespoon
  • 250 g whole wheat flour 2 cups + 1 tablespoon
  • 70 g dried cranberries ½ cup
  • 35 g raw pepitas/pumpkin seeds ¼ cup


  • Make the dough. In a medium bowl, use a fork to whisk together the water, starter, salt, and pumpkin purée until smooth.  Add the bread flour, whole wheat flour, dried cranberries, and pumpkin seeds.  Mix together until a rough, shaggy dough forms.  Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Form the dough. After the dough rests, form it into a ball by stretching four sides of the dough gently up and over the dough, one side at a time.  Using a lightly wet hand, pull one side of the dough away from the edge of the dough and gently stretch it up and over the remaining dough, pushing it slightly into the dough.  Repeat three more times.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp towel.
  • Stretch and folds.  After forming the dough, let the dough rest for 1 hour covered, then repeat the stretch and folds.  Cover and let the dough rest again for 1 hour, then repeat the stretch and folds one last time.
  • Bulk rise.  After the last stretch and fold series, cover the dough with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let the dough rest another 3 to 4 hours (for a total bulk rise of about 6 hours.). Depending on the temperature of your kitchen, this could take more or less time.  The dough should look about double in size and have a bit of bounce to it if poked with a finger.
  • Shape the dough.  Generously flour a medium bowl lined with a cotton or linen cloth or a bread basket, set aside.  Gently remove the dough from the bowl onto a lightly floured surface.  Very gently stretch and fold the four sides of the dough.  Using a bench scraper, flip the dough over, cover with a damp cloth and rest 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Using a bench scraper, flip the dough over again so the smooth side is facing the work surface.  If the dough is sticky, lightly flour your hands.  Cup your hands around the far side of the dough and pull it towards you in a circular motion.  You may find it easier to use a bench scraper to help you slightly move the dough while you shape it.  After shaping the dough, place it seam side up in the breadbasket/cloth-lined bowl.
  • Second rise.  Let the dough rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour or leave the dough in the fridge overnight.  Preheat the oven to 450°F with the dutch oven and lid inside.  Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the inside of your dutch oven with just enough space to lift into the pan.  I like to cut a parchment paper circle with narrow, longer pieces of two sides to use as handles, then smooth them out in the hot pan with tongs so they don’t affect the final shape of the dough.
  • Make the pumpkin shape.  Optional: Sprinkle the top of the loaf in the breadbasket with cornmeal (this will end up being the bottom once the dough is turned out.)  Cut 4 long pieces of kitchen string and place over the dough in the breadbasket.  Cover with parchment paper, then a cutting board or plate and gently flip over.  Tip: Just to be sure, I like to lightly pull the rested dough from the sides of the breadbasket before placing the strings to make sure it cleanly released once flipped.  After turning the dough out, sprinkle and lightly rub flour over the surface of the dough.  Tie the strings in the center of the dough with a little tension.  Cut any excess string.
  • Score the dough.  Use your own design or preference to score the dough.  To keep the pumpkin shape, don’t score too deep.
  • Bake the dough.  Remove the dutch oven from the oven and remove the lid - remember the lid will be super hot!  Carefully place the dough in the dutch oven.  Cover with the lid and bake at 450°F for 20 minutes.  Remove the lid and reduce the oven temperature to 425°F.  Bake for another 35-45 minutes until the center of the loaf reaches 205°F
  • Cool the dough.  The hardest part - carefully remove the dough from the dutch oven and let cool on a wire rack or cutting board for 1 hour before cutting for the best texture.  Cut and remove the kitchen string.  Add an inverted cashew or piece of cinnamon stick to the center of the dough for the stem of the pumpkin.  Slice and serve, my favorite way is with butter and honey!


  • Cups vs Grams:  For best results, weigh ALL your ingredients.  If you don't have a kitchen scale, use the spoon and level method of filling your measuring cups.
  • Starter amount: The higher amount of starter means the dough will rise faster.  Most sourdough loaf recipes call for 50g of starter for an 8 to 10 hours rise (usually for overnight counter bulk rise).  If this timing works better for you, reduce the amount of starter.  My preference is to let the dough rest in the fridge overnight for better oven spring and easier scoring.
  • Sample Baking Schedule A:
    • morning: feed starter
    • late afternoon: make dough when the starter is just before it peaks
    • evening: bulk rise and shape dough
    • overnight: second rise/rest in fridge
    • next morning: string, score, and bake
  • Sample Baking Schedule B:
    • morning: feed starter
    • late afternoon: make dough when the starter is just before it peaks
    • evening: bulk rise and shape dough
    • evening: second rise at room temperature
    • evening: string, score, and bake
  • Sample Baking Schedule C:
    • evening: feed starter
    • early morning: make dough when the starter is just before it peaks
    • morning: bulk rise and shape dough
    • afternoon: second rise at room temperature
    • afternoon: string, score, and bake
  • Plastic wrap or damp towel - I have found that plastic wrap works best for me.  Many sourdough bakers also use shower caps to cover their bowls.
  • Preheating. I have had my best results preheating the dutch oven and lid in the oven.  Also, letting the oven preheat longer than when it says it's ready.  Usually about 20 minutes.


Calories: 2299kcal | Carbohydrates: 452g | Protein: 78g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2750mg | Potassium: 1737mg | Fiber: 43g | Sugar: 52g | Vitamin A: 20265IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 190mg | Iron: 17mg