Just like Cinderella's carriage at midnight, everything in my kitchen turns into pumpkins at the stroke of fall each year. And this season, thanks to TikTok, my list of pumpkin-filled dishes to try is shaping up to be better than ever before. The first recipe on my list is this pumpkin-shaped sourdough loaf shared by TikTok user Cottage Loaves. Using butcher's twine, a cinnamon stick, and delicate slicing down the sides, this recipe is a crafty way of turning a simple sourdough into edible home décor that I'm sure will be adorning my dinner table and kitchen counters all season long. Seriously, this recipe is everything my fall-loving foodie soul could ask for, and I'm sure it will be a staple in my kitchen for many years to come.
This recipe for sourdough takes only one day from "starter" to finish, and it should be relatively easy for beginners to follow in comparison to traditional sourdough recipes, which typically call for a series of calculated steps over a long period of time to yield a perfect loaf. Instead, this pumpkin-spice dough requires just 10 minutes of traditional kneading, a few "stretch and fold" kneads, a few periods of rest in between, and a quick shaping into a boule before it can be tied up with butcher's twine to resemble a pumpkin. If this is your first time making sourdough, I recommend watching at least one video of the kneading and shaping methods shown ahead for better clarity on both of these processes.
To make this pumpkin-spice sourdough loaf, start by mixing together some fed starter (after letting it rest for 6-8 hours), and water until fully combined, then incorporate the flour and pumpkin pie spice. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth, and let it rest for 30-45 minutes.
After the dough has rested, wet your fingers with filtered water, and knead in the bowl for 10 minutes to strengthen the gluten. Cover again, and let it rest for 10 additional minutes.
Once the dough has rested, wet your fingers again, add salt, and pull the dough up from underneath and away from the bowl until one side has lifted up off the bowl.
Tuck the lifted side underneath the ball of dough, turn the bowl, and repeat on the opposite side. Turn the bowl again, and repeat this step with the two sides that remain unfolded.
Cover and allow the dough to rest for one hour before repeating another round of stretch and folds. Cover again, and let rest for another hour, or until the dough has doubled in size (this can take up to a few hours depending on how cold it is in your kitchen).
When the dough has doubled in size, do one more round of stretch and folds before rolling it top side down onto a floured surface.
Form the dough into a big ball, weigh it, then cut it into two equal dough mounds.
Preshape your dough balls into boules, and let them rest on the counter covered for a few minutes before doing a final shaping. Once your dough balls have rested, turn one out onto a floured surface, so that the smooth top of the preshaped dough is now on the bottom, and the seam, or sticky side of the dough, is facing upwards.
Fold the dough onto itself, so that all the sticky areas are tucked away into the loaf, and you are left with a smooth, round boule.
Place the boule seam side up in a bowl lined with a floured kitchen towel, and let it rest for an hour, or until it is about one-and-a-half times bigger (not doubled). Once the boule has rested, dust the top generously with flour, and align eight strands of butcher's twine across the top of the bowl, as pictured ahead.
Carefully turn the bowl upside down onto a piece of parchment paper, so that the soft side of the dough is resting on top of the pieces of string. Dust the exposed side of the dough generously with flour
Begin tying each string of butcher's twine to itself across the top of the boule.
Cut off any excess twine.
Using a small, sharp knife or blade, slice a few lines down each segment of the pumpkin to create additional texture.
Place in a preheated Dutch oven, cover, and put in the oven for 25 minutes. Then remove the cover, and return to the oven for an additional 15-17 minutes.
Allow the loaves to cool completely before removing the string and adding cinnamon sticks to the center.
Do not use flour to knead or handle the dough until it is time to preshape it. Until then, wet your hands with filtered water when handling the dough to prevent sticking.
- For the Starter
2 ounces active sourdough starter
1/4 cup water, filtered
1/4 cup flour
- For the Dough
1 1/4 cups filtered water
4 cups all-purpose or bread flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- For the Shaping
1/2 cup flour + 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- In a small glass container, whisk starter with water until thoroughly combined.
- Add flour to the water and starter mixture, stirring with a fork or your hands until the ingredients are just fully incorporated.
- Cover and set on the counter for about 12 hours, or until the starter has doubled in size.
- When the starter has doubled, mix in the water required for the dough recipe until the starter has dissolved, then add the rest of the flour and pumpkin spice seasoning. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rest for 30-45 minutes.
- After resting, wet your hands and knead the dough in the bowl for 10 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes.
- Once the dough has rested, add salt, then stretch and fold at least twice.
Cover again, and let rest for an hour.
- Repeat another round of stretch and folds, then cover again and rest for an hour (rest time can vary depending on your kitchen temperature).
- When the dough is about 1.5 times its size, carefully remove it from the bowl, place on a lightly floured countertop, and form it into a ball.
- Weigh the ball of dough, and divide it into two equal parts.
- Preshape your dough balls into boules, and let rest for a few minutes before doing a final shaping.
- Once the preshaped mound has rested, carefully pick it up from the surface using a bench scraper and turn it upside down onto a floured countertop, so that the smooth side of the dough is down and the sticky side is facing up.
- With well-floured hands, lightly knead the dough by tucking the sides in and rolling it onto itself until a smooth ball of dough has formed.
- Line a clean bowl with a clean kitchen towel, and dust the inside generously with flour.
- Carefully transfer the kneaded dough into the floured bowl seam side up, and cover with a new kitchen towel.
- Place bowl in a draft-free location and allow to rest for another hour until it has increased to about 1.5 times its size.
- While the dough is proofing, or resting for its final rise before baking, cut butcher’s twine into four 24-inch pieces.
- Once the dough has finished its proof, preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Place a Dutch oven or heavy-bottom pot with a heat-safe lid in the oven to heat up while you prepare your bread for baking.
- In the proofing bowl, dust the top of the dough lightly with flour.
- Lay eight pieces of butcher’s twine over the top of the bowl, so that there are eight equal segments, like a pizza.
- Carefully turn the bowl, including the twine, upside down onto a piece of parchment paper, so that the dough is now resting on top of the twine.
- Dust the exposed side of the dough generously with flour.
- Tie each segment of the butcher’s twine with the segment directly across from it, with the knot in the center, facing you. Cut any excess string.
- Using a sharp knife or blade, gently slice small lines down each segment of dough, as seen in the above photos.
- Carefully remove the preheated pot from the oven, and place both the parchment paper and the dough inside (move the dough by carrying parchment paper, not by picking it up with your hands or bench scraper). Cover with a lid, and place back in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
- Remove the lid, and bake for another 15-17 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. You can also use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of the bread. If it has reached 208°F (97°C), it is done.
- Remove the bread from the oven, and allow to cool completely before removing twine.
- When the bread is fully cooled, place a cinnamon stick in the center, and cut into segments for easy serving.
- Appetizers, Breads/Crackers
- 2 Small Loaves
- Prep Time
- 12 hours
- Cook Time
- 40 minutes
- Total Time
- 12 hours, 39 minutes, 59 seconds