Saturday, September 22, 2012

Pumpkin Chai Sourdough Bread

Ah, Fall.

The days are getting shorter, the air is getting cooler... puts me in the mood to curl up on the couch with a cup of some hot beverage and something delicious baked with pumpkin.

So when I saw this post for a pumpkin coffee sourdough bread, it sounded like the perfect way to ring in the new season!

I made a couple of minor changes. The first of which was to change up the liquid. While coffee is good, I prefer a yummy chai latte, so I used that instead.

I then mixed up the dough as directed - a firm starter (that had been prepared the night before, using my regular starter and a specific proportion of water and flour) and pumpkin puree...

...was combined with the cooled chai, additional flour and some salt.

And when I say the ingredients are combined, I mean that literally. Simple stir it all together with a wooden spoon until the flour is incorporated.

This dough is then a result of quick, rough kneading and plenty of waiting. But as a result of the minimal handling and ample time, the dough turns from this...

...into this.

I then rested my dough overnight in the refrigerator, and then pulled it from the fridge first thing in the morning to take the chill off of it.

Once the dough came back to room temperature, I divided it in two and shaped my loaves.  With one loaf, I tried to create a more classic look, pulling the dough to create some surface tension.  For the other, I decided to just see where the dough wanted to go, and it came out a little bit swirly looking.

And then came the other minor modification that I made. You see, most sourdough breads, immediately prior to going into the oven are floured and then slashed with a sharp knife.  For this bread, I chose to skip the flour and dust the tops with cinnamon sugar prior to slashing them.

And after about half an hour in a super hot oven, I saw that that decision was a pretty good one.

Not only did the bread smell delicious, the cinnamon sugar made the bread look glittery!

And the best part?

The bread tasted delicious. Sourdough richness, chai flavor, cinnamon sugar sweetness, and it was beautifully soft with a delicious chew.

So far it's made a delicious snack, yummy side, slathered in butter, and an awesome lunch, made into a grilled cheese. I can't wait to try it as French toast.

And to make it again.

Pumpkin Chai Sourdough Bread
(only slightly adapted from nadira2100's post on The Fresh Loaf)

For the firm starter:
2/3 cup sourdough starter (100% hydration)
4.5 oz. bread flour
1/4 cup water

Mix these together and let ferment at room temperature for 4 hrs. Refrigerate overnight. (or even up to a few days).

For the bread:
All of the firm starter
20.5 oz bread flour
1 3/4 cups prepared chai latte beverage, cooled
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 teaspoon salt

Let the firm starter rest at room temperature for 1 hr to take off the chill.
Mix together the starter with the bread flour, coffee, salt and pumpkin until a shaggy dough ball forms.
Let rest for 20min before turning out on a well floured surface.
Perform 4-5 stretch and folds, then place in a well oiled bowl for 15min.
Stretch and fold 3 times. The rest for 15 min. Repeat 2 more times, then let the dough rest at room temperature for 3 hrs. I left the house at this point to meet a friend for margaritas. 3 hrs later it had tripled in volume.
Divide the dough in half and pre-shape into boules. Let rest for 20 min before the final shaping. I made a spiral boule out of 1 and proofed the other in a banneton. After shaping, I stuck these in the fridge overnight.
Preheat the oven to 500 and take out the dough 1 hr before baking.
Score and bake with steam for 2 min. Then drop the temp to 450 and continue baking for another 8 min. Rotate the bread, and bake for another 10-15min or until golden brown.
Allow to cool completely before cutting.



  1. I really like the flavors and the idea of this bread. Very inspiring!

  2. BEAUTIFUL!!! I change my mind, you totally need to mail me a loaf! LOL. The cinnamon and sugar was a brilliant idea on top, your crust is simply gorgeous! Great slashing job, too!

  3. Oooohhh... french toast out of that? We will be there for breakfast!

  4. Beautiful loaves with delicious flavours! Love the look of the cinnamon sugar on top!


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