Perfect autumn treat: Sourdough pumpkin rolls

Not many words are needed in the autumn. The nature keeps transforming with each moment, serving us with stunning landscapes and the last produce in its humble yet powerful way. It's moving inwards. To reflect, to rest and to build up again for the next season.

Not many words are needed for these pumpkin sourdough rolls either. All we need to do is to let the flour, water, salt and pumpkin transform into bread and then simply turn inwards and enjoy every bite of it. Pumpkin orange will give you energy and the soft crumb will make it perfect for fresh butter and soothing honey. All that is needed is a cup of tea, a cozy chair and a blanket  to swing ourselves towards our time to reflect, to rest and to build up for the next day.

Let's do it.

Pumpkin sourdough rolls

Pumpkin sourdough rolls
Yields: 12 big rolls baked in the 24 cm (9 1/2 in) pan

Baking schedule:
Starter for these pumpkin sourdough rolls was prepared in the evening and left to ferment overnight. The dough was mixed in the morning, left to rise for the first time for 2.5 hours, then shaped into rolls which then rised for another 2.5 hours until being ready for the oven.

Ingredients:

Starter
200 g water
200 g white wheat flour (bread flour)
1 tablespoon of your active sourdough starter (I used rye starter)

Dough
380 g mashed baked pumpkin (I used hokkaido pumpkin) - * see the note below
300 g white wheat flour (bread flour)
100 g whole grain spelt flour
150 g water
10 g salt

Other
Bran for coating rolls
Butter for greasing the pan
10 ice cubes to create steam in the first minutes of baking

* My mashed baked hokkaido was very dry. If you use other pumpkin like butternut or even a canned pumpkin puree, make sure to pay attention to the hydration level of the dough. Butternut and canned puree tend to be quite moist, so you will probably have to add more flour if keeping the same water level as in the recipe.

Instructions:

1. In the evening, prepare your starter. Mix 200 g of white wheat flour (bread flour), 200 g water and 1 tablespoon of your active starter. Cover and leave to ferment overnight until nicely puffed and bubbly (see the photo below).

2. In the morning, first prepare the pumpkin puree. Cut the pumpkin into small cubes and bake them at 230°C (446°F) until nicely soft. Smash the pieces with a fork, set aside and let it cool. If you see any large pieces of the baked skin, remove them.

3. Add all the flour and water to the starter. Mix thoroughly and let it rest for 20 minutes. The consistency of the dough should be more on a stiff side but still soft and easy to knead. After 20 minutes add salt and pumpkin puree and knead them both well into the dough. If your dough is too stiff, add little bit of water.

Pumpkin sourdough rolls

Left: Starter ready to be used. Right: Kneading mashed baked pumpkin into dough.

4. Leave the dough to rise until nicely puffed (see the right photo below) or almost doubled in volume. My dough needed 2.5 hours at the room temperature, yours might need less or more, depending on the temperature in your kitchen. It is important that in this step the dough develops gluten strands and becomes aerated and strong. As there is larger quantity of the starter and whole grain spelt flour in the dough, it is expected for the dough to rise fast.

Pumpkin sourdough rolls

Left: Kneaded dough. Right: Dough after first rise, ready to be shaped into rolls.

5. Use your plastic dough scraper and take the dough to a clean working surface. In the next step you will divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. You can do this visually or you can weigh the dough and then divide the weight by 12 to see how much each piece should weigh. I chose the later option. My dough weighed app. 1380 g, so each piece was around 115 g.

6. Preshape each piece of the dough into ball and let them rest for 10 minutes. In the meantime, prepare you pan - grease it with butter and dust it with any of the whole grain flour or even with bran to give it nice coating which will prevent the rolls from sticking to the pan.

7. Shape each piece of dough into roll (make sure you create some tension of the surface) and roll it in the bran. Place the roll into pan. When done with all 12 pieces, cover the pan with a kitchen towel and let the rolls rise until puffed. My rolls needed 2.5 hours. Use the poking test to see if and when the rolls are ready to be put in the oven. Make an indent into the dough with your index finger and observe how the dough reacts. If the indent comes back quickly, leave the dough to rise longer. If the indent springs back slowly, your rolls are ready.

Pumpkin sourdough rolls

Left: Shaped rolls. Right: Perfectly proofed rolls.

Pumpkin sourdough rolls

8. At least 30 minutes before the rolls are ready to be put in the oven, preheat your oven and a separate baking tray (that you put on the lower rack of the oven) to the highest temperature of your oven.

9. When ready, load the pan with rolls into oven. Throw 10 ice cubes on a baking tray, close the oven door and lower the temperature to 230°C (446°F). Bake for 20 minutes, then lower the temperature to 200°C (392°F). Bake for another 30 minutes or until the crust gets beautifully dark. When baked, take the rolls out of the pan completely (in one piece!), let it cool on a cooling rack for at least 1 hour before tearing.

Pumpkin sourdough rolls

Serve with homemade butter (check how to make it here) and honey.

Pumpkin sourdough rolls

14 thoughts on “Perfect autumn treat: Sourdough pumpkin rolls

    1. Theodora,
      Thank you so much, I’m so happy you like it! :)

      Feel yourself like home and if you need any help with any recipe, just let me know ;)

      Nataša

    1. :) Lea, that’s a great idea and I think you can make any version – sweet or savory, just like with the twists :)
      Your friends must be very lucky to have a friend like you!

      Nataša

  1. Worked out great. Loved the recipe and instructions. I did not have a round pan big enough so also used a loaf pan as well…. When I baked the pumpkin I added some cinnamon also.

  2. Hi Natasa, Wow these look amazing!
    I have been enjoying trying out some of your bread recipe – although slightly adapted with the ingredients I can get. We rarely weigh ingredients in New Zealand but I am finding how valuable this is for making bread. Thanks for sharing your passion and knowledge.
    Nicola x

    1. Hi Nicola
      I am from NZ too. I have been only sourdough baking for a few months but love it. Since doing sourdough courses I always weigh ingredients for my breads. This recipe is really good and great instructions so you can bake buns for dinner! I gave some to a neighbour who said his family gave them 100% approval!

    2. Thank you Nicola, I’m so happy to see you here :)

      Yes, freestyling can be fun from time to time, but as you say, weighing ingredients is a key to consistant baking (or to avoid having chiabatta instead of boule).
      For me it is also easier to put ingredients in grams so that everyone can try the recipe, regardless of where they live. When using cups there can be difficulties as flours are different and weight therefore varies as well and volume of cups is different around the world too :)

      Happy sourdough baking! Looking forward to see your breads in the future.

      Regards to New Zealand!
      Natasa

  3. I made this on the weekend. Your photos are so very helpful. My first loaf using just a starter to rise. Pretty exciting stuff. Thank you. Happy bread times.
    :D

  4. Hi Natasa:

    Great looking bread with such easy to follow instructions. Very inspiring. Making this now the pumpkins at in the store.

  5. Hello, Hatasa.
    Today I tryed to make this sourdough pumpkin rolls. I used butternut squash. It was very dry, but in the end my dought was very liquid. Very liquid. It looked like chiabatta dought.
    Maybe something wrong in proportions? Because in recipe 730 gramm liquid ingredients and only 600 gramm dry ingredients. It’s mean that dough humidity is very high.

  6. Hi There

    I have been making a pumpkin sourdough for a while now, I like the above recipe and thought I’d share mine if you like?
    I go by a bakers percentage if thats ok

    85% White bakers flour
    15% Dark Bavarian rye
    45% Butternut pumpkin mash (steamed, mashed and cooled)
    32% Water
    10% Starter culture (mixed at 100% hydration)
    2% Salt

    I am idea rich but time poor most days so I just through everything in the bowl and mix, it might be a little dry so keep the water handy. The starter culture is a low % as I leave it over-night by the fireplace, shape it early in the morning and leave it for my wife to bake after she drops the kids off at school (its like ships passing in the night sometimes!). I normally stretch and fold in the bowl at least twice, preferably 4-5 times. I normally make a 750g (total flour) loaf which will mysteriously disappear within a day. I have put sunflower seeds with this recipe and it adds a nice flavour to the already tasty bread. Baking is preheated to 230deg C, 30 min in a cast iron pot with lid, ~20min with the lid off
    Happy baking
    Dave

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