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
Yields: 12 big rolls baked in the 24 cm (9 1/2 in) pan
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.
200 g water
200 g white wheat flour (bread flour)
1 tablespoon of your active sourdough starter (I used rye starter)
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Serve with homemade butter (check how to make it here) and honey.