The ultimate seasonal centerpiece, our Pumpkin Sourdough Loaf is full of wonderfully festive flavors and irresistible charm. Baked in the Le Creuset Bread Oven, there’s simply not another bake more seasonally inspired than this. Pumpkin not only flavors the bread but also enriches and hydrates the dough to create a loaf with a soft crumb and delicately crisp crust. Accented with pumpkin pie spice, this sourdough loaf is full of subtle layers of flavor. Plus, Le Creuset’s legendary cast iron delivers superior heat distribution and retention while its domed lid ensures excellent steam-trapping power and maximum rise. Shaped with twine and artfully scored, this beautifully shaped bread is the ultimate showstopping bake.
The Le Creuset Bread Oven will make all your bread-baking a little extra special. Oven-safe up to 500°F; easy-to-clean durable porcelain enamel that resists dulling, staining, chipping, and cracking; and unmatched in heat and steam distribution without hot spots, this expertly crafted piece is sure to be bakers’ new best friend. With the Le Creuset Bread Oven, a crisp crust and delicate, airy crumb are easier to achieve than ever before. It’ll feel like an heirloom piece from the day you start baking with it, and a staple of all your bread-baking memories for generations to come.
- 2 tablespoons (33 grams) levain
- ½ cup (120 grams) lukewarm water (85°F/29°C to 90°F/32°C)
- ¾ cup (95 grams) bread flour
- 3 tablespoons (24 grams) whole wheat flour
- 3 cups (381 grams) bread flour
- ½ cup (63 grams) whole wheat flour
- 1½ teaspoons (3 grams) pumpkin pie spice
- 1 cup (244 grams) canned pumpkin
- ⅓ to ½ cup (80 to 120 grams) lukewarm water (85°F/29°C to 90°F/32°C)
- 1 tablespoon (9 grams) kosher salt
- ½ cup (134 grams) levain
- Semolina flour, for dusting
- In a medium bowl, place 2 tablespoons (33 grams) levain. Add ½ cup (120 grams) lukewarm water. Add flours, and stir thoroughly with spoon or hands until smooth and no dry bits of flour remain. Loosely cover and let stand at room temperature overnight (or for 8 to 12 hours before you plan to use).
- For dough: In a large bowl, stir together flours and pie spice. Add canned pumpkin and ⅓ cup (80 grams) water, and stir until a rough dough forms. Knead in bowl until no dry bits remain, 30 seconds to 1 minute. (If dough isn’t coming together after 30 seconds, slowly add remaining water, 1 tablespoon [15 grams] at a time, until flour is hydrated but isn’t super sticky. How much water you use will depend on the humidity at the time of mixing. Dough will not be smooth.) Cover and let stand (so flours can hydrate) for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Sprinkle dough with salt. Add ½ cup (134 grams) levain. (See Notes.) Using your hand, pinch and squeeze dough (this is not kneading) to help incorporate levain into dough until cohesive and uniform in texture, about 3 minutes. (Dough will not be smooth.)
- Cover dough, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) for 1 hour and 20 minutes, folding dough in bowl every 20 minutes. (To complete a fold, grab underside of dough, stretch it up, and fold it to center of dough. Do this 4 times around the bowl and then turn dough over so folds are facing down.) (At the end of folding, dough will be smooth and elastic and pass the windowpane test; see Notes.) Let rise until doubled in size, dough jiggles when bowl is tapped lightly, and dough passes finger dent test, 1½ to 2½ hours. (See Notes.)
- For final shape, turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Using your fingertips, gently press dough into a 1-inch-thick circle. Stretch out bottom third of circle, and fold to center. Stretch right side out, and fold right third over to center; repeat with left side. Finish by folding top third over previous folds. Roll dough away from you to seam side down, and using both hands, cup dough and pull it toward you to seal. Rotate dough 90 degrees, and pull again until a tight, smooth boule forms, 5 to 7 times. Place, seam side up, in a banneton (proofing basket) or a small bowl lined with a kitchen towel heavily dusted with bread flour. Loosely cover dough with towel, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until puffed, dough jiggles when bowl is tapped lightly, and dough passes finger dent test, 1½ hours to 2½ hours. (See Notes; alternatively, cover and refrigerate to cold-ferment overnight. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before baking.)
- Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).
- Cut 4 (24-inch) long strings of butcher’s twine. Lay them in a star formation over base of Le Creuset Bread Oven. Dust dough with semolina flour; carefully place dough on top of strings, rearranging them as needed.
- Making sure strings are equidistant, wrap each piece of string around loaf from bottom to top, and tie in center of top. Cut off excess strings. Using a lame or sharp paring knife, score dough in a leaf pattern in each section between strings. Cover base with lid, and place in oven.
- Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until deep golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 205°F (96°C) to 210°F (99°C), 15 to 20 minutes more. Immediately remove loaf from Bread Oven, and let cool completely on a wire rack. Cut off strings before serving.
To use the windowpane test to check dough for proper gluten development, lightly flour hands and pinch off (don’t tear) a small piece of dough. Slowly pull the dough out from the center. If the dough is ready, you will be able to stretch it until it’s thin and translucent like a windowpane. If the dough tears, it’s not quite ready. Let stand for 20 minutes, perform another fold, and test again.
To use the finger dent test, lightly flour the surface of the dough, and gently press your finger about ½ inch into the surface. If your dough has properly fermented, you should be able to watch the dough spring back slightly but still show an indentation. If the dent disappears, the dough is underproofed and needs more time.
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