Pumpkin, turmeric and cardamom sourdough

So many flavours, so little time!

But mostly pumpkin.

(Skip to the bottom of this post for tips on some great fall pairings that work in bread!)


Pumpkin goes in everything. Pumpkin ice cream, lattes, pasta and yes, even bread. But this isn’t just pumpkin bread, and that deep yellow colour? That, my friends, comes from turmeric. Besides being a neat yellow dye, turmeric is apparently pretty good for you (antioxidants and whatnot), and also gives the bread a mellow and earthy flavour, which is complimented nicely by the third and final add-in to this bread, cardamom.

Okay, it’s possible that I went overboard with the flavours here, but you bake and you learn, right?

One lesson learned, for example, was that when using overly pungent spices (like the cardamom), a little goes a long way, even when you’re making a big batch of bread.

Besides the flavours, this is just my standard pain au levain (rustic sourdough) with a bit more whole wheat than normal, but still only about 20% TFW. If you’ve seen my last few posts, you’ll know that unless I get a recipe here, my recipes come from Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day.


Fall Flavour Pairings

As opposed to summer, where there’s almost too many flavours, and spring, where flavours can be more delicate, in fall and winter we get to use bolder flavours that are intense enough to be paired up in all sorts of combinations without losing their attraction.

Some great fall and winter breads that I’ve tired in the past include;

  • Pumpkin, Turmeric and Cardamom (a little cardamom goes a long way, careful not to overdo it. On the other hand, be generous with your turmeric. Fresh, roasted and pureed pumpkin is ideal, but a massive pain. I used one can of 100% pure organic pumpkin puree).
  • Roasted Butternut Squash and Maple Syrup (the trick is to roast the squash with maple syrup drizzled over it, and to use the best quality maple syrup you can find).
  • Halloumi (grilled or fried, and cut into small chunks) and leek (or green onion).
  • Dark Chocolate (yes, it’s a savoury bread! Aside from a bit of honey to keep the gluten lubricated, there’s no sweeteners here).
  • Sage, thyme and raw pumpkin seeds (this one does really well with a bit more whole wheat, and tastes like you’re eating bread made of stuffing. In other words, perfection).
  • Seeds! Mix and match. Pumpkin seeds, hulled sunflower seeds, flax, sesame, you name it. Both Jeffrey Hamelman’s “Bread” and Reinhart’s book linked above, have great multi-seed breads).
  • Similarly, experiment with some heavier grains like rye, spelt, kamut, and of course whole wheat. Consider adding vital wheat gluten (sometimes called gluten flour, and available at Bulk Barn), if you’re using more than 30% TFW of a non-wheat flour.

Formula for the Litibaker’s Pumpkin, Turmeric and Cardamom Sourdough

(as always, the formula assumes a 75% hydration starter. If your starter isn’t 75% hydration, adjust accordingly!)


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