Can I use this recipe for a bread maker?
Yes you can! We used to make bread using our bread making maching, until it broke. Then we went back to kneading by hand. So you can do it both ways.
We found out that by kneading by hand, we are getting better results, as we are more in control. We usually keep kneading until we can stretch it out very thinly without ripping it.
How do I make sourdough easier to digest?
We never had problems digesting our sourdough bread, but folks with partial gluten intolerance may. So we have done some research on the matter.
Turns out, the longer you let the sourdough prove in a cold place, such as your fridge, the easier it will be to digest. The gluten is what may make bread hard to digest, and letting the dough prove for longer allows the yeast to break down the gluten. This, in turn, makes it easier for your body to digest the bread.
A longer proving time also improves the bread flavour. That's why we let our bread prove for at least 7 hours. So whether or not you have trouble digesting gluten-rich bread, we recommend you let your bread dough prove as long as we do.
Can I use canned pumpkin puree?
Yes, you can. But use half the amount we mentioned in the ingredients above. We used raw pumpkin which, once turned into a puree, loses about half of its weight.
Do I have to use bread flour for this recipe?
Bread flour, or strong flour, has more gluten content than plain, all-purpose flour. Gluten is essential to baking (non gluten-free) traditional loaves. It is the protein responsible for the bounciness and stretchiness of the dough. Without it, the bread would be prone to cracking and wouldn't grow as much.
Strong wheat flour, whether white or wholemeal, is the primary choice for traditional sourdough, but you may also experiment with rye flour or spelt flour, either alone or mixed with wheat flour.
Finally, you can augment your flour mixes with gluten itself, by buying and using the vital wheat gluten product.
Can I freeze the sourdough bread?
You can freeze sourdough bread, just as much as any other loaf.
What you will notice with homemade sourdough, is that it doesn't turn stale as easily and as quickly as store-bought bread. For this reason, we usually only freeze our freshly baked sourdough loaves if we know we won't finish them within a week.
Why is my sourdough not rising or is overly dense?
If you sourdough starter is young (made within the last 2 weeks), then don't worry too much about getting a flat loaf. Chances are, your yeast is still weak and needs a bit more feeding before giving you those bubbly bread slices.
But a flat or overly dense loaf may also be the result of insufficient proving and kneading.
You should let the bread prove for four hours after kneading, and three more hours after transferring it into its mould (i.e. banneton).
As far as kneading goes, you know your bread is ready when your dough passes the so-called windowpane test.
The test consists in stretching out the edge of the dough so thinly that it turns into an opaque membrane. This membrane should be thin enough to let a source of light through, hence window pane. The dough is ready if this membrane doesn't rip once held up in the air for a handful of seconds.
What can I use instead of a proving basket?
If you don't have a banneton, you can use a standard bowl to prove your sourdough, such as a salad bowl or mixing bowl.
Line it with a tea towel and then dust it with flour before placing the rolled dough in - always with the seam side up. Then cover the dough with the flaps of the tea towel, and you're all set up for the second proving.
Made with natural rattan, the banneton is a proving basket used by many pro bakers as it provides extra support to the rising dough and prevents it from spreading. Also, it gives a gorgeous floury ring pattern to the bread crust.
So, if you're into bread making, we definitely recommend you get one of these bannetons, they come in all sort of shapes too!
What can I use to bake this pumpkin bread in?
In this recipe, we have used the ceramic bread cloche by Emile Henry, which is absolutely fantastic, worth every penny. However, you can also use any oven-proof lidded pot such as Dutch oven, pyrex casserole dish, roaster, or bread baker.
The lid locks the steam inside the baking dish, meaning the bread will get a lovely golden crust.
But don't worry if only have a baking tray, you can still make this sourdough recipe. Just dust it with flour, and place the bread over it.
To create the steam required to crisp up the loaf crust, place a second tray or oven-proof dish at the bottom of the heated oven, and when you're ready to bake, pour boiling water into the hot dish.