Category Archives: Breads

No-Knead Harvest Sourdough

It’s getting to that time of year again when I want all the tastes and smells of the holiday season wrapped up into delectable comfort foods. And I pretty much always want sourdough. Why not bring the two together?


I had made a roasted mystery squash side to accompany dinner, and the yield was far more than expected. We all enjoy roasted squash, but no one else in my family will consume copious amounts of mushy yellow stuff besides me. I decided to re-purpose my leftovers into a steaming hot autumnal loaf.

What went into this golden bread? Squash, apples, walnuts, cranberries, plus all the glory of a traditional sourdough. If you don’t have squash or don’t want to take take to roast some just for the bread, no problem. It can easily be made without. You can always up the other ingredients if you want or add some raisins or dates to the mix. (The dough won’t be quite as moist without the squash, but that’s okay- it should still bake up quite well.)

As a disclaimer, I only made this loaf once so far. If you have any problems or suggestions, do let me know so I can try to tweak the recipe!

Here’s the recipe:

  • 2 cups sourdough starter
  • 2 1/2 cups lukewarm water
  • 6 cups bread flour
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • About 1 cup cooked squash
  • 1 chopped apple
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2-1 cup dried cranberries (to taste)
  • Cornmeal for the pans
  1. Roughly mix stater, water, flour, and salt in a large mixing bowl with a wooden spoon. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Add squash, apple, and cranberries to your mix. Stir again to incorporate ingredients, but do not knead. The dough will be quite wet! Throw a towel over the bowl and let it sit overnight (about 12 hours).
  3. In the morning, your dough should be rather bubbly and still rather wet. You will not be able to handle it very well. Turn it out onto a generously floured surface. Do not knead. Divide dough in half (I ripped mine gently with my hands) and fold each half twice in letter-style. (Fold right side in a third, fold left side over to make another third. Rotate dough a quarter turn and repeat.) Dump your “letters” into two oiled bowls. Cover with a towel.
  4. Preheat your oven to 425. Put in two covered dutch ovens or cast iron pans to heat up with the oven. I used one of each because that’s what I had!
  5. After about an hour, pull out the pans and quickly sprinkle some cornmeal on the bottom to help prevent sticking. Dump your very wet lumps of dough into the HOT pans. Do be careful. Cover swiftly with the lids or tin foil (fold it down around the edges quickly) and get your bread in the oven.
  6. Bake at 425 for 25 minutes. Remove lids/foil, lower temp to 400, and bake for about 20 minutes more, or until crust is golden brown and bottom sounds hollow when tapped with your knuckles.
  7. Let cool at least 30 minutes before slicing.

YIELD: 2 large loaves. Freeze one if you can’t eat it all at once.

Note: If you have neither a covered dutch oven nor a cast iron pan, try a pizza stone or make do with what you have. They key is that the surface the bread bakes on is VERY hot and that the loaves can be covered while they bake. As mentioned above, I often use tin foil over my cast iron pans to bake sourdough. While it’s not ideal, it does help to trap in the moisture to create that crackly crust we all love in artisan bread.

Nov 2014 068(Here are my two odd shaped loaves from using two different pans!)

I think this bread would make an excellent addition to any holiday table. You can try it smothered with butter, apple butter, or homemade cranberry sauce. Or, try it as sandwich bread for grilled cheese, turkey/chicken sandwiches, chicken salad, tuna salad, or the famous Thanksgiving leftover sandwich.

How will you try yours?

Nov 2014 075

I hope to make a “Happy Healthy Holiday” collection, filled with recipes, activities, and gifts to foster healthy eating, joviality, and a fun family focus this holiday season. Look for this stamp to know it’s part of the collection:

happyhealthyholidaywithsiteHope to add more soon!



Zucchini-Blueberry Sourdough Quickbread

The green goodness of zucchini, an itch for sweet blueberry muffins, and the joy of sourdough went out on a date last night after putting the kids to bed. This is the awesomeness that was born of their rendezvous:

Zucchini Blueberry Sourdough

My freezer is loaded with zucchini and blueberries, all set to go for warm muffins on cold winter mornings. Except that I couldn’t wait that long.

I’ve got an old cookbook with a torn cover on my shelf from 1979: Bread Winners: More Than 200 Superior Bread Recipes and Their Remarkable Bakers. It has freed me from needlessly confining my sourdough starter to only traditional, round loaves. It’s encouraged me to branch out and try starter in rolls, cornbread, quickbreads, muffins… just to name a few. It’s also made me brave enough to try to craft my own bread recipes as I gain familiarity with the ingredient proportions needed to make a decent loaf.

Last night I was craving something sweet, but I always have glutton’s remorse after gorging myself upon cake or three… er… four… uhhh… just a couple white-flour-full-sugar-muffins… So I thought it best to make a more nutritious option that would serve us well for a snack or breakfast.

Why is this better than the traditional quickbread? Sourdough is more nutritious, more easily digestible, and has a lower glycemic index than conventional bread. Also, this loaf has no refined sugar- in general, honey has a lot more benefits and nutrients than it’s super-sweet white cousin, and there’s about half the sweetener in this recipe than in your conventional zucchini bread. Trust me, you won’t notice. (I added an optional glaze, but you can certainly leave it out if you want to avoid the white stuff completely.)

One other great thing about this recipe? It can be prepped in one bowl. I love dish count reduction.

Zucchini-Blueberry Sourdough Quickbread:

  • 1/2 cup honey (or maple syrup)
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted & cooled
  • 1 1/2 cup sourdough starter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • 1 cup blueberries (frozen or fresh)
  • 1- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

Optional Glaze (for the sweet tooths) :

  • Powdered sugar (about 1/2 cup)
  • Lemon juice (about 2 tsp)
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Combine honey, melted butter, and sourdough starter in a large bowl.
  3. Stir in salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg until combined.
  4. Add egg. I like to beat it right in the bowl with the other ingredients.
  5. Gently stir in zucchini & blueberries.
  6. Add 1 cup whole wheat flour. If batter looks too thin, add a little more, 1/4 cup at a time. (I used 1 and 1/4 cups. Some sourdough starters are thinner than others, so yours may need a little more or less flour than mine did.)
  7. Pour into two greased loaf pans. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Optional: Put powdered sugar into a small bowl, then gradually add a little lemon juice at a time until it’s glaze consistency. (Sorry, I never really measure my glazes, so the above measurements are an approximation.) Spoon over cooled loaves for a sweet treat.

I liked mine buttered. The hubby liked his plain. My kids didn’t care how it came. How do you like yours?


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