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
- Roughly mix stater, water, flour, and salt in a large mixing bowl with a wooden spoon. Let sit for 10 minutes.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
(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?
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: