Seeded Pumpkin Cranberry Bread Recipe

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By Emilie Raffa

A simple, yet artful, way to expand your sourdough is to add different purées to the dough. In this case, a generous dollop of silky pumpkin purée stains the crumb a beautiful brassy-
orange color. The pumpkin flavor isn’t pronounced, but cranberries soaked in fresh orange juice, cinnamon, and spices give the bread that familiar seasonal taste. My dad likes to fry day-old slices in a hot skillet with melted butter.

After mixing, this dough will feel more sticky and stiff than usual. Once it rests — the longer the better — the texture will morph into a soft, mousse-like mass. It should be noted that I’ve tried many different ways to get nuts and seeds to stick to bread dough — egg wash, egg white, milk, cream, you name it. The technique outlined in this recipe is guaranteed for better sticking, and is worth the few extra pumpkin seeds that’ll inevitably land on the floor.

This bread is best eaten the day it’s baked. It can be placed in a plastic bag and left out at room temperature, but it doesn’t store well for more than a day.

Yields 1 loaf.


  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) bubbly, active starter
  • 1 cup plus 2 teaspoons (250 grams) warm water
  • 3⁄4 cup (184 grams) good-quality pumpkin purée (not pie filling)
  • 4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (500 grams) bread flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons (9 grams) fine sea salt
  • 1 cup (130 grams) dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon (12 grams) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground ginger
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 4 clementines or 1 orange
  • 1-1/2 cups (180 grams) pumpkin seeds


  1. A few days before baking your bread, feed your starter until bubbly and active. Store at room temperature until ready
    to use.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the starter, water, and pumpkin purée together with a fork. Add the flour and salt, and mix until a stiff dough forms. Using your hands, continue mixing until the flour is fully absorbed. Cover the dough with a damp towel and let rest for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  3. Replenish your starter with fresh flour and water, and set it aside, storing it according to your preference.
  4. Meanwhile, place the cranberries, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in a small bowl. Halve the clementines or orange and squeeze the juice over the ingredients in the bowl. It’s OK if the cranberries aren’t completely submerged. Stir well to combine. Don’t drain.
  5. After the dough has rested, add the cranberry mixture, including the juice, to the dough, and gently knead until the fruit is incorporated, about 1 minute.
  6. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let rise at room temperature (70 degrees Fahrenheit) for about 6 to 8 hours, or until doubled in size.
  7. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and shape it into an oval. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
  8. Line a 10-inch oval proofing basket with a towel, and set aside. Spread the pumpkin seeds on a damp kitchen towel.
  9. With floured hands, gently cup the dough and pull it toward you to tighten its shape. Brush the surface and sides of the dough with water. Using a bench scraper, place the dough onto the pumpkin seeds, wet side down. Lift up the sides of the towel and rock it back and forth to coat the dough. Place the dough in the prepared basket, seam side up. Cover the dough, and let rest until puffy, but not fully risen, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  10. Preheat oven to 450 F. Cut a sheet of parchment paper to fit your baking pot.
  11. Place the parchment paper over the dough and invert the basket to release. Make a long cut down the length of the dough using the tip of a small serrated knife or a razor blade. Try to be quick and precise with this — your blade will inevitably catch on some of the seeds. Use the parchment paper to transfer the dough to the baking pot. Cover with a lid.
  12. Bake the bread on the center rack for 20 minutes. Remove the lid, and bake for another 40 minutes. Additional baking time inside the pot, instead of baking directly on the oven rack, will protect the seeds from burning.
  13. Remove the bread from the oven, and cool for 1 hour before slicing.

For additional recipes and information, see Simple Sourdough Bread Recipes.

Article and recipes reprinted with permission from Artisan Sourdough Made Simple by Emilie Raffa (Page Street Publishing Co., 2017).

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