Pumpkin Sourdough with Philip H.

philiphodgesLet's kick off Fall with a moderately challenging, yet I promise you, a fun creation from Philip H, our longtime customer. Phil is a money manager by day and an amateur baker on nights and weekends. From his home, he takes us through the process, sharing tips and tricks that you don't want to miss. Let's get started, shall we?  

Disclaimer: Charles, Designer & Founder of Cotton the First, does not bake but he can certainly make masks and pick you a shirt. (and some scrumptious Thai Food) 😀


What is the most challenging part of making this sourdough?
Phil: Hmm. I think the difficult part is that you need to make a sourdough starter which can take up to a week.  But once you have a mature starter you can make bread pretty quickly. To get a really tasty loaf usually takes two days because the flavor develops better if you can leave it in the fridge over night before baking. But that isn’t totally necessary — you can have your bread done in 1 day if you need to. 

Head here for detailed instructions on how to make a sourdough starter from NC State University's Sourdough Project.

Charles: Oh wow, if it takes that long, would you make a lot of it and keep it?
Phil: Yes, the starter is basically just a yeast colony. Once it’s “active” you have to discard and re-feed it every day. Or you can keep it in the fridge and then just re-feed it about 5-6 hours before using. It springs right back to life. When you bake bread, you use about half your starter. You throw away most of it, and keep a small amount which then (with flour and water) grows to be the next starter.

Charles: So I'm curious how you made that pumpkin shape, what's your secret?
Phil: The secret to my pumpkin sourdough is to tie it up with kitchen string before baking. 

Watch how Phil ties up the dough into the pumpkin shape below:

Charles: Any other tips?
Phil: Oh, preheat the oven as hot as possible (550 on most ovens) for an hour and turning it down to about 450 only once the bread is in the oven. You want a lot of heat at first because that’s when you generate the steam that makes the bread really rise. 

Charles: Well it certainly looks like you got a hang of this very well. So what have you been eating your sourdough with?
Phil: Usually just butter! But sometimes I make avocado toast with it.

Charles: I can already smell the sourdough. Oh, I know what I will do this weekend. I guess I should get started! Thanks so much for your time, Phil!

Don't forget to check out the instruction from Philip below.


Step-by-step Instructions from Philip's Kitchen

  1. Mix 100g of your sourdough starter in 360g of water.
  2. Add 550g of white bread flour and continue mixing. (it will be a little messy)
  3. Leave for 30 mins - 1 hour under a tea towel.
  4. Add 12g of salt and up to 30g extra water (if needed) and mix in (it should start looking more normal)
  5. Now leave out for 3 hours under your tea towel, folding it every 30 mins. Head here to see how to fold your dough.
  6. Form it into a tight little ball and leave overnight in the fridge Head here to see how to shape your dough.
  7. Next day. Preheat oven to as hot as it’ll go (usually 550) for an hour
  8. When ready, tie it up to shape the dough into pumpkin and score the dough ball (slice a cut into it) and put in oven. 
  9. Turn down to 450 and bake for around 45 minutes. 

What other projects do you have going on? I would love to hear from you. Don't forget that we are in this together. So let's make the most of it safely.

Please email me or leave your comment below.
-Charles at Cotton the First


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