Halloween Pumpkin Buns (Sourdough)

by - October 17, 2020

Halloween Pumpkin Buns (Sourdough)

Halloween Pumpkin Buns (Sourdough)

Halloween Pumpkin Buns (Sourdough)

Halloween is just around the corner and these cute Halloween Pumpkin Buns are perfect for a Halloween celebration.   I used my Pumpkin Soft Sourdough Bread recipe to make the buns and I also stuffed them with Pumpkin Puree filling.

The texture of these buns are chewy and soft.  It is advisable to warm up the buns if consuming from the second day onwards.  I don't know how long these buns will last as ours were eaten fast. 

If you wish to bake these buns but you do not have sourdough starter, you can use  my Pumpkin Loaf  recipe using instant yeast.  Make 13 buns instead of 12 buns for the yeast dough as the total flour will be more.

It is advisable to read the General Notes before baking.


For kneading, please regard the timing provided as an indication only. It is only meant as a guide.  Timing may differ depending on the brand of flour and electric mixer used. The protein content may vary from one brand of flour to another.

Some have experienced the dough breaking during the second proofing.  If that happens it is due to over kneading.  Please stop the machine and check your dough during the final cycle of kneading to ensure that you don't over knead. Every machine is different and there is always a chance of over-kneading when using a machine. You may need to adjust this timing and stop as soon as you reach the window pane stage.

The right flour plays a very important role in bread making.  Usually bread flour content around 11.5 - 13.5% protein, while high gluten flour is around 13.5 - 14.5%.  All purpose flour content less protein around 9 - 11%.  To achieve fluffy, soft and light bread, I used Japan High Gluten Flour in most of my bread baking.  Sources from here and here.

The liquid measurement given is also a guide.  It is advisable to always reserve some liquid and not add it all in one go.  This would give you the opportunity to adjust if necessary. If dough is too dry, add the reserve liquid one tablespoon at a time until the right consistency.  This is because each flour absorbs water and hydrates differently. 

Please note that the proofing timing may also vary depending on your climate and environment. The humidity and temperature at your place will influence how dough rises.  
If you are unable to judge by just looking at the dough, you can do the finger poke test:
  1. Proofing Test:
    • Lightly press the side of the proved dough with your finger.  If it bounces back immediately without any indentation, it means the dough is under proved and needs more time before baking.
    • If the indentation stays and it doesn’t bounce back, it means it has been over proved.
    • If the indentation slowly bounces back and leave a small indentation, it is ready to bake. 
    • There will be a final burst of rising once the bread is placed to bake in the oven and it is called oven spring. 
If your bread collapses or gets wrinkled on top after removing from oven, it could be because your dough over proved during the second proofing. Please proof your dough until 80 - 90% of the size.

Do also note that the baking temperature and timing provided are what works for my oven and should also be regarded as a guide only. Every oven behaves a little differently, so please adjust accordingly for your oven.

A healthy starter is very crucial as advised by Baking with Gina.  It is advisable to feed your starter daily if you want your bread to rise nicely and to use the starter (levain) at its peak.  

If the mother starter is not strong, the bread dough will not rise a lot even though the starter is used at its peak.

I used more levain (sourdough starter) in my soft bread recipe to get less sourness taste. This sounds weird right? More starter will make the dough rise faster and less time needed for the dough to digest and produce acids. The acids give the sourness taste. In resulting less acids produce and bread become less sour.

If you have any questions regarding this recipe or any other post, please leave me a comment in the “LEAVE A COMMENT” link and I will reply you as soon as possible.

Recipe - Halloween Pumpkin Buns (Sourdough)

Yields:  12 Buns


Levain - 170g total (ratio 1:3:3):
25g sourdough starter (100% Hydration)
75 bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
75g water

Main Dough:
265g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
160g mashed pumpkin (about 700g pumpkin - peeled, cut, steamed and mashed, balance use for the filling)
170g levain (above)
24g (2 Tbsp) brown sugar
1 tsp salt
30g butter 
10g - 30g full cream milk (I used 20g and the dough was a little soft for shaping into buns.  I would suggest 10g should be enough or adjust to your flour)

Pumpkin Filling:
300g mashed pumpkin 
30g brown sugar or gula melaka (palm sugar)
50g whipping cream or heavy cream
1/8 tsp salt or to taste

3 cooking string or kitchen twine about 34 inches long and separate each string into 4 strands. Then soak the string in the oil for easy removal later (which I forgot to do). The reason I separated it is because the string is too tick for this small buns.
Baking tray, lined with parchment paper

12 cloves for decoration

  1. Levain:
    1. One night before baking, mix all ingredients in a jar and cover.
    2. Let it ferment at room temperature (approximately 27 - 28C) overnight until tripled.  It took about 12 hours. The total weight should be around 175g.  But, you will need only 170g.
    3. If you like to prepare the levain on the same baking day, please use the ratio 1:1:1.  Let it ferment at room temperature (approximately 29 - 30C) until tripled.  It took about 3-5 hours depend how strong is your starter.
  2. Pumpkin Filling:
    1. Add in all of the ingredients for the pumpkin filling and cook under low heat till reduced and thickened. Set aside to cool. (If you prefer the filling to be smoother, blend the mashed pumpkin and whipping cream with hand blender till smooth before cooking.  You may prepare the filling one night in advance and store in fridge)
  3. Main Dough:
    1. Put all ingredients (except butter) including 170g levain into a bowl of stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix for 2 minutes or until all incorporated.  Change to hook attachment and knead for another 3 minutes or until the dough comes together. Add in butter and continue knead for 10 - 15 minutes or until reach window pane stage.  During the whole kneading process, I stopped few times to scrape down the dough from the hook to be sure it is evenly kneaded and also to prevent the motor from overheating.
    2. Let the dough rest for 60 minutes in the same bowl, covered with cling film or the lid. The dough did not rise a lot after 60 minutes.  
  4. To shape:
    1. Transfer the dough onto a clean floured surface then divide into 12 equal portions. 
    2. Form each portion into a ball.  
    3. Flatten the dough and roll into a flat circle. 
    4. Place about 1 tablespoon of Pumpkin filling in the centre, wrap and seal, roll into a ball.
    5. Use a string to tie around the dough ball as per the video.  
    6. Place bun onto the baking pan lined with non-stick baking paper.  Make sure they are about 1 ½ to 2 inches apart. 
    7. Let it proof in a warm and dark place until  the buns rises and starts to resemble a little pumpkin. My starter was very active and this one took approximately 2.5 hours at room temperature of 29C - 30C.  It may take longer approx. 3 - 5 hours depending on your starter, environment and conditions.
  5. To bake:
    1. Bake in a preheated oven at 190C (top & bottom heat) or 170C (fan-forced) for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.  I usually preheat the oven for 10 - 15 minutes before baking.  Please rotate the tray half way of baking to make sure the buns are evenly baked.
    2. Remove buns from oven and let them cool on rack.  When the buns are cool enough to touch, remove the string by cutting off the top knot and bottom. Gently pull off the string one by one carefully.  Stick a clove in the centre of the buns.

Pumpkin Filling

Main Dough, Shaping and Baking

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  1. looks very yummy , it is need brush with egg wash before baked ?

    1. Hi, thanks for reading this recipe. I didn't brush. You can if you want.

      Cheers :)

  2. Lovely! Can I make it into one giant pumpkin as a display piece?

    1. Hi, Thanks for visiting this page. Yes, of course you can. It is totally up to you.

      Cheers :)

  3. Hi I noticed this recipe also calls for sourdough starter. I don’t have sd starter , what can I do to get started. I am the very very forgetful type so it’s impossible to prepare the starter which needs to be fed everyday and I don’t bake often so after preparing the starter it will be a waste if I don’t look after it isn’t it ?

    1. Hi, Thanks for reading this recipe. This is sourdough soft bun recipe. You may want to try instant yeast recipe in my blog. https://www.bakewithpaws.com/2017/07/pumpkin-loaf.html

      Cheers :)