Breads (Sourdough) - Open Crumb

Pumpkin Open Crumb Sourdough Bread

December 29, 2020 | Recipe by Bake with Paws

Pumpkin Open Crumb Sourdough Bread

Pumpkin Open Crumb Sourdough Bread

I have been trying to re-bake my Pumpkin Swirl Open Crumb Sourdough Bread but I haven't been achieving a pattern with clear definition. I tried three different methods and got three different results with the crumb. I thought I would just share the experiments.

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 - Pumpkin Open Crumb Sourdough Bread


270g bread flour (I used Japanese high gluten flour - 12.2% protein) - 90%
30 whole wheat flour - 10%
217g water (reserve 10g for salt) - 75% final hydration
60g levain (active sourdough starter at 100% hydration) – 20%
6g salt  - 2% 
60g mashed pumpkin  (Baked about 200g of fresh pumpkin together with the skin for about 10 - 15 minutes at about 190C.  Remove the skin and mash with potato riser or folk.  Mashed pumpkin tend to be very high hydration.  Try to remove the excess water as much as possible by spreading the mashed pumpkin on top of few layers of kitchen paper towel to absorb the water).
  • Please reserve some liquid and not add it all in one go as each flour absorbs water and hydrates differently. 
  • Banneton (proofing basket)'s size - 6.5" oval shape
  • Ambient temperature after adding in levain:  25C - 26C
  1. Feed starter - Feed ratio of 1:1:1, keep at room temperature (28C – 30C) and wait until tripled, around 3 – 4 hours.  Please feed your starter at the ratio that fit your schedule as long as the starter is at its peak when use.  I found my bread rose better and better open crumb when I fed my starter before go to bed at ratio of 1:10:10 (starter:water:flour) and use the next morning when its peaks (around tripled).
  2. Autolyse - Mix flour and water, stir until there is no more dry flour with a spatula.  Cover and leave for 2 to 3 hours at room temperature (28C - 30C).  
  3. Levain - Wet your hand, add 60g sourdough to the dough and hand mixing until incorporated, about 3 - 4 minutes. Cover and rest for 30 minutes.
  4. Sea Salt -  Dilute 6g salt into 10g water and Pour on top of the dough, use hand to mix in the sea salt water.  It takes about 5 minutes until it is fully incorporated.  Cover and rest for 15 minutes. Cover and rest for 15 minutes.
  5.  Bench Fold -  Do a light fold on counter.  Return to the same bowl.  Cover and rest for about 30 minutes or until dough spreads.
  6. Lamination and Spread Mashed Pumpkin -
    1. Lightly mist the counter top with water and wet your hand.  Pull the dough into a rectangle shape and pull from centre out to form a bigger rectangle shape.  
    2. Spread the mashed pumpkin on the dough.
    3. Pick up one edge and fold into the center.  Pick up other edge and fold into the center over first section.  Fold the top down half way.  Fold the bottom up.  Put dough in a new dish (square pyrex dish).  The reason to use a square dish is because it is easier to judge how much  the dough has spread.  
    4. Cover and rest for about 30 - 45 minutes or until dough spreads.  
  7. Coil Fold 1 -  At this stage, the dough is weak and extensible.  Fold the dough in the dish. Cover and rest for about 30 - 45 minutes or until dough spreads.
  8. Coil Fold 2 -  At this stage the dough still extensible but stronger compare with the dough  before the 1st coil fold.  Fold the dough in the dish.  Cover and rest for about 30 - 45 minutes or until dough spreads.
  9. Coil Fold 3 -  At this stage, the dough is quite strong and not so extensible and will be the last coil fold.  However, if the dough is still quite extensible and spread a lot, then you will need one or two more coil folds.   Fold the dough in the dish.  Cover and rest for 60 - 90 minutes or until dough rise 40 - 50% in size since you added the levain.  
  10. Shaping - The total fermentation time is 5 hours and 30 minutes. Flour the counter top.  Shape and transfer to a  flour banneton.  
  11. Proofing - Usually I left the dough proof for 10 minutes at ambient temperature 24 - 25C.  However, this dough risen quite a lot so I straight away put in the fridge.
  12. Retard - Then retard overnight in the fridge (4C) for 12 - 16 hours.  This bread is about 16 hours.
  13. Baking -  
    1. Preheat oven with the dutch oven (cast iron) at 250C (top & bottom heat) fo 30 - 60 minutes before baking.  
    2. Take bread dough out from the fridge, invert onto a parchment paper.  Using a razor blade attached to a lame slash the dough approximately 0.5 inches deep at 45-degree angle.  Immediately transfer the dough with the parchment paper to your preheated dutch oven.
    3. Bake with cover on for 25 minutes.  Remove the cover and lower the temperature to 220C (top & bottom heat), continue bake for another 10 - 15 minutes.
    4. Remove bread from oven and dutch oven. Let it cool on rack completely before slicing.



A healthy starter is very crucial as advised by Baking with Gina.   It is advisable to feed your starter regularly if you want your bread to rise nicely and to use the starter (levain) at its peak.  A starter that is fed regularly will be more active in general.  If the mother starter is not strong, the bread dough will not rise a lot even though the starter is used at its peak.  


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. 


Bulk fermentation starts when you add in levain to the dough and ends when the dough is ready for shaping.  


Ambient temperature plays a very important part in sourdough baking.  It will affect the dough temperature and eventually affect your fermentation time.  The cooler ambient temperature will extend the fermentation time.  The greater degree of proof, the stronger the dough will be as explained by Trevor J. Wilson. 

The ambient temperature that worked for me is between 25C - 26C and bulk fermentation time is between 4.5 hours to 5.5 hours.  At the end of bulk fermentation, my dough would have increased 50% in volume.   The dough should look puffy.  It should jiggling when you slightly shake it.  This is the end of bulk fermentation.  

But, my kitchen ambient temperature (without air-conditioner) was 29C - 30C.  So, I have to bring down the temperature. 

How to bring down ambient temperature?
  1. Air-conditioner room - Rest the dough in air-conditioner room during bulk fermentation.  I used this option sometimes.  I turned on my air-conditioner when I added in levain and try to maintain temperature between 25C - 26C.
  2. Home oven (that's turned off) -  Place ice cooler packs inside along with an ambient temperature thermometer.  Then place your dough during bulk fermentation in the oven. Keep an eye on that thermometer and try to keep between 25C - 26C.


Too strong (tension or elastic) dough will take a longer time to increase (proof) in volume.  So too strong dough may not have good oven spring and open crumb.  While too weak dough (extensibility) dough may not hold it shape and rise with good oven spring too.  

So over-working the dough (too strong dough) or under-working (weak dough) may affect the crumb structure and oven spring.  

The number of coil folds is not fixed and very much depends on the strength and extensibility of the dough.  

As demonstrated in an experiment by Kristen (Full Proof Baking) the over-worked dough rose super tall but was smaller in overall size and had a more dense crumb while the control dough rose tall during the oven spring and had a better overall result.

How do we know when it is enough and no more coil folds are needed? 
We usually do 3 coil folds for this method.  However, if by the second coil fold the dough is strong with less extensibility as you lift up a part of the dough then it should be the last coil fold, or just do a half coil folds instead of full. The resistance of the dough to being folded should be an indication to refrain from folding further.

How do we know when to do the next coil fold or stretch & fold?
When the dough spreads. Please do not rely on the time given in the recipe as it is just a guideline.  Please watch your dough and not the clock.  


  1. Lovely! I have a question.. It stated that we have to preheat the oven at 250C then lower to 230C for actual bake. Does that mean we have to turn OFF the fan at 250C then turn ON the fan at 230C to bake the bread?

    1. Hi, thanks for the reading and your question. I used fan mode all the time.

      Cheers :)

  2. Hi Yeanley
    I'm so enjoying your blog, learning so much, thank you for sharing and your time. My question is can I use a lower hydration levain for my bakes, In the summer we have extremely hot weather where i live (consistently between 28c and 35C) Will a lower hydration 75% affect the overall bake ?
    Looking forward to hearing from you,

    1. Hi, thanks for visiting my blog and reading the recipes. Yes, of course you can. As you can see I used 75% hydration in Method 2 & 3. However, you can use 75% hydration for Method 1 too. It will not affect the end result a lot.

      Cheers :)


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