Vermont Harvest Folk Art by Doreen Frost
~Fine Needlework, Written Publications & Finished Goodes.~

Tucked in a valley, at the foot of Round Mountain, among the graceful Maples & Oaks you will find our Little Brown House. Smoke billows from the chimney seven or eight months out of the year, a river rambles nearby, sheep & cows graze in the meadows and turkey's forage along the olde stone walls.

"I myself am entirely made of flaws, stitched together with good intentions" ~ Augusten Burroughs.

"People aren't longing to be impressed; they're longing to feel like they're home. If you create a space full of love and character and creativity and soul, they'll take off their shoes and curl up with gratitude and rest, no matter how small, no matter how undone, no matter how odd." Shauna Niequist.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Sourdough Baking~ Pumpkin Cranberry Bread


Glad Tidings To You. There's just something so wonderful about the combination of pumpkin and a yeasted dough. The two work wonders for each other. :).  In this case, the yeast comes in the form of my sourdough starter (Beatrix), and oh my goodness, the result is fantastic.   

**A few NOTES..before we get started. Most recipes recommend you use your starter when it is at its peak. This simply means the time in the day when it is MOST ACTIVE. This is generally 4-6 hrs after you've fed your starter. That is IF your home temperature is generally between 68°~71° Fahrenheit. Colder and peak will take longer, warmer and the peak will happen soon. **Temperature is key when it comes to sourdough bread baking. KNOW your starter (and bread dough when baking). Learn how your starter (or bread dough) behaves in the temperature of your home and the rest is simple! Using your starter, at its peak, will ensure you achieve the best rise and helps with the timing, etc. of any given recipe. That being said....I find one of the nicest things about sourdough bread baking is, once your starter is established and really active, you can adjust any recipe to fit your own schedule. Making a loaf of sourdough bread takes time, at the VERY least it takes 8 hrs, (if your home is approx. 70°). However, most of that time is when your bread is rising or, "bulk rise" as it is called. You do have some active time in the first hour and active time again, during the last hour, however, it is truly not as difficult as it might seem. There are some hard and fast rules and a few "must do's" with sourdough bread baking, but once you have those are good to go!! OF NOTE...You can find my SOURDOUGH BREAD BAKING GOODE THINGS TO KNOW in the "Pages" section, in the column on the left :). Oh, FYI.... Timing is one of the hardest things to master when it comes to sourdough bread baking so I will tell you something I've discovered. You can use your starter after its peak.....Peak is "technically" the best time" as it ensures a nice big rise and a loaf full of lovely holes and chew. However, you can use your starter in any recipe, hours after its peak, and still, make an amazing loaf of bread. The loaf in these photos was made when my starter was 24 hours old and needed to be fed!!! Now, this will only work if your starter is very active and healthy, and I do not think it would work with a starter that is kept in the refrigerator. Beatrix (my starter) has never been refrigerated.... :) She lives on the right-hand corner of my breadboard, in the kitchen next to my cookbooks, in a lovely glass jar my sister gave me, is fed daily at 7:30 a.m., and is very healthy and happy. Generally, I have 100 grams of starter going all the time (give or take a few grams) when I want to bake, at 7:30 a.m., I will take out 50 grams of starter, feed it with 50 grams of water and 50 grams of flour and then use the remaining 50 grams of starter in my bread recipe! :).

NOW..... Let's get on with our recipe, shall we? :)   

My Timetable ~ use it or create your own using this one as a guide

8:00 a.m. ~ Make The Dough

8:15 a.m. ~ Mix Cranberry Filling

9:00 a.m. ~ Add Filling To The Dough

9:15 a.m. ~ Bulk Rise

4:30 p.m. ~ shape the dough

5:00-ish  ~ Second Rise

5:30-ish ~ Score The Dough

5:50~ish ~Bake

 This is the schedule that  I generally use when making this bread.  Please be aware, however, that times may vary.  Our home, on this particular day, was a fairly consistent  70* so my bulk rise took approx. 7 hours.    If your home is colder, the bulk rise (generally 6-8 hrs.)  will take longer.  If your home is warmer, the bulk rise will happen more quickly.  

Sourdough Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

This bread, lightly toasted and slathered with butter is positively heavenly!!  The ingredients are simple, the flavor exquisite, and the steps, though they may seem involved, I promise you, they are not. 

    **Your sourdough starter should be active and ready to bake with.  If you’ve gone the route of keeping your starter in the refrigerator, a few days before making this recipe, feed your starter daily, until bubbly and active.  Store at room temperature until you are ready to use it in this recipe.

Let’s begin………….

Dough  ( g = grams )

  50 g ( 1/4 cup) bubbly, active starter.

  250 g (1 cup plus 2 tsp.) warm water

  184 g (3/4 cup) good quality pumpkin puree. (not pie filling)

  500 g (4 cups plus 2 tbsp) Bread Flour

  9 g (1 1/2 tsp) fine sea salt 


  1 cup dried cranberries

  1 Tbl sugar

  1 tsp pure vanilla extract.  Maple extract works wonderfully as well.

  1/4 tsp each; Cinnamon, Ginger & Nutmeg.

  1 med/large Orange

 MAKE THE DOUGH(example 8:00 a.m.)   In a large glass bowl, (glass is best as it allows you to see your dough from all angles) whisk the starter, water, and pumpkin puree together with a fork.   Add the flour and salt.  Mix, using a rubber spatula, to combine until a stiff dough forms.  Wet your dominant hand and finish mixing the dough with your wet hand, until the flour is fully incorporated.  Cover the dough with a piece of plastic wrap (I butter the underside of mine) and let the dough rest for 45 minutes to an hour (I give it an hour).    **Remember to replenish your starter and store it in your usual manner.

MIX THE CRANBERRY FILLING: (example 8:15 a.m.)  Add the cranberries, sugar, vanilla, and spices to a small bowl. Halve the orange and squeeze the juice over the cranberry mixture.  Stir well to combine and set aside.

ADD THE FILLINGS: (example 9:00 a.m.)  After the dough has rested, add the cranberry mixture, with their soaking juices, to the bowl.  With wet hands, gently knead the fillings into the dough to incorporate.  This will only take a few minutes.

BULK RISE: (example 9:15 a.m.) Cover the dough with the plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature, 70* F, for about 6-8 hours or it has nearly doubled in size.  **OF NOTE… Doubled in size is a tricky term!!!  Generally, you want to look for your dough to have increased in growth, look soft and pillowy, rather than dense and heavy as it was when the bulk rise started,  have plenty of bubbles throughout (this is where a glass bowl helps), and may also have a few bubbles on the surface.

SHAPE THE DOUGH:  (example4:30 p.m.)  Carefully slide the dough from the bowl and place it on a lightly floured surface.  Shape into an oval or round (I do round) and let rest for 5-10 minutes.  Meanwhile, line a proofing basket or colander with a lint-free cotton towel that you’ve dusted heavily with flour.  *You do not want your dough to stick to the towel so really be sure to dust it well.  I dust it on liberally, with my hands, and then brush it around with a pastry brush.    CAREFULLY scoop up your little loaf and place it, seam side UP, inside your proofing basket or colander. 

SECOND RISE:  (example 5:00 p.m.) Cover the dough, lightly, with the edges of the dusted towel, and let rest until puffy, but not fully risen, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.  Mine took approx. 30 minutes. 

During the 2nd rise ~ preheat your oven and baking vessel.  (example 5:00p.m.)   Place your baking vessel, and cover, into the oven and preheat the oven to 450*  I use my enamel-coated, cast iron, stockpot.   Cut a piece of baking parchment, to fit the size of your baking vessel, and set aside.

 SCORE :  (example 5:30 )   Open the towel, place the parchment over the dough and invert the basket or colander to release the dough.  Gently flip the dough over, so the seam side is now down, and rub the top of the loaf lightly to remove any excess flour.  Now score your loaf using a very sharp serrated knife or razor blade.  I make a sort of long,  1/2 moon shape/cut, along one side of the loaf.   Now:  remove your baking vessel from the oven, take the top off, and,  using the parchment paper to transfer, carefully place the parchment,, and dough, into the pot.  Place the cover back on the pot (don’t forget to put your oven mitts back on) making sure the excess baking parchment is folded down over the outside edges……...

BAKE:  (example 5:50p.m.) Bake the bread on the center rack for 20 minutes, covered.  Remove the lid, rotate the pot (this will ensure even baking), and continue to bake for another 40 minutes. Keep an eye on your loaf, and if it looks like it might be getting too dark you can place the cover back on for the remainder of the baking.  I ended up placing my cover back on for the final 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool, on a baking rack for at least an hour before slicing.  IT is best to wait two hours.  If you do not wait long enough for sourdough bread too cool, before cutting, your loaf will have a gummy texture that is not pleasant.  IT is hard but you’ll be glad you waited

Store, wrapped in brown paper, wax, or freezer paper.

This loaf reheats nicely in the oven at 350* for 10 minutes or so.

I hope you love it and remember, feel free to contact me if you have any questions or need assistance.  Enjoy ~ Doreen


  1. Looks yummy!!!!
    I went to your web page and saw the pic of your cozy dining room. Can you tel me what material you used for the curtains?

    1. Goode morning. Thank you so much for visiting and leaving a comment. I hope you give the bread a try.

      The curtains are Tabaco Cloth and were purchased from Heirloom Weavers in PA.

      Be well, doreen

  2. I tried the sour dough during shut down but since I had plenty of yeast I let it go. But your bread sure looks wonderful

    1. Hello Cathy. :) Thank you. Perhaps you'll start, your again??

      Thank you so much for stopping by :)> Doreen

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