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Pumpkin Sourdough Babka

Pumpkin Babka

Fall is in the air… And it means, pumpkin season has officially begun. Treat yourself and your family with this absolutely incredible and soft, sweet and pumpkin spicy babka made with stiff sourdough starter.


Stiff Sourdough Starter 


  • 325g bread flour (100%)
  • 150g pumpkin purée (46%)
  • 100g milk (31%)
  • 1 large egg
  • 65g sugar (20%)
  • 32g soft butter (10%)
  • 65g stiff starter (20%)
  • 6g salt (2%)
  • 0.5 g dry yeast (optional, to reduce sourness)




Day 1


  • 10 pm add starter to the water and whisk together, add flour, mix well, form a ball, then roll it into tight roll, place in jar, make sure it is covered with water, let sit at room temp 74-78F until it increases in size and starts to float on the top of the water.
  • In about 8-10 hours the top of the starter will dry and the bottom will start to melt in water. We will need the center part of it.
  • Keeping stiff starter in the water will help to reduce its acidity and sourness of final product (learn how to make starter from scratch here).

Day 2


  • 8 am mix milk with sugar, add pumpkin purée, add yeast (if using ) stiff sourdough starter and an egg, whisk all together, add flour and let autolyse for 1 hour.
  • During the autolyse period the flour becomes fully hydrated. This activates gluten development.
  • 9 am mix dough on low speed of your mixing machine for 2-3 minutes, or KitchenAid on speed 3 for 3-4 minutes until well incorporated.
  • Add salt mix for a couple more minutes. The dough should form a ball.
  • Add soft butter, mix for 10 more minutes until the dough is well incorporated and comes up together.
  • Cover and let it proof for 3-5 hours at 76-80F/ 24-28C.
  • During that time perform 2 stretches and folds.
  • The dough should become slightly puffy.
  • Prepare filling by mixing all ingredients together 
  • Sprinkle work surface with flour, dump the dough. Roll it into a 9-by-17-inch rectangle. Spread the filling (there’s no need to leave borders).
  • Starting with a long side, the dough roll into a tight coil. Transfer the coil onto a tray covered with parchment paper. Stick it in the freezer for 10 minutes, it will make cutting easier.
  • Slice the dough in half lengthwise to expose the filling. Twist the halves together as if you are braiding them. Place it into a prepared baking/loaf pan covered with parchment paper, letting it curl around itself if it’s a little too long for the pan.
  • Cover the pan.
  • Let it proof for 3-4 hours until babka will double in volume.
  • Preheat oven 375F
  • Bake pumpkin babka for 35 min until golden brown.
  • Let it cool down before icing.
  • Prepare icing by mixing all ingredients together.
  • Sprinkle icing all over the babka.


27 thoughts on “Pumpkin Sourdough Babka

  1. What changes should be considered in case of using dry yeast instead of sourdough?

    1. Great question!
      Use 1% of instant dry yeast from total amount of flour

    2. Hello! This looks great, can’t wait to try. Do you think I can use “00” flour for this (no sourdough, instant yeas version) ?.

      Thank you!

  2. I made this, but cut the larger roll in half through the rolled middle as well as through the length middle in order to have two smaller loaves. It doesn’t look as large and spectacular, but the taste is wonderful!! Thank you so much for sharing! I already need to make more. I suspect I will need to have two jars with the stiff starter going this time. Thank you, thank you!!

    1. Yes, if you need to double the recipe, then you can double all the ingredients!
      Thank you.

  3. Hi Natasha, I m located in Hong Kong, do you run zoom class?? Looking forward to your cookbook in November. I love your sourdough with big holes. Can I order your cookbook at Amazon?

    1. Amy, thank you so much for your support!
      My book is available for preorders through Amazon, and Apple Books.

  4. Hello Natalya. Can this recipe handle a cold retard after placed in the baking tin so we can have it for breakfast the next day?
    What size loaf pan do you use?
    Thanks so much

    1. Hi!
      Proof it, move yo fridge until before going to bed, take it from fridge, shape it, let proof at 18-21C until next morning, it should double or more by the morning.
      Then bake it. I’m using 9×4 mold.
      Thank you 🙏

  5. Hello! I made this yesterday and it was amazing! I was a bit nervous, as I’ve only made your 1-2-3 sourdough loaf and your pumpkin scones, and this looked a bit more challenging. Your directions are easy to follow, and the loaf had the best flavor and texture! Thank you so much for sharing!! God Bless!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind feedback!
      I really glad you liked it 🙏

  6. I made this loaf but increased the overall size (using baker’s percentages–thank you for including them!) with less sugar, and I used whole buckwheat and semolina for a total of around 15% of the flour. It still rose perfectly (about tripled) and was soft, fragrant, and completely delicious. One of my favorite breads ever! I’m making it again but following the recipe more exactly and making mini loaves

    Thank you for this awesome recipe. Not at all sour, even though I didn’t use the optional yeast, and just delicious!

    1. Maggie, thank you so much for your kind feedback.
      I’m so glad you liked it 🙏

  7. Hi I would like to make this but I am confused about the stiff starter- when it separates from the water do we use all of it or just some of it for the dough ?

    1. Hi!
      You will need only 65g of stiff starter for this recipe

  8. Hi Natasha, thank you for the recipe. Just to clarify for the stiff starter, do I mix water, starter and flour, roll it into a coil. Put it in Jar. then add water to cover the coil? (I have made sweet stiff starter before but never tried one where I have to cover with water.)
    Thank you.

    1. Yes, all correct 🙏

  9. You replied to someone that to use yeast use 1% of the flour. How do you do that with the stiff starter.?
    Do you use 35g water, 65g flour and 0.65g instant yeast? Thanks

    1. If you have 325g of flour for the dough, use just 3g of yeast

  10. Hello Novice here,
    Day one (stiff Starter) how many grams of water (additional) do we need to cover the mixed ingredients?

  11. Nice blog

  12. Hello, I just colked rhe loaf, it was a pity it couldnt grow as desired. I think the second fermentation was t enough. I didnt do the floating sourdough.. another difficult I found was the spreadong of filling; too harsh and the dough so fragile. Flavour is magic even without pumpking spice. Thank you

    1. Hi natasha,
      If i use liquid sourdought how many of them has to be used in the recepy?

  13. Hello, love all your recipes they are so good! Just making this one at the moment; you have said to add the starter before the autolyse, is this correct? Usually in your other recipes the starter is added after the autolyse… If it is meant to be before what is the reason for doing it this way round in this recipe? Thank you! Ed

    1. Yes, it is added in the beginning. I made this a year ago – and am making it again tomorrow!

  14. À superbe and easy sourdough recipe 🙏
    I switched out the spice filling for 3 bands: pumpkin/butter/sugar , spices, chestnut paste; yum !

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