Pumpkin and Spice Sourdough Discard Quick Bread

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This pumpkin sourdough quick bread tastes like pumpkin pie in bread form.

Pumpkin sourdough quick bread, “Now BPA-free!”

My family has always eaten lots of pumpkin in the fall, usually in the forms of pumpkin pie and pumpkin quick bread. Back when I decided to kick the plastic in 2011, I soon discovered I’d have to also to kick the cans of pumpkin purée that I’d used for baking.

Canned food contains a plastic lining that often contains bisphenols, known hormone disruptors. And while many manufacturers no longer put BPA (one kind of bisphenol) in their can linings, many have turned to BPS or BPF (other types of bisphenols).

Some food manufacturers have begun to line their cans with natural resins but you’d have to do some sleuthing to figure out which cans contain those more natural linings because the practice of slapping the “natural” claim on food labels has rendered the term natural completely meaningless and even suspect. I see the natural claim and wonder, “What are they hiding?

Feeding ourselves should not require this much googling. When I buy pumpkin, I just want damn pumpkin.

A whole solution

Fortunately I can buy a whole, unadulterated fresh pumpkin and transform it into fabulous purée fairly easily. A whole sugar pie pumpkin will cook in a pressure cooker in minutes. Roasting in the oven takes longer but renders a richer flavor. I then either run the flesh through a food mill or my food processor. Of course, opening a can requires zero work but once you taste fresh pumpkin in this quick bread (or this pie), you’ll want to eat fresh pumpkin only.

And in other good news, within days after you stop eating canned food, your BPA levels drop quickly.

A pumpkin by any other name would taste as sweet

For this recipe, I use either a sugar pie pumpkin or kabocha squash. You could also use a combination of the two. Large jack-o-lantern type pumpkins contains too many strings, too much water and too little flavor for baking.

My daughter MK prefers kabocha squash over pumpkin and in fact, some canned pumpkin contains squash, not pumpkin. This kind of labeling may mislead a little bit but eating squash instead of pumpkin poses no health risks. I don’t feel the need to schedule a blood test to detect my squash levels, after all. And even if a test could detect my squash levels, pumpkins are a type of squash, so…

If you prefer a more vivid orange color in your pumpkin sourdough quick bread, choose a kabocha squash. Kabocha squash are also known as Japanese pumpkins so you have a few name choices for this recipe if your bake with kabocha:

  • Kabocha sourdough quick bread
  • Japanese pumpkin sourdough quick bread
  • Dessert
A loaf of pumpkin sourdough quick bread in a loaf pan on a white and grey marble background. Above it are a sugar pie pumpkin and a kabocha squash.
This loaf contains pumpkin purée but the green kabocha squash also tastes delicious

Make a dent in your sourdough discard jar

When I started baking sourdough, I couldn’t bring myself to waste the starter left over from feedings. Over time, I came up with a bunch of recipes to use it up.

One loaf of this quick bread calls for ½ cup of discard—more than I add to my discard jar per feeding, which helps keep that jar manageable. Do your part and bake this yummy quick bread to prevent food waste!

SOS: Save our seeds!

Reduce more food waste by roasting the pumpkin seeds for a delicious seasonal treat. After I cook my whole pumpkin, I cut it in half, scoop out the seeds and save them to roast. Roast them at the same time as you bake this sourdough pumpkin quick bread and you’ll conserve energy too.

Kabocha seeds can be a little too thick and wonky to snack on, in which case, I compost them. This year, I’ve also saved some to plant next year. To save seeds for planting, cut the pumpkin or squash in half and remove the seeds before cooking.

A large bowl containing the dry ingredients for pumpkin sourdough quick bread. The bowl is sitting on a grey and white marble background and is surrounded by the other ingredients in small bowls and measureing cups.
The kabocha squash version
Sourdough pumpkin quick bread batter in a metal loaf pan sitting on a grey and white marble background
Kabocha squash quick bread batter about to bake
Pumpkin sourdough quick bread in a metal loaf pan cooling on a metal rack sitting on a marble background
Kabocha squash quick bread cooling
Close up of slices of pumpkin sourdough quick bread on a wooden cutting board
Note the more orangey color the kabocha squash rendered
A sliced loaf of pumpkin sourdough quick bread on a wooden cutting board with a towel on its upper left and blue plate with a slice on its lower right
The sugar pie pumpkin version has little orange color but all the flavor

Even if you double this recipe, you may have leftover pumpkin or squash purée. Use it to make this pumpkin dal, pumpkin pasta, add it to Shop-the-Fridge Soup or freeze the pumpkin to use later. If you’d like a vegan pumpkin or squash dessert, check out my sourdough discard vegan pumpkin-ginger cake. I based it on a Depression-era wacky cake.

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5 from 1 vote

Pumpkin and Spice Sourdough Discard Quick Bread

Servings: 1 loaf


  • cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large pastured eggs
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin or kabocha squash purée
  • ½ cup sourdough starter discard straight from the refrigerator, see Note
  • cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil plus extra to grease the loaf pan


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan with olive oil.
  • In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda and baking powder.
  • In a large bowl, beat the eggs until light. Add the sugar, mixing well. Stir in the pumpkin purée, starter and olive oil.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and stir just until well combined.
  • Scrape the batter into the pan and bake for 55 to 65 minutes, until a fork inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a rack to cool completely.


My sourdough starter is a 100 percent hydration starter, meaning it contains equal parts water and flour by weight.

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11 Replies to “Pumpkin and Spice Sourdough Discard Quick Bread”

  1. Looks and sounds delicious…unfortunately I am going to have to wait until your next sourdough masterclass I am 14 hrs in front of you 6am is a tad early for me …

    1. Thank you Carol. I will schedule the next one for the morning my time so you can join at a reasonable time there 🙂

      1. Look forward to it Anne-Marie…Thank you 🙂

  2. Such a great recipe – thank you for sharing! I baked this into muffins using a buttercup squash that I purchased at the farmers market this past weekend. They turned out moist and delicious 🙂

    1. Thank you for letting me know that they work well as muffins! I’m so glad you liked them 🙂

  3. I was just imagining a pumpkin sourdough discard bread today and happened upon your recipe. Can’t wait to try it. Will have to wait a couple days now because I just used all my starter discard on an oat bran sourdough starter muffin recipe.

    1. I’m glad you found it, Rachel. I am in the same boat at the moment—low on discard. Enjoy your muffins! They sound really good 🙂

  4. How large is your can of pumpkin? I have a couple of sizes in my pantry.

    1. I made the purée with a fresh pumpkin. A 15-ounce can of pumpkin contains a little less than 2 cups and you’ll need 1 cup for a loaf of this quick bread.

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