As the temperatures drop, connecting with your ladies at home seems so much more desirable (and less expensive) than a night out. This delicious version of friendship bread (where you share some of the ongoing starters with friends) gives you a reason to spend a little quality time together. And baking can be a very relaxing form of self-care.

The natural bacteria and heat in the air help create a process that ferments the bread starter and creates natural yeast. This starter can be used in any sourdough bread recipe. The sourdough bread itself only consists of a few natural ingredients, which makes it much better than many store-bought breads that are highly processed and contain unnecessary additives. The long rise time makes this bread easier to eat because the yeast and bacteria combination pre-digests the starch in the grains.

And although it might be basic AF, nothing says fall like the smell of pumpkin spice. Pumpkin spice, also known as pumpkin pie spice, generally consists of a combination of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and sometimes allspice. Pumpkins are high in vitamin A, and the spices have circulation, anti-inflammation and digestive benefits. Not to mention the antioxidants.

Ingredients (wild-fermented sourdough starter)

  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • The same amount of the ingredients above, enough for five days of feeding total

Directions (wild-fermented sourdough starter)

  1. 1. Begin by whisking flour and water together in a large bowl. 
  2. 2. Cover with a kitchen towel or plate.
  3. 3. Place in a warm location in your kitchen; behind the stove is a great spot. I ended up placing mine next to a Himalayan salt lamp on my kitchen counter. 
  4. 4. Every day for five days, stir in another 1/4 cup of flour and 1/4 cup of water to "feed" the starter.
  5. 5. By day 3 you should see bubbles forming on the top of the starter and it will start to have a yeast-like smell; that's how you know the fermentation process is working.
  6. 6. Your starter will be ready to use at Day 5; keep feeding it every day to keep it alive and you will have a never-ending supply of sourdough bread starter.
  7. 7. To share the starter with a friend, place 1/4 cup in a jar or plastic zipper-lock bag along with the instructions for feeding and maintaining the starter. Always reserve at least 1/4 cup for yourself to keep it going.
  8. 8. If you're not ready to use your starter, or just have too much to use at that time, you can refrigerate or freeze it for later use. When you're ready to use it, let it get to room temperature and feed it one more day, before using it the next day to make your bread.

Ingredients (pumpkin spice sourdough bread)

  • 4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup sourdough starter
  • 1/2 cup agave, honey or maple syrup
  • 3/4 cups organic canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup room temperature water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • Additional flour for kneading

Directions (pumpkin spice sourdough bread)

  1. 1. Stir all dry ingredients together until fully incorporated. Add wet ingredients and stir with a fork until fully combined.
  2. 2. Let rest uncovered for 20 minutes.
  3. 3. Lightly coat a bowl with olive oil. Make sure the bowl is big enough to allow your bread dough to double in size.
  4. 4. Generously flour a clean surface and knead dough by hand for 5-10 minutes. This is a sticky dough so you might need to continually add flour to both the top of the bread and your kneading surface.
  5. 5. Shape dough into a ball and place in the oiled bowl, then flip it over so both sides are covered in the olive oil. 
  6. 6. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for six hours (until it has doubled in size.)
  7. 7. Remove bread from the oiled bowl and place on parchment paper. (Reshape into a ball if needed.) 
  8. 8. Cover loosely with a wet towel and allow to rise for another hour.
  9. 9. When thirty minutes are left in your time for the second rising, put a cast iron dutch oven (with the lid) in the oven and preheat on 400 degrees for the remaining 30 minutes.
  10. 10. Very carefully place the dough (still on the parchment paper) in your dutch oven and put the lid back on the dutch oven.
  11. 11. Bake for 40 minutes. 
  12. 12. Remove the bread from the dutch oven and let cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before serving.
  13. 13. Enjoy!