Butternut squash bread with sourdough discard is a sweet treat that is perfect for a sweet treat or a family dessert.
Sometimes you just need something sweet for a little pick-me-up and today was one of those days for me. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to run off to the store to buy a sweet treat or dessert. Grocery stores are not my favorite places, so I try to avoid them as much as I can. Plus, it wouldn’t be cooking from scratch if you’re buying it from the store and cooking from scratch is what I’m all about.
Why Butternut Squash?
My favorite way to cook anything is to look at what I already have on hand. What caught my eye was some pie pumpkins and a butternut squash. The pie pumpkins are reserved for the traditional Thanksgiving pumpkin pie, so those were off limits. I’d rather be able to eat dinner without the angry looks of everyone because I didn’t bring the pie! (Just kidding, sort of. As long as I bring something else I’d be able to leave intact.)
That left the butternut squash. Don’t take that as complaining, I was more than happy to turn this delicious squash into a dessert to curb my craving!
If you don’t have butternut squash, using another winter squash will work just as well. Pie pumpkins and acorn squash come to mind as being particularly amazing baked into bread.
The second thing I noticed while looking around is that I had sourdough discard that needed to be used up. If you’ve ever had a sourdough starter you’ll know that you’re always dealing with discard. Creativity is a must when it comes to using it. I’m not perfect, and sometimes I end up throwing out the discard, but I hate wasting so I try hard to make it into something.
And there’s a huge list of somethings you can use it for! I’ll be posting more sourdough discard recipes soon.
Tonight that something is a dessert bread.
What if you don’t have a sourdough starter?
If you don’t have a sourdough starter and aren’t interested in starting one you can easily use equal parts water and flour as a replacement. Sourdough starters are made from equal parts water and flour, those are the only two ingredients, so replacing this with flour and water works great.
The only thing you’ll be missing out on is the wild yeast that makes the starter a real starter. Your bread may not rise as much and stay a little flatter than mine did, but it’ll still taste good. And honestly, when you’re baking for your family who cares what it looks like as long as it tastes good!
The hardest part of this whole process was waiting to try it. I made everyone wait until after dinner to give it a try. The temptation was real…
How to make butternut squash bread with sourdough discard
There is some preparation involved in making butternut squash bread with sourdough discard from scratch. This adds time to the dish, but using fresh squash is worth the extra time.
Preheat the oven to 350℉, 176℃.
Prepare the butternut squash
First I took the butternut squash (acorn squash, pumpkin, or whatever other winter squash would have worked as well) and sliced it in half. Once sliced, I removed all the seeds and the stringy part around them.
If you are using a squash that you are pretty confident was not cross pollinated with another type of squash, you can save these seeds to plant in next year’s garden. You can save them even if you’re not sure, but if cross pollination happened you can end up with a squash that is completely different than what you were hoping for and it may not taste very good.
Once the seeds were scooped out, I took the squash and sprayed it with some good quality olive oil, but avocado oil or another good quality oil would work too. Just avoid vegetable or canola oils as they are quite inflammatory.
Sprinkle the squash with a little salt and place them face down on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
Bake the Butternut Squash
Bake in the oven until soft. My squash took 50 minutes before it was done.
Test the squash with a fork to see if it’s done. If the fork slides in easily your squash is ready to come out. My fork slid in nicely in several places so I knew it was done.
I let it cool for 20-30 minutes so I could handle it to scoop out the flesh.
Once cooled, I scooped out the flesh and composted the skin (or you can toss it if you don’t have a way to compost it). To get the puree consistency needed to bake with it, either use an immersion blender or a regular blender to puree the squash. Otherwise, the flesh will be stringy and will give you an interesting texture that you may or may not like. I don’t, so I went ahead and blended it with my immersion blender (aff. link).
Most likely the squash will yield more puree than you need for this recipe. I measured out 1 cup of puree and put the rest in the fridge for the next butternut squash recipe I decide to make. Or just make a double batch of bread. You won’t be sorry if you do!
Mix the Ingredients
Place the 1 cup of puree in a mixing bowl, add 3 large eggs and mix thoroughly.
Next, I added in ½ cup of oil. Any neutral oil will work, but again I recommend staying away from vegetable and canola oils. I’m using avocado oil tonight, but coconut oil or a good quality light extra virgin olive oil would work just as well.
Add in 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract. Or if you’re like me add 2 teaspoons plus a generous splash. It’s my philosophy that you can’t add too much, so I almost always add a little more. This is my recipe and I still added more! I just can’t seem to help myself.
My recipe uses both brown sugar and granulated sugar, but you could use just one if you’d like. I put ¾ cup of each into the bowl and mixed until all of the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.
Then I folded in 1 cup of sourdough discard (or ½ cup flour, ½ cup water).
I can now add the dry ingredients: 2 ½ cups flour, 1 teaspoon each of baking powder, salt, and cinnamon, and ½ teaspoon each of nutmeg and ginger.
Make sure to mix until the flour is completely incorporated, but don’t over mix or your bread might be a little dense. This is where it always turns messy for me, so do your best to keep all the flour in the bowl but know it isn’t a requirement for great bread.
Bake the Butternut Squash Bread
The oven should still be heated to 350, 176 but if you turned it off after baking the squash preheat it again.
I was able to fit this batch into one bread pan but it was close. There was definitely worry that the bread would bubble over the sides while it was baking in the oven but that didn’t happen. One bread pan turned out to be perfect.
Grease the pan generously with oil or butter, either would work great, and poor the batter in.
Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes and then check on it. I ended up having to cook the bread for 1 hour and 45 minutes total, but it’s better to start checking on it early than let it go too late and have it burn.
You’ll also probably need to have a piece of aluminum foil ready to tent the bread so the outside doesn’t burn before the inside is completely cooked. I tented mine around the 1 hour mark.
The bread is done when you can insert a toothpick into the middle and it comes out clean.
Here’s where that hard part kicks in, let the bread cool before you cut into it. If you cut into it warm and don’t eat the whole thing, it can make the texture a little off. It’s best to wait if you can manage it.
If you wanted to, you could put some icing on the bread to add a bit more sweetness but I didn’t find that necessary. The bread was sweet, but not overly sweet, and to me that’s perfect.
Enjoy this delicious winter treat and give the butternut squash recipe a try!
- 1 cup butternut squash puree
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup avocado or other neutral oil
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup sourdough discard
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- Preheat oven to 350℉, 176℃
- If using a fresh butternut squash, cut squash in half and take out seeds
- Lightly coat the squash with oil and sprinkle with salt
- Bake for 50 minutes until fork slides through the squash meat easily.
- Scoop out the meat and puree with blender or immersion blender
- Measure out 1 cup of puree
- Mix puree and eggs in a mixing bowl
- Add oil, sugars, and vanilla to puree and mix thoroughly
- Fold in sourdough discard
- Add flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger
- Mix just until the dry ingredients are incorporated, be careful not to over mix
- Grease bread pan with oil or butter
- Pour bread batter into the pan
- Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until toothpick in the center comes out clean
Note: you may need to cover the bread with aluminum foil to prevent burning the outside before the inside is done. Start checking around 45 minutes and cover when the outside starts to get dark brown.