Skip to Content

Braided Sourdough Wreath Bread With Pumpkin, Cranberries, and Pecans

I may receive commission if you purchase through links in this post.

This vibrant, cozy braided sourdough wreath bread is here to welcome back the sun as the days grow longer yet again.

Long Pinterest graphic with text, showing two photos of a festive sourdough wreath with cranberry, pecan, and rosemary garnish.

Here in the Northern hemisphere it’s the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, and that which marks the true beginning of winter. 

I’m always moved by how our natural world works. Even though the night is long, and the winter weather has yet to pummel us with its full force, we can count on the sun returning. At the solstice there is hope for new growth and rejuvenation. We are reminded to let go of the past and move forward into the light of a new cycle. 

A braided sourdough wreath with festive decorations.

A Sourdough Wreath and What It Symbolizes 

The wreath is a continuous circle — just like our seasons, its beginning is its end.

Not unlike our sourdough cultures, which are perpetually fed, and used, and fed again. Fittingly this sourdough bread happens to be the color of a fiery sun!

The wreath’s symbolic shape is well-loved throughout history. Wreaths adorn our heads, our doors, and our tables. They remind us of the bounty of the natural world and please us with their embracing shape. 

A close-up of a braided sourdough wreath.

The circle shape has other important significances. It is the shape of our earth, sun, and moon. The shape of our bodies when they carry new life. The shape of the wheel of the year, and most importantly the best shape for gathering people together in community or feast.  

If you make this bread, think of it as a way to harness the good intentions that new beginnings can foster. Use it to connect to those you love. Set it in the center of your table and circle around!

A festive, bright orange sourdough wreath with cranberry, pecan, and rosemary garnish.

A festive, bright orange sourdough wreath with cranberry, pecan, and rosemary garnish.

Braided Sourdough Wreath Bread

Yield: 36 Servings
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 16 hours
Total Time: 17 hours 30 minutes

This recipe makes a large 14-inch braided sourdough wreath that is perfect for sharing with those you love!


  • 520 grams (2 cups) roasted winter squash or pumpkin purée
  • 250 grams (1 cup after stirring down) active sourdough starter, 100% hydration
  • 3 eggs (180 grams)
  • 130 grams (1/2 cup) milk
  • 130 grams (1/2 cup) heavy cream
  • 40 grams (1/4 cup) coconut sugar
  • 15 grams (2 teaspoons) salt
  • 420 grams (3 cups) organic sifted whole wheat flour (this is similar to a whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 420 grams (3 cups) organic bread flour
  • 230 grams (2 cups) dried cranberries
  • 250 grams (2 cups) raw pecans
  • 56 grams (4 tablespoons) butter  

Egg Wash

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons water


The Night Before (Mixing and Bulk Ferment)

    1. In an extra-large bowl combine the pumpkin, starter, eggs, milk, cream, sugar, and salt. Use a dough whisk to combine these ingredients well.
    2. Whisk in the flour until completely combined. The dough will be fairly sticky. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
    3. Fold in the cranberries and pecans.
    4. Using the dough whisk, do a modified stretch and fold in the bowl by lifting the dough up on one side with the whisk and folding it back over itself. Repeat this several times, turning the bowl 90 degrees every time. Let the dough rest again for 5 minutes.
    5. Repeat the modified stretch and fold several times, resting between each series, until the dough has become smooth and elastic.
    6. Cover the dough with a lid or plastic wrap and let it ferment for 8 to 10 hours (overnight) at room temperature (65 to 70℉).

The Next Morning (Shaping, Proofing, and Baking)

  1. Cut a large square of parchment paper and set it near your work surface.
  2. Generously flour your work surface.
  3. With wet hands gently deflate the fermented dough in the bowl by doing a gentle stretch and fold preshaping. Lift the dough and fold it over itself, turning the bowl after each fold, allowing the dough to gather in a loose ball.
  4. Turn the dough ball out onto the floured surface and let it rest for a few minutes.
  5. Flour the top and sides of the dough lightly and start patting it into a long narrow rectangle.
  6. Once the dough is about 24 inches long use a bench scraper or knife to cut it lengthwise in thirds. Flour each third lightly.
  7. Starting at one end braid the dough snugly.
  8. When you reach the end of the braid, pinch the strands together and tuck the ends under to make a nice clean end. Do this to the starting end as well.
  9. Carefully move the braid to the parchment paper and shape it into a wreath, bringing the two ends together to touch. Cover the wreath with a towel and let it rise until doubled.
  10. Once doubled, preheat your oven to 375℉ with a baking stone inside. If you don't have a baking stone, see notes.
  11. Melt the butter and brush it over the braid.
  12. Use a pizza peel or pan to transfer the wreath into the oven, leaving it on the parchment paper.
  13. Bake the loaf for 25 minutes.
  14. Combine the egg yolk and water. Open the oven and gently brush the top and sides of the wreath with egg wash.
  15. Continue baking for 5 to 10 more minutes.
  16. Remove the wreath from the oven and let it cool on two cooling racks pushed together.


How Do I Store the Wreath?

The wreath bread is best eaten within 24 hours of baking. Because the dough contains eggs, the leftover bread is best stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

If you have leftovers it is great toasted!

Can the Dough Be Shaped Differently?

Yes! This dough can be shaped into two smaller wreaths, two loaves, buns, and more!

Can I Substitute Flours?

Yes! The sifted whole wheat flour in the recipe can be substituted for all-purpose flour or any other whole grain wheat flour. Just make sure you use the full amount of bread flour or the dough will not rise as intended.

I Don't Have a Baking Stone, Can I Substitute Another Pan?

Yes! You can shape the wreath on a large flat baking sheet or pizza pan. If you don't have an oven or bakeware to accommodate such a large wreath you can make two smaller wreaths by dividing the dough in half, shaping each half into an 18-inch rectangle, and following the same braiding steps as above.

A braided sourdough wreath with text overlay.


Saturday 24th of December 2022

This looks wonderful! I want to make it for Christmas. Can I ferment it in the fridge to adjust my timing? At what point in the process would I do that?

Butter For All

Friday 30th of December 2022

Hi Emily!

I apologize for the slow response. I desperately needed a little break from technology. I hope you were able to make this recipe. And to answer your question, yes, almost all sourdough recipes can be delayed with a cold ferment. I would suggest a cold bulk ferment, but you could also refrigerate after shaping if you have the room. Again, I'm sorry I wasn't able to respond before the holiday.


Skip to Recipe