The Brellis House


Sourdough Cranberry Pumpkin Bagels

Posted on November 13th, 2013 by Dan

Pumpkin pumpkin pumpkin. Yes, we know.

Summer is over and it’s time to take advantage of local pumpkins in Maryland. I’ve made a few yummy pumpkin desserts and soups and such, but haven’t added it to bread… yet. Well, now I have. But first, let me suggest to you, freezing pumpkin, in an ice cube tray. Throw two tablespoons of puree into each ice mold, freeze, then pop them into a freezer bag. The result: 12 cubes of 1 ounce pumpkin which you can use on a moments notice to add in bread, pancakes, milkshakes… the list goes on.

Pumpkin puree to freeze in ice cube trays. The Brellis House

Pumpkin is a bread bakers friend. It can be substituted cup for cup for water and can also be used to enrich dough, in lieu of egg. Ever since I made myself a sourdough starter I have wanted to make sourdough bagels. Originally, I thought my first ones would be sourdough blueberry bagels, but the extra moisture in the blueberries scared me, so those will have to wait until the spring.

Sourdough cranberry pumpkin bagel with pumpkin spice cream cheese - The Brellis House

These bagels are great. They are rich, slightly sweet from the cranberry, chewy and take really really well to pumpkin spice cream cheese. For the cream cheese, mix about 2 tsp of cinnamon and 1/4 tsp of nutmeg and allspice each into an 8 oz tube of your favorite vegan cream cheese and blend.

Sourdough cranberry pumpkin bagel - The Brellis House

I hope you make these and enjoy them. They take two days with the sourdough, but worth the time, for sure. Let me know what you think and what else you like to do with pumpkin.


  • 5 oz sourdough starter (100% hydration)
  • 11 oz bread flour
  • 3 oz whole wheat flour
  • 7 oz warm water
  • 8 oz pumpkin puree
  • 0.5 – 1 oz water (optional)
  • 18 oz bread flour
  • 0.5 oz barley malt syrup
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 0.7 oz salt
  • 4.5 oz dried cranberry


  1. The day before you plan to make the bagels, make the firm sourdough starter by mixing the 5 oz of 100% hydration sourdough with 11 oz bread flour, 3 oz whole wheat flour and 7 oz of water. Mix until it forms a ball, knead briefly, then coat the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic and let rest for 4 hours. Then lightly degas, reform into a ball. Place this ball back into an oiled bowl, cover with plastic and refrigerate over night.
  2. The next day, an hour before making the dough, remove the starter from the fridge, cut into small pieces, place on a silpat and cover with plastic to allow to warm up a bit.
  3. Mix the rest of the bread flour (18 oz) with the salt and yeast. Add the pumpkin puree and malt syrup and mix until a ball forms. Add in the cranberries and switch to hand kneading (or use the hook attachment of your stand mixer) and knead until everything is incorporated, all the flour is hydrated and it feels pliable, but not tacky. Add more water if you need to allow everything to mix together, but a firm dough will yield a chewier, more shapely bagel. It is often easier to let the dough rest a few minutes and knead again a few times to ensure everything is mixed and the gluten is developed.
  4. Immediately divide the dough into 4.5 – 5 oz balls (mine were 4.8 oz) for 12 bagels. Let these balls rest a few minutes, then shape into bagels with whichever method you prefer. For shaping, I like to take the ball of dough and force my finger through the center, stretching it out, remembering the dough with expand and shrink the hole some when it is boiled.
  5. From here, I brushed the bagels with oil, covered with plastic and let rest in a cool part of the house for 2 hours to bake that day. Alternatively, in theory, you should be able to brush with oil, cover and retard in the fridge overnight. The goal is to not allow them to rise so that they get puffy, otherwise you end up with wrinkly, malformed bagels.
  6. When ready to bake, bring a large pot of water to boil, dissolve a 1-2 tsp of baking soda and 1 tsp of sugar in the water. Have the oven at 500°F with a steam tray in place. With my 12 bagels, I decided to bake in two batches, so I boiled my first 6 (two at a time), for 2 minutes (one minute per side). Then I placed these 6 on a baking sheet lined with my silpat and placed in the oven. I immediately threw about a cup of water on the steam tray and closed the door. After 30 seconds, I spray the bagels with a spray bottle of water and closed the door, repeating this 2 more times. After the last time I set the timer for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, I rotated the baking sheet, reduced the heat to 450°F and baked for an additional 4-6 minutes, until they were golden.
  7. After the bagels were finished, I removed them to a cooling rack, brushed lightly with melted butter and repeated the process with the remaining 6.
  8. Let cool and then serve with pumpkin spice cream cheese- vegan, of course.

Cranberry Soda, Homemade

Posted on January 5th, 2013 by Dan

cranberry-sodaHappy 2013 to all. For the holidays we experimented with making sodas. We’ve already had amazing success with ginger beer, so I decided to do a cranberry version. I made two batches, augmenting the original ginger beer recipe differently. Cranberry Soda #1 is all cranberry, while #2 is more like a sparkling cranberry lemonade. The recipes are below and you can just follow the directions from the ginger beer post. Both are great on their own or mixed with some sake or vodka as a cocktail on ice.

Cranberry Soda #1


  • 22.5 oz water
  • 6.75 oz cranberry juice
  • 6.75 oz simple syrup
  • 1/8 tsp champagne yeast

Cranberry Soda #2


  • 22.5 oz water
  • 6.75 oz simple syrup
  • 4.5 oz lemon juice
  • 2.25 oz cranberry juice
  • 1/8 tsp champagne yeast

NOTE: You can mix an additional 2 oz water with 1/4 oz simple syrup to top the bottles, until ~2.5″ space is left at the head.



Sourdough Adventures I

Posted on March 28th, 2012 by Dan

With my successful sourdough starter, I couldn’t wait to try it out. I decided to re-create my favorite bread flavor combination, one from a cafe where I used to work- a sourdough cranberry pecan.

Cranberry Pecan Sourdough Bread

The taste overall was delicious, toasted pecans and plump cranberries. The bread wasn’t very ‘sour’, but I think that’s because my starter is so new. Also, since I was in a rush, I didn’t let the bread rest the full 4 hours, so that took away from some flavor development too. I used this recipe for guidance from Allrecipes. Some suggestions:

  1. I used about 3/4 of the cranberries called for.
  2. Incorporating the dough with the starter was a big pain, I’d suggest combining the starter with the flour, water and salt at the start.
  3. I baked my bread in a dutch oven at 450°F for 20 minutes covered, then another 10 minutes uncovered, until the inside of the bread hit between 190-200°F.

Cranberry Pecan Sourdough Bread

I’m already getting ready to start baking another bread, this time with a 3 day cold ferment process, so it should be full of flavor. The recipe I’ll be trying out this weekend is from Ovenmitts blog.