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Quick Butternut Squash Sourdough

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This Quick Butternut Squash Sourdough recipe is simple: combine buckwheat flour, water organic apples and a pinch of active yeast to create a pre-ferment on day one. Then on day two mix your bread ingredients with the pre-ferment and let your bread dough rise for a couple of hours. Bake your loaf at 450 degrees F until crispy on the outside. Find the recipe at

This Quick Butternut Squash Sourdough recipe with video excites me for many reasons! I’m thrilled to finally share it! This simplified process was developed to help you make your first gluten-free vegan sourdough.

It’s hard to believe that we can bake such a great loaf with so few ingredients. There’s ten in total, not counting the water.

Baking this recipe is fun plus it tastes great! Modify this nutritious loaf to meet your dietary restrictions. I’ve even tested a grain-free version that I will share with you in the near future!

Fresh is Real

If you’ve been following me for a while now, you’ve noticed that I love to create bread recipes. It’s become my mission to bake up loaves, treats and meals that are safe for my mostly plant-based and allergen-friendly online community.

The bread recipes on this website are not the same as store-bought squishy white loaves—and, I’m ok with that! These allergen-friendly bread recipes are so much better! Zero preservatives, no gums, and no junk! Plus they are corn-free, legume-free and free of all top allergens.

This Quick Butternut Squash Sourdough recipe is simple: combine buckwheat flour, water organic apples and a pinch of active yeast to create a pre-ferment on day one. Then on day two mix your bread ingredients with the pre-ferment and let your bread dough rise for a couple of hours. Bake your loaf at 450 degrees F until crispy on the outside. Find the recipe at

Simplified Process

There are many ways to mix, rise, refrigerate, and bake this Quick Butternut Squash Sourdough recipe. For now, I’ve listed the most straightforward instructions to help you prepare this sourdough. Once you try the recipe a couple of times, then you can play around with timing, refrigeration, toppings, decoration, and baking.

Simplifying the process was important as I realize that not everyone loves to be in the kitchen. And, not everyone has baked a loaf of bread before. Additionally, gluten-free baking is a whole other beast, and doing so without allergens increases the challenges.

I hope you will give this quicker gluten-free vegan bread recipe a try. If you have any questions along the way, please let me know.

This Quick Butternut Squash Sourdough recipe is simple: combine buckwheat flour, water organic apples and a pinch of active yeast to create a pre-ferment on day one. Then on day two mix your bread ingredients with the pre-ferment and let your bread dough rise for a couple of hours. Bake your loaf at 450 degrees F until crispy on the outside. Find the recipe at

The Pre-Ferment

This process requires mixing a few ingredients for the pre-ferment on day one. You have the option of using organic apples or grapes, and I’ve even tried rhubarb. Testing rhubarb was interesting, but apples and grapes work best.

Cutting the apple and grapes into smaller pieces is important because you will leave them in to bake the bread. You don’t have to keep them in, but it does add nice bits of fruit into each slice. Perhaps leaving them in larger pieces would make them easier to remove if you don’t want them.

The reason I add fruit to the pre-ferment is to encourage different bacteria to speed up the quick fermentation. It also can help to make the pre-ferment a little sweeter and less sour-smelling.

Please remember to use clean filtered or spring water. You don’t want to introduce unwanted bacteria into your ferment by using city tap water. We want the good bacteria, that floats around in your kitchen while your pre-ferment transforms into happy, bubbly active yeast. 

A Pinch of Yeast

You’ll notice that I do add a pinch of active dry yeast to the pre-ferment. I know, I know, it’s not the real way of preparing sourdough, but I do include an option with all-natural wild yeast in the instructions.

Remember this recipe was developed to help new sourdough bakers ease into gluten-free and all-natural bread baking. This recipe is a great one to start with if you or a family member has to change their eating lifestyle to gluten-free, plant-based, vegan and allergen-friendly!

Baking Tools

As for baking this particular loaf, there are many ways to achieve excellent results. At this time, start with this more straightforward method with the tools you have on hand.

This mixture doesn’t require hand kneading, a mixer, or fancy equipment but a Dutch oven, bread pan or baking stone can be very useful.

If you don’t have any of these, you could probably bake the loaf directly onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, but you might have to reduce the water quantity to a little less so your bread doesn’t go flat.

Baking Ring Hack

Please give the baking ring hack a try. The details to make a baking ring are listed in the recipe instructions and video. Using the ring will help contain your dough.

It’s a simple baking trick to encourage your dough to bake up nice and high. Doing so will create larger slices of bread rather than skinny little biscotti-looking pieces.

This Quick Butternut Squash Sourdough recipe is simple: combine buckwheat flour, water organic apples and a pinch of active yeast to create a pre-ferment on day one. Then on day two mix your bread ingredients with the pre-ferment and let your bread dough rise for a couple of hours. Bake your loaf at 450 degrees F until crispy on the outside. Find the recipe at

Baking Extras

If you do get to bake this sourdough recipe, with time, you will get better at tweaking your version. You might sprinkle the top with seeds or herbs and score it with a line. One might even add more seeds or fruit into the mixture.

Rising your dough into a smaller bowl lined with a tea towel sprinkled with flour is also a great way to contain and shape your loaf while it’s growing in size. Some use a banneton basket for this part of the process. I don’t have one.

Adding Steam

Spraying a soft mist of water to the top of your loaf just before closing the lid to bake is also a method I occasionally use.

If you don’t have a Dutch oven, you can even create some steam in your oven. Add a few ice cubes to a baking tray and place it on the bottom rack to create the perfect baking environment.

GFV Baking Facebook Group

Please join my Facebook Group if you love to bake as much as I do!

Each week we welcome new people from all over the world. This GFV Baking group was set up to help members troubleshoot challenging allergen-friendly baking questions for my recipes, or their own, that require a little tweaking. It’s also where I share my newest creations like this Quick Butternut Squash Sourdough recipe before anyone else sees them on the blog.

This group is a great place to share ideas, tips and tricks about baking without gluten, dairy, eggs, or other top allergens. Below are some of the recipes that we discuss:

Not Into Bread? No problem!

Even though I like to bake many fresh recipes are also developed regularly. This Easy Asparagus Salad was my latest creation. It’s a simple 5-ingredient salad + 5-ingredient dressing that is nutritious and delicious!

Share Your Creations

I hope you bake this Quick Butternut Squash Sourdough recipe! If you do, take a picture, and share it with us! Tag it @freshisreal_ #freshisreal

And, don’t forget to rate and comment on your experience below.

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This Quick Butternut Squash Sourdough recipe is simple: combine buckwheat flour, water organic apples and a pinch of active yeast to create a pre-ferment on day one. Then on day two mix your bread ingredients with the pre-ferment and let your bread dough rise for a couple of hours. Bake your loaf at 450 degrees F until crispy on the outside. Find the recipe at

Quick Butternut Squash Sourdough

  • Author: Chantal | Fresh is Real
  • Prep Time: Day 1 - 10 minutes, Day 2: 30 minutes + 2-4 hours (hands-off time)
  • Cook Time: 55-60 minutes
  • Total Time: 3+ hours
  • Yield: 1 loaf
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Oven-baked
  • Cuisine: Allergen-Friendly, Plant-Based, Gluten-Free, Vegan
  • Diet: Gluten Free


A gluten-free sourdough loaf usually requires creating a wild yeast starter. That process can often take at least seven days. This version is a little quicker. On day one you will prepare a pre-ferment (10 minutes). Day two is for mixing the rest of your ingredients (30 minutes), letting your dough rise (2-4 hours), then baking the bread (1 hour). To bake this recipe, you will need a Dutch oven, bread pan or baking stone. With the help of some unbleached parchment paper and a little baking rink hack, your gluten-free loaf should not go flat!



1 cup buckwheat flour, divided*
1/3 cup organic green apple, diced**
(or organic grapes, quartered)
1 cup water, divided
1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast***


1 cup sorghum flour 1 cup oat flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup arrowroot flour
1 tablespoon psyllium husk, whole
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast***
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup cooked butternut squash, mashed****
1-1/4 cup pre-ferment*****
1 cup water, room temperature/warm******


Before you begin, please watch the how-to video.

Day 1 (morning) – pre-ferment 

  • In a glass jar, combine 1/2 cup of buckwheat flour, 1/3 cup of chopped apples, 1/2 cup of water and 1/8 teaspoon of active dry yeast. Mix well, cover the top with a coffee filter (thin cloth or double lined cheesecloth) and secure with an elastic band. Keep in a warm place in your kitchen.

Day 1 (afternoon) – pre-ferment 

  • Add 1/2 cup of buckwheat flour to your pre-ferment jar along with 1/2 cup water, mix well, cover and keep on the counter until later.

Day 1 (bedtime) – pre-ferment 

  • Move your pre-ferment jar to the refrigerator overnight. *******

Day 2 – bread

  1. Remove your pre-ferment from the fridge.
  2. If you don’t already have cooked or canned squash on hand, prepare some for the following steps.
  3. To a large mixing bowl, sift and add all your dry ingredients and mix well. Don’t forget to mix or else everything will clump up once you add the wet ingredients.
  4. Add olive oil, squash, pre-ferment and mix a little.
  5. Add 1/2 cup of water to start and mix, add the other 1/2 cup and keep mixing. It’s important that all ingredients are well combined. If the dough seems a little dry, add another 1/4 cup of water, mix, and that should help.
  6. Cover your bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm area of your kitchen. Let dough rise for at least 2 hours, up to 4 hours.
  7. After the 2-hour mark, you can start preheating your oven to 450 degrees F. If you have a Dutch oven pre-heat it at the same time. You will want your oven to be hot for baking. I recommend a minimum of at least 30 minutes.
  8. Once the oven is hot, and your dough has increased in size, you can start preparing for the next step.
  9. With the help of a large plate, place your flat sheet of parchment paper on top, then your baking ring, and transfer your dough to inside the ring. Optional: you can sprinkle your loaf with a little flour and score the top.
  10. Now pick up the flat sheet with baking ring and dough on top (moving carefully) and transfer your dough to your preheated Dutch oven. Be careful the Dutch oven will be hot!
  11. Cover and bake in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes, then 25 minutes uncovered, and finally 5-10 minutes with the loaf directly on the rack without parchment paper. You will know that your bread is ready when you tap it and it sounds crispy and harder to the touch. On average 60 minutes is enough.
  12. Let cool completely! Do not give in to the temptation of cutting into it too soon! Letting it cool for a few hours is necessary! Enjoy!


* You can sub buckwheat flour for brown rice, sorghum, or even millet flour. ** You can leave the skin on the apple. Cut the apple into small bite-size pieces; you will be leaving the apples in to bake. If you don’t want apple pieces in your recipe, just cut a few larger pieces. That way they will be easier to remove. You can score your large apple pieces to facilitate the wild yeast magic. *** For an alternative to active yeast, add 2 tablespoons of active gluten-free brown rice starter to the pre-ferment. For the bread part, simply leave out the 1/2 teaspoon of active yeast. The rising time might vary on this version. **** In a pinch you can use pumpkin purée, mashed sweet potato or even canned squash. To cook squash, I dice 1-inch pieces and cook them in water. If you want to use the cooking water for the bread recipe add about 2 cups to start, some of it will evaporate when cooking. In which case you can add more regular water for the recipe. ***** The pre-ferment should make about 1-1/4 cup, if yours made a little extra, use it, and then adjust the water you add to a little less. ****** You can use spring, filtered water or reserve the squash cooking water. Start with adding 1/2 cup water to your bread ingredients and mix. Add more water if the dough is too dry, up to a total of 1-1/4 cups. ******* If you forget to transfer your pre-ferment to the fridge, don’t worry. I’ve tried it both ways without problems. Moving it to the refrigerator slows down the fermentation

Important If you must avoid gluten, please make sure all your ingredients are certified gluten-free. If using a Dutch oven while baking this recipe, please make sure that the handle of your pot is oven safe.

How to store This bread can be stored on the counter, covered with a tea towel for at least one day. Transfer to the refrigerator in a bag or glass-covered dish for up to 5 days. Slice and freeze your bread if you want to save it for a more extended period.

Flour substitutions You can replace buckwheat, sorghum or oat flour with millet or brown rice. The recipe tested and shared is the combination that I feel works best for this loaf.

Baking tools – Dutch oven, a bread pan or baking stone – Unbleached parchment paper – 8 to 9-inch baking paper ring hack (or springform pan with the bottom removed) – 1 (or 2) 12 to 14-inch flat unbleached parchment paper sheet(s)

To make the baking ring hack You will need: One (1) 8 to 9-inch parchment paper ring (or springform pan to fit in your Dutch oven) – Cut a piece (about 28 inches wide) of unbleached parchment paper. Fold in half (lengthwise) and then in half again to create a thicker band. Once folded, connect the two ends to form a ring (the size of a small head) and staple on the outside. See post pictures for example.

Additional baking instructions

To bake with a Dutch oven: Follow recipe instructions (see above). To bake in a bread pan: You will need to line the bread pan with unbleached parchment paper and transfer the dough to the pan once ready to bake. You will not need a baking ring for this version. You do not need to preheat the pan. The total baking time for a loaf baked in a bread pan should be around 55-60 minutes. You don’t need to cover the loaf when baking. To bake with a baking stone: Place your parchment sheet with the baking ring and dough directly on top of the preheated baking stone. The total baking time should be around 55-60 minutes. This method might create a crisper bottom but should work. Please note that I haven’t tested this method with this recipe but have for other similar recipes.

Keywords: Gluten-Free Bread, Vegan Bread, GF Vegan Sourdough, Quick GF Sourdough Bread


  1. This looks really yummy Chantal and I am interested in trying the pre-ferment. I am puzzled by something. The recipe states 1 cup of water for the pre-ferment but does not include water at all in the very first step of mixing the 1/3 cup apples, 1/2 cup buckwheat and the yeast. Should it not be mixed with some water? Does it just stay dry like that until later when the 1/2 cup water is added?

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    • Hi Nancy! I just read the post, and you’re right, that detail (1/2 cup of water) was missing. Thank you for pointing it out! So yes, you should be mixing the first part of the pre-ferment with 1/2 cup of water. I will fix the post right away! Let me know if you try it! Chantal

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      • I tried it today Chantal with a few changes and it turned out great! I used teff to replace all the buckwheat and I also used only sourdough starter (teff) instead of yeast. One other change was the addition of 1/2 cup fresh cranberries cut in half with the chopped apple, just because I had them around and I love them. I found that I needed more water than the recipe called for, possibly due to using teff instead of buckwheat? Anyway, another great recipe. Thanks Chantal!

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        • Hi Nancy! Wow! You’re amazing! Your tweaks sound amazing and delicious, thank you for sharing them here with everyone! I’m testing bagels, muffins and cookies today! More for you to try 😉

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          • Thanks Chantal. I was wondering about something regarding the squash bread I made. I find it a little bland tasting and am wondering if it’s because of the teff? Or perhaps the teff is a denser flour that by weight was more than the buckwheat would have been, which is why I needed more water, therefore diluting the dough somewhat?

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          • Hi Nancy! Did you add a little salt to your loaf? Adding a good quality sea salt is important for flavour. I don’t think that adding teff would have made it blander. Did you add coconut sugar? You could also try adding a little molasses which compliments the teff flour really well.

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  2. Hi Chantal. Yes I added salt, though it doesn’t taste salty enough for me. I will try adding some coconut sugar or some type of sweetener next time. Thanks!

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Make sure the ingredients you purchase are prepared in a facility free from the top allergens YOU AVOID. Gluten-free products should be certified GF and clearly labelled. Consult your medical professional with your dietary questions.

Even certified gluten-free ingredients such as GF oats, corn, seeds, etc., can create health problems for individuals following a GF diet. Always consult a medical professional if unsure about ingredients for your needs.