I decided to experiment with making pumpernickel bread. I first made a recipe many years ago after Gene and I first met and he bought me a beautiful Jenn-Air stove. This fancy appliance came with a nice cookbook and a recipe for pumpernickel bread was in it. It turned out great as far as I can remember and we served it with all of the fixins of a good German meal for Christmas that year.
However, I really wanted to use my sourdough starter and found a recipe in KAF’s (King Arthur Flour) files. I made it once with some changes and was not happy with the results. Why? See below for comments.
So, I was not going to be discouraged and the next week I made it again. It was absolutely delicious and I was extremely happy with the results especially when I served it with my Honey Butter.
Before I give you the recipe I would like to quote a couple of paragraphs within KAF’s recipe which gives you a little history of pumpernickel.
“Pumpernickel is an affectionate German name given in fun, both to the meal and the hearty breads made with it, to describe their effect on the digestive system. (“Pumpern” is the German word for “intestinal wind” and “nickel” is a word for demon or sprite.)
Pumpernickel flour is made with a coarse rye meal called pumpernickel, which is ground from the whole rye berry. This means it contains both the bran or outer covering of the rye berry and the germ or the oil-rich embryo which would have produced a new seedling had the rye berry been planted.
Sourdough Pumpernickel Bread, Adapted
Make your sponge the night before you want to serve your bread. Those of us who make bread know how good this extra step gives to the final outcome. I usually put it all together after dinner, place in a large bowl, cover it, turn on the light in my cool oven and put the bread in there to rise overnight. Some time the next morning I’ll continue on with the recipe.
- 1-1/3 cups sourdough starter (did you notice my sourdough starter container with Rosebud’s name on it?)
- 1 cup black coffee (or water you’ve boiled potatoes in)
- 2 cups pumpernickel flour
- 1/2 cup onion, minced very fine
Add the starter to a bowl, then add the cooled coffee, flour and onion. Stir together, cover and let it bubble away overnight.
- 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 dark, unsulphured molasses
- 4 cups (more or less) of unbleached APF (both times I made it I only needed 3 cups of flour)
- 1-1/2 tbsp. cocoa (I used Callebaut’s cocoa) I added this ingredient for a darker loaf in my second attempt
Stir the oil, salt and molasses into the sponge. Add the cocoa (if you want a darker loaf) and the flour one cup at a time until you have a dough you can knead. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding only enough more flour to keep it from being sticky. This step does not take very long. You want to knead it enough so you can take your hands away from it without bits of dough sticking to them. Don’t keep adding flour as a dough with rye flour in it never completely loses its tacky feel.
I greased my nice artisan pot, placed the dough inside it, covered it, turned the oven light on, and placed the bread inside the oven to rise. Usually if your home is about 65° to 70°F it can take 2 to 4 hours for the second rising. Do not hurry this rising – I let my dough rise for about 3 hours.
Bake in a 350°F oven for about 45 minutes if you are making a big loaf which is what I did. Two smaller loaves you probably would only need to bake them for 30 minutes.
The crust was a little crackly and would have benefited with a squirt or two of water on top before baking.
If I did not know better the picture on the right looks like chocolate mousse!
My first attempt and the mistakes I made:
1) I did not let it rise enough on the second rising; 2) used a lame – the dough was too sloppy to make some slashes on top; 3) I changed the cooking directions (temperature and time) 4) onions were not minced fine enough and 5) KAF’s directions were not real clear (written before 2008 and never updated) as was expressed by other bloggers and myself. I retyped it before I made my second loaf in my own words. I should have done that prior to making my first loaf. It was dense, rather chewy in the middle and overcooked on the outside!!!