Rye Pumpernickel bread is made from rye and wheat
flours. It's the rye flour however that is the most
interesting. The old traditional dark rye uses a coarse ground rye
flour or meal (which it is sometimes called) that is made from the whole
rye grain. It can be ground fine or medium and the coarse version is
what is commonly referred to as "Pumpernickel". If we were
talking about wheat flour, it would be like whole wheat.
Regular rye flour is made from just the
endosperm with the bran and germ removed, but Pumpernickel flour is made
with the whole grain and the ash content of the grain is what gives it the
distinctive dark color. This color can vary from brand to brand
depending on their method of milling.
Most of the modern examples of pumpernickel
bread include a mixture of rye and wheat flour and are darkened with
caramel coloring or cocoa so that they look like the original.
Old recipes for pumpernickel bread call for baking in steam at a low
heat for 2 hours or more. Flavors
develop as long slow cooking causes the natural sugar in rye flour
to darken and sweeten the bread.
Chocolate, spices, orange peel and
beer may be added and potatoes are often included because they help keep
the bread moist.
Rye Pumpernickel Bread Recipe
Makes 2 loaves
2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon Saf-Instant yeast
1 cup strong coffee, at room temperature
1/4 cup barley malt extract/syrup or sorghum syrup
2 tablespoons cocoa powder or carob powder
2 teaspoons sea salt
3 cups rye pumpernickel flour
2 cups whole wheat bread flour
2 cups unbleached bread flour
About 4 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup milk
In a large mixing bowl, combine water (not over
110° F) and yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes, or until the yeast is
dissolved. Stir in the coffee, barley malt, cocoa or carob powder, and sea
salt. When well combined, stir in the rye and whole wheat flours and as
much of the unbleached bread flour as you can work in before the dough
gets too stiff to stir. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface
and let rest for 5 minutes. Begin kneading in the remaining flour. Knead
for at least 10 minutes, or until the dough starts to get sticky.
Place in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise at room
temperature in a draft-free spot for about 2 hours, or until doubled in
Grease 2 baking sheets and dust each with 2 tablespoons
cornmeal or enough to generously cover. Set aside.
Punch down the dough and divide it in half. Shape each
half into a ball, molding the sides under and smoothing any edges
together. Place 1 loaf on each baking sheet. Cover and let rise in a warm
draft-free spot for about 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.
Preheat the Oven to 350°F. Slash the top of each loaf
in several places. Whisk together the egg and milk. Generously brush the
top surface of each loaf with egg wash. Bake for 1 hour or until deep
brown and crusty and it sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom. Remove
from the oven and cool on a wire rack.