There are two kinds of people in this world: those who LOVE pumpernickel bread and those who positively hate it.
I passionately love it.
My rye bread baking has taken a sabbatical while I root myself by refurnishing my tastebuds. I now chomp on round Finncrisp crisp breads -- called Knäckebröd (Cracker bread) in Swedish -- and have recently supplied up with traditional German made Pumpernickel.
Rye. Rye. Rye. All the way.
These rye offerings keep long time so once lardered up there's always a supply on hand.
However, I can say -- after many retail experiments -- that most of the rye breads on offer today are variably tasteless. If you want rye -- consume Knäckebröd or go for the real McCoy, Pumpernickel.
WARNING: Many breads sold as Pumpernickel are an American invention -- being both a mix of wheat and rye and a darkener fillers like molasses, coffee or even chocolate. But in Germany food laws govern Pumpernickel making.
Among the half way rye comboes -- the Bohemian rye is the best I reckon -- but it isn't Pumpernickel.There's a lot of wheat in there.
Pumpernickel is like an ANZAC biscuit without the sugar. Chewy, seemingly moist but dry with a wetness that holds the grains together as though they've been cold pressed into shape. It's as if a breakfast cereal was sat on by an elephant.
When baked traditionally the bread gets a long, slow baking, anywhere from 16 to 24 hours, at a temperature of 149 C in an oven with steam in it. During this long baking time, a Maillard reaction occurs between the sugars and the acids in the starter, which naturally darkens the bread.
I'm not ready to tackle a truly rooly Pumpernickel recipe as the traditional Westphalian (German) proofing process is amazing ritual that lasts for days. The most accessible recipe I've found is this one (LINK) but I'm not ready to tackle it -- not yet -- as rye is frustrating grain to work with.
It's gluten content is so low that it doesn't rise much at all.This is no doubt why pumpernickel is disliked by so many -- it is a stodgy loaf.
But I was cruising the web and came upon this Danish bake which has moved up my baking schedule.
Before you get all thingy, combining both yeast and sourdough is a standard hack for making this kind of 'Pumpernickel'. It may not be purist, but I reckon you have to start somewhere.
But the vid tells the true story -- 'tis a very wet business working with rye....and don't expect the loaf to rise and rise. That I know from my own experiments.
Good price given that it doesn't go stale...and tastes like Pumpernickel...and baked in Germany. 100% rye.
Forgive me for I know not what I do:
"Moonlighting at stand-up comedy, the baker was known for his rye humor."
Since I killed off my sourdough starter I found this Swedish recipe for one -- Surdegskultur (LINK).
I'm now on Day 4 of the process. Two to go.
I checked my weights and measures and converted the 50 gm of rye flour to 2 tablespoons of rye flour and 50 gm of water to 50 ml.
The initial two days of a bit of honey added to the mix really kicks things along.My starter is already bubbling away.
The page also comprises a informative article with some great tips.
The Danish Rye Bread (Rugbrød) I baked from the first video ('We Love Rye Bread') is seriously delicious. I used the second video ("Danish Rye Bread Redipe' in comments:LINK) for some adjustments -- like the valley in the middle of the top of the loaves. and the sense of the mix's texture (akin to making muffins rather than bread) to guide my hands.
Compared to many other bread baking processes I've attempted in the past this is easy -- so long as you have the Surdegskultur. Nonetheless, dry or fresh yeast is an OK workaround or supplementation.
First task, however, is get yourself some rye...
Unfortunately, outside of eating real German pumpernickel or Scandinavian rye bread -- you won't be exposed to the taste and texture of fermented baked goods like this. I have a few packs of imported German made traditional Pumpernickel and, compared to this recipe, it's a tad dry and crumbly, despite its professional background. The pumpernickel is also denser and sweeter due to the baking process.
But your everyday, bake-at-home, Rugbrød: Always filling. Low on the Glycemic Index. Low in gluten. Extremely addictive.
I wanted to cross link to this post/image which contains an outline of my preferred recipe for Rugbrød (Danish Rye Bread). LINK
The recipe is for two very large loaves but it can be adjusted by shaving back all ingredients by percentiles.
I bake two large -- ie: long -- tin loaves and freeze what I'm not using immediately.
In my earlier experiments I was using whole rye which made the mix far too grainy and consequently too crumbly. Best to buy cracked rye or crack it yourself by roughly whizzing it in a blender.
I am now into rye bread porn --LINK -- as what we get to look at is very different from your normal bread slice. What we get to eat is far more satisfying & satiating.
What we have here is bread that is at least 1,000 years old in the making...and the rye belt countries know their rye.
Fortunately there is a lot of ongoing research about its benefits. There is a good summary of those, with references, HERE.
Worth a squiz.