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."