Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Perfect Pumpernickel

I think a dark rye is a daring bread because it seems so easy to "get it wrong." Then again, we should all agree that there is value in every attempt on the road to great bread. It seems like I've begun to understand the doughs a little better. The doughs with sugar (like a rye) are going to be a bit stickier, and they don't need more flour... put down the flour. And, they'll be baked at a slightly lower temperature to avoid burning the crust.

This recipe received rave reviews from the food critics (a.k.a. my husband and next door neighbors). It may have been the real butter - it makes everything better.

Go ahead and put your own spin on things. Don't be afraid to try new things... if you don't have one ingredient, try another. After all, many of the great inventions were accidental discoveries.

FYI - I did start with the same starter from our first "Becoming Bread" recipe. It adds such a wonderful complex fermented flavor... some might call your bread an artisan bread! You can of course skip the starter entirely. To skip the starter, use 2 1/4 tsp of dry active yeast. Because there will be less moisture, you can also use less flour.

Pumpernickel Bread
(adapted from Hodgson's Mill Rye Bread Recipe on the back of the container of rye flour.)

1/2 c. Starter
1/2 tsp dry active yeast
1 c. lukewarm water
2 tbsp. molasses
2 tbsp butter - melted
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 tbsp. wheat gluten
1 3/4 c. rye flour
1 1/2 c. bread flour

As mentioned in a previous blog post, I usually use a bread maker for the heavy lifting for mixing and kneading. I would add the ingredients to the bowl in the order listed above, but if you mix well, you can get away with adding them in any order.

Reserve a portion of the bread flour and add as appropriate. This dough is a bit sticky and it won't have the same texture as a french bread dough, so don't try to replicate the french bread texture or you will end up adding too much flour... which will make a brick loaf.

Allow 2 hours for the first and second rises. After the first rise, form into either a baguette or a boule. Make sure you put the boule seam side down. (Maybe we should do a short post on how to form said boule?) I used a bit of olive oil to keep the bread from sticking to my hands.

Bake on 390 degrees F for 30 - 35 minutes or until done. Use the cake tester method to check done-ness - it should pull clean. The thermometer also works - make sure the internal temperature is above 205 degrees F.

Just a tip - if you serve this for dessert with honey and butter, it is a crowd pleaser!

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