This week, I made pumpernickel bread for my fellow pirate Brian “Jellyfish Jenkins” Jacobs.

Everyone knows pumpernickel, it’s a dense, lightly sweet rye-based bread. This bread makes a great sandwich since it’s heavy and hearty. Fun fact: “pumpernickel” roughly translates to “fart goblin” in German. The more you know!

This pumpernickel makes a decent avocado toast. Nothing spectacular, but pretty good.
🥑 🥑 🥑 /5

And now, on to the recipe:

Light Pumpernickel Bread

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 616g bread flour
• 2t instant yeast
• 1¾C + 2T warm water
• 12g salt

• 1.5C water
• 2T molasses
• 411g bread flour
• 120g whole wheat flour
• 52g cornmeal
• 11g unsweetened cocoa
• ½t instant yeast
• 2t salt

Also 1 egg

1. Start by mixing all the starter ingredients: flour, water, salt, yeast. Those are the Big Four of bread ingredients, almost any dough bread is going to use those four. If you’re interested in getting into bread, just keep those around all the time.

2. Mix the ingredients thoroughly and knead until somewhat smooth and elastic, probably about 10 minutes. Sprinkle some flour over the top of the dough and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the starter ferment for about 4 hours, or until about double in size. Here’s a before and after of the kneading.

3. Add everything else to that dough except the egg. Mix it thoroughly, and knead vigorously until smooth and elastic. This is a firm dense dough, it does not knead easy. If you have a stand mixer, I recommend using that with the dough hook attachment. Split the dough into two chunks and let it work. Keep an eye on it, though, as this dough will want to climb up the hook and onto the mixer and into the rest of your kitchen and take over your home and start sleeping with your husband/wife and take that promotion you were up for and adopt your kids and really just gum up the works of your mixer.

4. Oil a large bowl (I strongly recommend this tub. It’s clear, so you can keep an eye on bubbles forming, it’s got lines so you can more easily measure growth, and it’s big so your dough probably won’t ever overflow). Flour your hands, gather up the dough into a ball, and put the dough in your bowl. Turn the dough over so that it’s coated in oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap (or a lid) and let rise 1.5-2hrs, until about doubled again. As you can see here, the dough is darker now that we’ve added in the molasses, cocoa, and whole wheat flour.

5. Deflate the dough. You may have heard the term “punch down” but that’s a little misleading. You want to get the air out of the dough, but you want to be gentle. If you’re too rough, you risk tearing the gluten network, leading to an even denser (undesirably so) bread. Just gently push all the bubbles out until the dough is deflated. Shape the dough into freeform loaves or place into loaf pans. I like freeform, so I used some proofing baskets (ignore where my liner got caught in a drawer and ripped), heavily dusted with flour.

6. Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and let it rise for another 45 minutes. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 425° F. If you’re using freeform loaves, I recommend baking in ceramic or cast iron. I use a cast iron dutch oven. If you are using ceramic or cast iron, let it sit in the oven while you preheat.

7. Whisk the egg and 2T water, then brush it all over the loaves. If using a freeform loaf, take the sharpest knife you have and slash an X across the top only about ¼” deep. If you’re baking in a loaf pan, give it a couple slashes across the top. I didn’t take pictures of this part because I’m forgetful.

8. VERY CAREFULLY drop the loaf, X side up, into the preheated baking vessel and put the lid on, or toss the loaf pans in the oven.

9. Bake 15 minutes, then remove the lid. Bake another 10-20 minutes, or until it’s a nice dark golden brown and sounds hollow on the bottom when tapped.

10. Let it cool at least 15 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!

Thanks to Jellyfish for the request. I hope your fart goblin bread turns out wonderfully. See you soon!

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Short steps list:

  1. Mix starter ingredients, knead 10 minutes, cover with plastic wrap, let ferment 4 hours.
  2. Add in all other ingredients, knead another 10 minutes.
  3. Let rise in oiled bowl, cover w/ plastic wrap, let rise 1.5-2 hours, until doubled.
  4. Deflate, shape, cover w/ towel, let rise 45 minutes.
  5. Preheat to 425° F.
  6. Score, egg wash
  7. Bake 25-35, removing lid 15 minutes in.


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