Horst Bandel's Black Pumpernickel from Bread
This is a bread that I have been wanting to try for some time. Jeff Hamelman did a great job of presenting it in his book, "Bread" and the story that goes with how he learned about it is heart felt. This style of bread is a long way from just about everything you might be familiar with. It isn't airy and light. It doesn't have a beautiful crust in the traditional way we usually think of a nice golden color, expanding at a well placed slash. What it is, is a compact, almost waxy mass of slowly baked rye and wheat dough in a high hydration formula. It is baked in a covered Pullman Pan with straight sides for 12 hours at slowly reducing temperatures.
Before I attempted this bread, I looked at txfarmers thread from last year where she posted about her attempt and learned a lot about the process. If you are interested in baking this, I suggest reading this thread first.
I had the opposite results as far as rising during baking as txfarmer. I apparently had to much dough in the pan and although it had risen to within 1/2 inch of the lid during proof, I checked after 1 hour of baking to find the lid had been blown off the pan. Hmmm. I got my trusty serrated bread knife and sawed the dough level with the pan top, replaced the lid and pretended like that was part of the plan.
To back up a little, Hamelman says the bake time should be around 12 hours but that includes some time in the oven after it is turned off. I didn't get a good feel for how much time at what temperature so I improvised a little. I preheated my fire brick in a pan I use for steam, the stone I sometimes use and a 1/2 box of unglazed tiles in a 350F oven. I figured the additional thermal mass would give me a slowly cooling environment similar to a WFO or a big commercial oven like Jeff has to play with.
There are a lot of variables on the path to a great Horst Bandel. It took me a while to get the required rye components together and the Pullman Pan on the same day. I used freshly ground whole rye, rye meal and rye chops from flourgirl51 and her wonderful Organic grain/flour mill. Surprisingly the various forms of rye are hard to come by here in the upper Midwest of the US. When I discovered I could get everything from one known source, I got myself into gear and started the ball rolling to learn this bread.
Here are a few images I took as an after thought after the bake. I'm very happy with the results of my first attempt but there is room for improvement. This isn't rocket science but, it is chemistry. I went pretty much by the book and got a good result. I plan on adjusting the volume of dough, baking temp profile and cooking of the whole berries on the next attempt.
If you try this bread, you must be prepared for a flavor experience that is so full I would call it "adult". If you appreciate fine smoked meats and fish, capers or black caviar on cream cheese or dry butter, then this is for you. It is that good.
Thank you Jeffrey. And thank you Mini and txfarmer for your assistance.