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Hamelman Pumpernickel problem

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dwg302's picture
dwg302

Hamelman Pumpernickel problem

i just tried making the horst bandel pumpernickel from the hamelman bread book with disasterous results.  i'm hoping someone who has made the bread can read over what happened and maybe offer suggestions on how to redo it.  

the bread calls for 2 types of soakers, an old bread soaker and a rye berry soaker.   i made both, but i'm thinking i added maybe too much water by covering over the slices of bread completely with water, because they were waterlogged when i tried to squeeze them dry and even then were still rather soggy.  the rye berry soaker is strained out but i had covered them with a good deal of water overnight.

i tried using a kitchen aid 5 qt. mixer to mix the dough.  i added everything together (flour, both soakers, starter, yeast, molasses, salt) into the bowl at once, which was probably a mistake.  it filled the bowl up about 3 quarters of the way which seemed like too much.  when i tried mixing it together i started adding some of the water.  it never came together and just stayed as a big soupy mess.  it seemed like there was a lot of liquid to it so i never even added all the water it called for and it was still not coming together.   i tried adding flour as it was mixing but with no success.   i kept adding flour and  more flour and more flour and it got ridiculous how much flour i was adding and it was just remaining much too soupy to form a dough.   at that point i gave up. 

is it possible i can soak the berries and old bread in too much water?  next time i may just start mixing the flour, water and starter and add in the berries and old bread as it's coming together and allow the mixer time to incorporate all of it instead of mixing it all at once.   has anyone mixed this dough using a kitchen aid stand mixer?   it seems like alot for it to handle. 

if there is anyone out there who has made this particular recipe i would love to hear how it came out.  if you could tell me how you mixed it and if you have any particular advice on making it i would be greatly appreciative.  thanks,

david

Uberkermit's picture
Uberkermit

I've never tried the Horst Bandel bread, but I've had success with the Vollkornbrot formula. What degree of soupiness are we talking about? If you made a fist-sized ball of it, would it hold its shape for a couple minutes, or run all over the counter? The reason I ask is that with high-percentage rye breads, you won't end up with a proper dough, but something that more closely resembles a mash or gritty paste. Definitely not something you want to knead on the counter. I usually mix by hand, and with rye breads that literally means sticking my hand in the bowl and mashing the dough between my fingers.

It's hard to imagine that you could have accidentally included so much excessive water just from the bread and rye berry soakers (especially since you drained the berries, and did wring out the bread). I'm also curious what kind of rye meal you tried.

Finally, don't give up next time, just put (pour?) it into some loaf pans and see how it bakes! You can always throw it away later, but at least then you've given it your all.

-Chris

dwg302's picture
dwg302

it was soupy enough where the dough hook just kept spinning around and not really pulling anything together.   i tried getting it started by mixing some together with a wooden spoon but it was just a sticky, blobby mess with no real dough form to it.  i did put it on the counter to try and hand knead it.    it was not a runny consistency and it did hold some kind of sticky form but it didn't fit the description he has in book which is a "medium gluten formation, but not too wet" (i'm paraphrasing).    it was so difficult to work with, and stuck to my hands and everything else that at that point i gave up and into the trash it went.

when i make it again i'm going to hold off on adding any water until i see how much is contributed by the soakers first.   did you mix the vollkornblot using a kitchen aid stand mixer?  

david

Uberkermit's picture
Uberkermit

I mixed by hand in the bowl... The dough was too sticky to work outside the bowl and definitely stuck to my hand all the way through mixing. For shaping the loaves I scraped the dough onto a heavily rye-floured board and did a rough log shape before putting it into loaf pans, but didn't mess with it beyond a couple quick movements since it would have started sticking to the board.

A tip I picked up somewhere is to use just your left hand to mix the dough in the bowl and use a plastic dough scraper in the right hand (or vice versa, whatever you find easier). You can use your left hand to knead (more like squish) and get the dough off the scraper, and use the scraper to get the dough off the sides of the bowl and off your left hand. This also leaves you with a relatively clean hand for moving the bowl, adding more flour, etc.

Has anyone else had a different experience working with high (75-100) percent rye formulas?

BrettW's picture
BrettW

Hi, 

New to the forum, but I think I can help here, having made this bread two weeks ago with great success.

In step 4, Hamelman says "... do not add any of the final dough water reserved from squeezing the liquid from the old bread soaker... wait until the dough comes together before adding any additional liquid."

When I read this, I was immediately confused, as the final dough phase calls for 8 oz water to be added. I wasn't sure if the recipe meant to say "no additional liquid AT ALL may be needed" or just no additional water "FROM THE OLD BREAD SOAKER".

At any rate, what I did worked, which was:

1. Completely submerged the old bread soaker (in my case, some toasted slices of a truly awful 100% rye attempt from the week before plus some barley-rye bread from Dan Lepard's The Handmade Loaf).

2. In a fine sieve, completely drained the old bread and pressed on it as hard and as completely as possible to get as much moisture out as possible.

3. Added that to the mix, as well as the rye berries, also completely and fully drained.

4. In the end, I probably added only about 2 tbsp of extra water, instead of the 8 oz called for. 

Conclusion - the recipe should really say "as needed" next to the water in the final dough section, as it's doubtful anyone would ever need that much, unless perhaps their rye flour was unusually absorbent. Plus, the soakers must both be fully drained. 

Do keep with the recipe and try it again, it's among the best breads I've made. 

dwg302's picture
dwg302

when i read the recipe i assumed it meant "don't add any additional liquid you got from squeezing the bread out" unless you needed that on top of the 8oz of water.  so after the soakers you only had to add about 2 tbs of water as it was mixing for it to come together well?   i'll try that.  and did you mix it with a kitchen aid mixer or by hand?   it seems like a heavy dough and i'm worried about over working the mixer.   and does toasting the bread make any difference other than maybe the taste of the final bread?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

After soaking bread, place between palms, locking hands (baseball skin fashion) one quarter of a turn and press wraping fingers around the backs of each hand for added strength and squeeeeeze the water out. Re-adjust and get the last drop out. Can be messy and a lot of fun. Like making snow balls with bread! Here's a little abs chant to recite while squeezing: "We must, we must, we must improove our bust!"

Same method for squeezing out pusta salad or sourkraut. --Mini Oven

BrettW's picture
BrettW

Yes, exactly, I had the same debate about the intention of the recipe. Reading it more closely, the notes on the old bread soaker indicate something like "save the water from squeezing out the old bread from the soaker for the 8 oz you will need in Step 4". 

So, to confirm: at least for me, I only needed about 2 tbsp extra out of the potential 8 oz.

My recommendation is to add the soakers, starter, flour, etc. (no extra water at all) and see where you are.

I mixed this dough by hand, and when done, it already had the consistency of a thick paste, which is usually what rye bread doughs that approach 100% rye feel like. 

dwg302's picture
dwg302

it is a little confusing in the recipe.  it makes it seem like it takes a minimum of 8oz of water which is not likely the case.  i'll try and mix it with the kitchen-aid adding one soaker at a time gradually and see how it comes out.   he says to mix it on the first speed for 10 minutes, so he's clearly mixing it by machine but i think he uses a large spiral mixer.  so i gather there is not a lot of gluten development in this bread.  i would love to hear from others that have made this for their opinions as well.

BROTKUNST's picture
BROTKUNST

I glanced at this formula a few days ago and thought I'd give it try.

When working with soakers I use to keep record of the actual amount of liquid the grain or 'old bread' absorbs. With that easily obtainable information you are in control of the hydration level of your dough. The actual amount of liquid that will ultimately remain in the grains or other soaked ingredient after fermentation,proofing and baking is minimal and when compensated (if at all necessary) should not lead to drastic surprises.

This strategy helped me in the past to get a handle on formulas with soakers with which I had initially some hydration issues.

That being said, rye flour has a high percentage of protein - even those proteins that are needed for the formation of gluten. However, other substances contained in rye flour are considered to prohibit the actual formation of gluten. Therefore, as mentioned by others before,  one expects naturally the more loose consistancy of the rye dough ... to describe it as 'medium' may be a stretch but if you're not absolut certain about the actual hydration of your particular dough, a few extra ounces can through you way off.

BROTKUNST

apprentice's picture
apprentice

It seems that I'm not the only one in the world obsessed with making this bread! Made the horst bandel pumpernickel again yesterday for perhaps the 10th or 12th time. Still not satisfied though am grateful to have learned enormous amounts as a consequence. Making other, more "normal" ryes is a doddle now!

The latest aha was to notice the side note on page 216 of Mr. Hamelman's book. Seems his pullman pans are 13x3 3/4x3 3/4 whereas mine is 16x4x4. I was massively overproofing by trying to get the dough close to the top before baking!

But even my "failures" are yummy when toasted. I agree with the earlier comment by Chris. Just throw your dough in a pan, David, and see what happens.

You were asking in another thread about where to get rye chops. Haven't found a source myself. Somewhere in his book, Hamelman says you can use cracked rye in place of rye chops. Couldn't find that either, so substituted cracked wheat soaked briefly in an equal amount of hot water.

"Not more water!" I hear you cry. Yep, 8 oz. more in the home version of the formula. Not once have I added any water to this pumpernickel dough. Rather, I always have to add more flour. The trick seems to be finding the right amount, and not fall into the trap of over-compensating. I'm still learning. Will keep you posted.

Carol

sphealey's picture
sphealey

I have been working on various ryes for almost two years now (lack/cost of good rye is really what motivated me to try breadbaking again for the third time {successfully}). I haven't made it to the Horst Pumpernickel yet since I tend to prefer a less dense bread for my weekly sandwich loaf, but I have made some similar ones (e.g. the BBC Danish Rye I linked to earlier).

Here is the trick I have used with some success: substitute x% white bread flour. For example, I am currently working on Hamelman's 66% Detmolder Rye, which according to the recipe should be 66% rye and 34% other flours (white and/or wheat). I used the following sequence:

  1. 20% rye and 80% white
  2. 30% rye and 70% white
  3. 30% rye, 10% whole wheat, 60% white

and so on. By the time I get to 66% rye (and then on to the 80%, 90%, and Horst recipes) I will be comfortable with handling the dough and have some understanding how it should look and feel at each stage. That way I am not confronted with too many new concepts/sights/textures at one time. I will also know where I want to stop for rye percentage in a weekly sandwich loaf.

That's my 0.02 currency unit.

sPh

BrettW's picture
BrettW

The only places I've seen rye chops available require you to buy a 50 lb. bag, which is a bit much for me.

What I did for Horst Bandel's Pumpernickel, which seemed to work ok, is took the coarse Pumpernickel meal I get at the organic co-op, and put it through a sieve, so that only the truly coarse pieces were left. Took me a while, but ended up basically with rye chops (admittedly not as big as some are) and a nice dark rye flour for dusting the peel and proofing baskets.

I've also used this technique with one of Nancy Silverton's recipes (Rye Currant) and had success. 

dwg302's picture
dwg302

well i tried the horst bandel pumpernickel again with much better results.  i mixed the flour, starter, and soakers first before adding any water and it started coming together pretty well by using a spoon.  i then tried using the kitchen aid mixer but the dough hook can't seem to get any traction on grabbing the dough and it just pushes it to the sides of the bowl.   the best way was to keep using the spoon and kind of kneed it in the bowl as best you can.   i ended up adding maybe 1 or 2 tbsp of water at most (nowhere near the amount he calls for in the recipe!)  and even then it was wet and very sticky.   its difficult to knead this dough on the counter, i tried and it just sticks to everything.   i'm getting the idea that it just becomes like a thick paste and thats what it will always be.   i baked it at 375 for an hour and turned it down to 275 for 4 hours and then turned the oven off and left it in the oven overnight.   it smells absolutely incredible when its baking.  i opened up the loaf pan this morning and i'm letting it rest now.  it didn't come out black like he described in the book, it was more of a brown color.    i would love to hear from others about their baking temps and how the bread looked when it came out.  i haven't tasted it yet, but its been a much better experience than pumpernickel attempt #1.   brettw was very correct when he said the key to making it is in step 4 by not adding water unless necessary. 

apprentice's picture
apprentice

Hi again, David. Just finished eating a toasted slice of my Horst Bandel pumpernickel, 2nd attempt this week. Took it out of the oven this morning and couldn't wait the full 24 hours to cut into it. It's wonderful! Nowhere near perfect but I think I've discovered some things that help.

At the moment, I'm using a 4 1/2 quart Kitchen Aid stand mixer to make the home version. My "high-gluten" flour is Robin Hood bread (about 13%). No rye chops available or cracked rye, so I used 8 oz. cracked wheat with 8 oz. hot water to soften. Had some 66% sourdough rye in the freezer for the old bread soaker. Everything else, as per the formula.

This bread has almost always collapsed on me during the bake. Yesterday's tactics seem to have made the difference:

1. Realized I had to be so stingy with water for the old bread soaker. No matter how much I squeeze, it doesn't want to give moisture up.

2. Added no water at all to final mix. The 8 oz. in the cracked wheat and moisture left in both well-drained soakers and the sourdough were more than ample.

3. Since this dough is always on the wet side, decided to follow Hamelman's advice and add extra flour an ounce or two at a time. Six extra ounces in all. I was looking for the dough to pick up on the hook, which it did...sort of. It never completely picks up. But with lots of scraping down and pushing the dough back into the centre, it was kind of coming together.

4. Only started counting my mixing time after the dough came together. Seems to do no good whatsoever to count as mixing time the minutes the hook is just stirring the centre of the dough like a wet pudding in the bottom of the bowl.

5. Did a 30-minute bulk fermentation in a covered plastic bin. Then used grease instead of more flour on my hands and the counter for the final shape.

6. Last but most importantly as I mentioned in the earlier post, I saw where Mr. Hamelman's Pullman pans are 13" long rather than the 16" pans I've been using. Led to overproofing. No wonder my loaves usually collapsed! Even overproofed the latest one some because it seemed to be ready at 20 minutes instead of 50 to 60 minutes. It took another 10 minutes to get the oven hot enough and meanwhile, the loaf continued to rise before my eyes like time lapse photography. The result is that it's slightly concave in the centre top.

But I got the best result so far! And I'm happier than I know how to express. Thanks for publishing about your quest. It was your post that led me to this forum and I'm so enjoying being among folk who are similarly possessed. I look forward to hearing how your bread tastes and the results of your next bake.

Carol 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

that don't get noticed. After mixing up a rye loaf and letting it rest, I don't think I have ever added more rye flour to knead or dust the work surface, I always used my AP white wheat. It doesn't stand to reason that if the rye flour makes a sticky dough, that I would use it to un-stick my surfaces or to make my dough more manageable.

Hamelman also writes "The dough will be medium consistancy but not wet, and it will be slightly sticky. Add high-gluten flour as needed if the mix is on the wet side."

The other way to handle the old bread soaker in my opinion is to forget soaking it. Just throw the broken up bread into the blender and turn it into crumbs and then mix into the dough with the flours. Then you just might need the 8 oz. or part thereof. I think the dryer crumbs in the mix give the dough a "body" and it is less apt to run sideways in the oven. --Mini Oven

dwg302's picture
dwg302

i tasted the pumpernickel i made and i'm not sure how well it turned out.  it has a very mealy taste to it which i'm not sure i like, or maybe i'm not used to breads that are close to 100% rye.  can taste the molasses in there too giving it a bitter quality.   it came out awfully dense as well, very hard like a brick and i'd be curious to know if this is what others experienced too.  i don't want to diss the hamelman pumpernickel at the risk of being sacrilegious.   i'll try it again.

david