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Another Horst Bandel Black Pumpernickel

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PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Another Horst Bandel Black Pumpernickel

Although this bread is the topic of a number of posts here at TFL, I wanted to make it as presented in Hamelman's Bread (as nearly as possible) so that I would have a baseline for future bakes.  Since making it, I have re-read most of those posts and recognize some things that I will employ for the next attempt.

On my part, there were three departures from the formula as presented in the book.  The first was that I did not have pumpernickel, or coarse rye, meal on hand but I did have plenty of a finely milled whole rye flour, which I used in place of the pumpernickel.  The second was that I substituted cracked rye that I made by processing whole rye kernels with the grain mill attachment for my KitchenAide mixer in place of the rye chops that the formula specifies.  I also used barley malt syrup in place of the blackstrap molasses, which Hamelman notes is an acceptable substitution. While these changes have some effect on the outcome, my assessment is that their influence is relatively minor.

The two factors that I perceive to have a major effect on the finished bread are both inherent in the formula.  

The first is the degree of hydration.  Hamelman's directions for this bread are unusually vague, compared to other breads in the book.  He directs the reader to use the water left from soaking the altus for hydrating the dough but not to put any in unless it is needed.  He mentions that the dough should have a "medium" consistency and that it will be "slightly sticky".  This is a mostly-rye bread, loaded with whole rye kernels (soaked) and rye chops (dry).  Not surprisingly, it is a heavy dough and supremely sticky.

The second factor is the suggested baking profile for home ovens; and it is only a suggestion.  Not knowing exactly how my oven compares to his experience and knowing that my kitchen is rather cool at this time of year, I chose to depart from his notes in detail but tried to stay within the general intent.  To that end, I baked the bread for an hour at 350F, 90 minutes at 300F, 90 minutes at 250F, and 2 hours at 225F.  At that point, the oven was switched off and the bread remained in the oven for another 2 hours.  The bread was baked in lidded pullman pans that measure 9x4x4 inches.  I'll discuss the outcome a little further along in this post.

On a Friday evening, I mixed the rye levain and set it to ripen overnight.  Not having any old rye bread on hand, I used some Vermont Sourdough (another Hamelman bread) for the altus.  I also prepped the whole rye soaker, leaving the kernels to soak overnight in cool water.  I was a bit surprised to see that the kernels had begun to chit by morning, so it's a good thing that the rye soaker has to be boiled before use.  That prevented an enzymatic nightmare.

On Saturday morning, I boiled the rye soaker as directed, then drained and cooled it.  While that was going on, I cracked the rye kernels as described earlier.  The altus was also wrung out while the whole rye soaker was cooling.  Then I weighed out the rest of the ingredients.  When the rye soaker reached a usable temperature, all of the ingredients were mixed by hand.  My impression was that the dough was somewhat stiff, so I mixed in a few grams of the water from the altus soaker.  That loosened things up somewhat, although I would still not have described the dough as being wet.  Having some prior experiences with too-wet rye pastes, I decided to call it good enough.  The dough was covered and allowed to ferment in my B&T proofer at the recommended temperature.

During the bulk fermentation, the pans were greased and floured in preparation for loading with the shaped loaves.

At the completion of the bulk ferment, the dough was divided and shaped.  I had to wet my hands a few times to keep the stickiness in check and used a plastic scraper to help lift the loaves from the countertop without deforming them.  They were placed in the prepared pans and the lids were closed.  The loaded pans went back into the proofer for the final fermentation at the prescribed temperature.  When I checked the dough at the 50-minute mark, I found it to be within 3/4 of an inch of the pan lids, as Hamelman directs.  The oven was preheated and the bread went in for its marathon bake, as described above.

The fragrance of this bread while it bakes is amazing!  Lots of rye / caramel / malty / hazelnut notes that get "darker" as the bake proceeds and the Maillard reactions progress.  Marvelous stuff!  

When I was finally able to depan the loaves, I was surprised to find that they had shrunk by almost 1/2 inch in length.  The side-to-side dimension stayed about the same.  The crust was rock hard.  My first impression was that if the bread wasn't edible, I'd at least have a couple of foundation blocks for that WFO that I may or may not get around to building someday.  

When you look at the photo, below, a couple of things are noticeable.  One is that the top of the loaf is slightly rounded, indicating that it never expanded all of the way to the pan lid.  I attribute that to the dough being somewhat under-hydrated, since I was very careful to scale the quantities for the size pans I have.  The other is that a lot of the flour from dusting the pan is quite stubbornly clinging to the loaf.  That isn't the most esthetically pleasing thing but it does show just how much color change there was from the raw flour to the finished bread.  

The bread was wrapped in cotton towels and allowed to sit 24 hours.  I then bagged it in plastic in the hope that the moisture from the interior might soften the crust somewhat.  That hasn't happened to any great degree.  Cutting the bread, even with a good bread knife, is a struggle.  I have an acquaintance who does a lot of woodworking.  Maybe I could use his band saw to slice off the crusts...  After trying to use the bread with the crust still on the slices, I've taken to cutting off the crusts before eating.  No point in cracking that new dental implant on one of those rye berries.

The crumb, as shown in the headline photo, is very much what one expects with this bread; dense, dark, and chunky with whole rye and cracked rye.  The flavor is fabulous by itself and in sandwiches.  This is filling stuff, too.  It can keep you going for several hours without any sense of hunger.

For the next bake, I'll follow Andy's excellent advice to weigh everything before and after soaking so that I can be more scrupulous about hydration.  I'll also tinker with introducing steam for part, if not all, of the bake.  That will be a significant departure from the formula but I can't help but think that an oven full of bread probably has a higher humidity than mine did with just two loaves.  The lids on the pullman pans are obviously not able to retain enough moisture to prevent excessive hardening of the crusts during the long bake.

This won't be one of my go-to breads, simply because of the length of the bake.  It is, however, one that I will make from time to time because it is so good.

Paul

 

 

Comments

MisterTT's picture
MisterTT

maybe it would have benefited from more wrapped-up rest time? I'm no pumpernickel expert, never baked one (only because of the baking schedule, it's crazy without a WFO) so that's just guesswork on my part.

Your feelings towards the result notwithstanding, I'd sure like myself a slice of that bread. Keep the rye alive!

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

the crust, MisterTT.  If anything, the crust would have gotten harder.  If the paste had been wetter, if the humidity in the oven were higher, if the pans sealed in more of the moisture, or some combination of those factors, then the crust would have been chewy instead of petrified. 

But you are absolutely correct that this is a bread to be desired.  It's really good stuff...once you get the crust out of the way.

Paul

MisterTT's picture
MisterTT

traditional Lithuanian rye breads that people use to bake in wood fired ovens which doubled as house warmers. The thing was that they used to be baked in huge rectangular tins each filled up with as much as 3 kg or even more paste, so understandably the baking time to bake through a wet paste of this bulk is not short, not to mention the fact that there would be tins stacked side by side in the oven. All of this results in a crust which is not exactly hard after cooling, but very very black, sometimes even burnt, so people used to just cut the crusts off and never ate them. Some people still have the habit, even though there is no need for it these days.

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

The bread is beginning to dry somewhat (it's been kept in a plastic bag) but the crust has softened to a tough but chewable texture.  I just sliced the remaining stub of the loaf this afternoon and put it in the freezer for future service as altus.

A three kg loaf would be a sight to behold!  And the fragrance while baking must have been intoxicating.  How would you cut into something so big and so hard?  With an axe?  Or a crosscut saw?

Paul

MisterTT's picture
MisterTT

to have this huge huge knife and sharpened it pretty regularly. What he would do is sort of "hug" the bread against his chest with his left hand and use his right hand with the knife to slice towards him. That would still have been pretty much impossible if the crust was too hard, now that I try to remember better, maybe the loaves were brushed with water while still hot? And it's for sure that they were kept uncut for at least a few days.

Anyways, what's funniest is that the slice he would cut off using his way was more than a centimeter thick! His sandwiches were a sight to behold. I guess it all comes from a time when bread was not only food number one, but lonely at the top as well.

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

No way would I want to have a knife moving toward my chest, even if I were the holder.

You're right about bread's place in the scheme of things in that day and age.  I've read accounts of the primary caloric source in diets being 2-3 pounds of bread per day per adult, which would make a 3kg loaf just two days' food for one person.

Paul

pjkobulnicky's picture
pjkobulnicky

Very detailed. Thanks.

As for the crust, maybe you have to put the loaf in plastic as soon as possible. That's an awfully long bake that it has gone through and you need to utilize the very last of the moisture that's in the loaf to get the crust to be manageable. The mostly rye loaves that I make, when I have enough patience to make them, all have that problem. Also, I don't think there is much oven-spring to be had with mostly rye doughs. You get that initial rise and then thats about it. 

Sure looks like it would pair well with a good braunschweiger, sweet mustard and some thin onion.

Paul

 

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

I won't fight you for it.  :-)

The crust was a goner, I'm afraid.  You have a point about the length of the bake.  Then again, this bread is supposed to be in the oven for 12 hours.  It's possible that I kept the temperatures too high for too long in the early stages.  Whenever I get around to baking this again, I'll experiment with increasing the humidity in the oven, too.  I do think there ought to have been some further expansion of the bread in the pan but, per Amdy's comments, the paste was probably too dry, therefore too stiff, to allow much movement.

Thanks for your comments. 

Paul

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Paul,

Yes, I agree this is an unusual formula in the Hamelman book, as there areas of the formula which are less precise than most of the rest of the book's recipes.

Thank you for noting my comments about the importance of monitoring soaking to ascertain hydration more precisely.   If it helps you at all, and I actually made this formula today too, you can expect the whole rye grains to absorb 50% of their own weight when soaked overnight in cold water....well, that has been my empirical experience the last few bakes.   Further, if you simmer the soaked grains in boiling water weighing the same as the original grains, all that liquid will be taken up in a gentle 45 minute simmer with a lid attached to your boiling pan.

And I maintain still that 85% hydration overall, is a good place to be.

Hamelman's baking directions are difficult; a homebaker has no equivalent of a baker's oven which has been running for several hours and is then switched off to cool slowly.   Then again, I bake these in a dying wood-fired oven, so not a lot of room for precision there either.   Steam is a good concept.   The crumb in your photo looks dry.   My best advice is to make sure the paste is not too dry in the first place, and to keep a close eye during the bake.   If you have that much shrinkage, then maybe your oven is too hot, or, maybe you are baking too long?

Regarding flouring the pan, I would be a bit lighter in dusting in the flour.   I never have any flour residue after baking.   Use a melted hard fat to grease the pans.   Lightly dust with flour, and cool the tins to make sure the fat has re-solidified.

I think there are numerous ways to bake this type of loaf.   Hamelman is instructing on one method which is particularly attractive in a commercial bakery which doesn't operate 24 hours.   It has its attractions too; Maillard reactions and subsequent colouration, and, aromas filling the kitchen.   But it is not the only way to go!

And it is such a great loaf of bread.

All good wishes

Andy

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

A hearty 'yes' to tracking the water contribution of each component.  I will definitely aim for 85% hydration in a future bake.  I'm pretty sure that this bread had a lower hydration at the outset.

The baking profile is problematic.  One has the impression that perhaps little or no testing was done with home ovens, otherwise the instructions would have been more precise.  My guess is that I did overbake the bread but perhaps more with a view toward the temperatures than to the time.  One earlier post that I read with some interest suggested the use of an electric roaster instead of an oven.  Since it has a much smaller volume, it would be much easier to steam and much more economical to operate.

Since my Pullman pans have a nonstick coating, perhaps I can dispense with the flour dusting entirely.  You are correct that more was used this time than was required.

It is a marvelous bread, isn't it?

Paul

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Paul,

Obviously, the Hamelman formula as it appears in the book does not allow for easy computation of the overall hydration.   However, I believe I add more water in total than he advises, yes.

But, this bread is surely a true peasant bread in its origins?   I say this because its make up consists of:

  1. Cooked Wholegrain
  2. Chopped Grain
  3. Ryemeal
  4. Finer Flour [best available of course]
  5. Re-constituted old bread

So, it is about using the grain available to the household at the time.   Yes, Horst was an ex professional baker, but I think he approached Jeffrey Hamelman with this loaf as if it were from a bygone age.

I am drawn to your comment that the bake profile is problematic...but think you should see this in the context of how Horst showed Hamelman how to bake this loaf, and of Hamelman's own experiences in Germany of baking rye bread.   Both of these contexts are relevant to commercial bakers with big bakers' ovens.   But the scenario up for discussion does not allow for a consistent bake profile, and certainly not one that is easy to monitor....unusual in that respect of course.

I think an appreciation of the context of the first edition of Jeffrey Hamelman's book may help you a bit.   The book is written for "Bakers"....it is quite explicit about that.   And in 2004 the author's focus is unlikely to have fallen on the homebaker.   A rich seam of success as a baker, bakery owner, Coupe du Monde competitor, then coach, then Culinary Instructor.   Unlike say Forkish, Lepard or Leader, I would argue Hamelman has not really focused on the homebaker at all.   That said, the intervening years will doubtless have changed his approach and this is one of the key reasons for the second edition, surely?   Personally, I completely disregard the homebaker's column whan it comes to making any of his formulae.   I simply down scale the commercial metric column instead.   The reason being that he used the commercial scale recipes to test and develop these formulae, and he did it using spiral mixers and bakers' ovens.   We need to embrace that to get the best from his book, and not be in any way critical.   That is where the real depth of learning from his book comes from.   I readily accept this is much easier for me, as a professional baker, to take on board than it is for many here at TFL.

Note that Jeffrey and Horst would know exactly how long the bread was in the oven for....but they would not necessarily know at what temperature!

David made reference to these posts: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/17931/horst-bandel039s-black-pumpernickel

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/17254/horst-bandel039s-balck-pumpernickel

All good wishes

Andy

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Hamelman definitely writes for professional bakers, even allowing for the "home" scaling.  That focus, combined with the differences between commercial and home ovens, presents a real challenge for someone like myself.  It's one of the reasons that I had not attempted this bread earlier.  Simply being around to manage the oven over an entire day is something of a luxury, not to mention the energy costs.

Based on what I have observed from the experiences of yourself and others, it appears that the home baker needs to arrange for some type of steaming arrangement.  Further, it appears that Hamelman's suggested starting temperature may be too high for the dry environment of a home oven.  Posters who have had success with this bread seem to employ long periods at lower baking temperatures, rather than trying to establish a falling temperature profile that, hopefully, mimics what goes on in a commercial or brick oven.  Perhaps it would be sufficient to start at 120C and eventually end at 100C, if the bake time ran a full 12 hours?  I really don't know.

There will be another attempt when I've worked through these two loaves, reserving some for altus.

Paul

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Paul,

Yes, as far as I am concerned, I never use the "home" scaling column in the Hamelman book.   It is written in a language which is foreign to me...and most likely to Hamelman too!   That's another issue however.

Of course the whole point of how he directs that this loaf was baked traditionally is that the baker was not around to monitor it.   Baking began after the ovens were switched off, or the brick ovens had dropped too low to bake anymore bread, and the bakers prepared to go home.   This is of no help to anyone at home wanting to establish a completely different bake profile using a home oven.   You really do need to be around to monitor that at least until you are confident the bake profile is correct.

The profile recommended by Breadsong below is also used by one of the posters on the thread I reference above: a very long bake at very low temperatures.   But that is nothing like what Jeffrey Hamelman and Horst Bandel would have used.   At least, I don't think it very likely that Hamelman only baked 4 hours a day, and spent the other 20 waiting for the Pumpernickel to bake out.   That said, this maybe is the best way to bake this loaf at home.   I nearly always bake these in the brick oven these days.   If I do use an electric oven, I simply bake between 120 and 160*C with the fan for between 2 and 4 hours, depending on how many loaves I have in the oven.   I make these as 800g finished loaves; so a good bit smaller than the full-size Pullman loaves.

The interest in steaming came from when I was baking in colleges actually; so it had more of a commercial focus.   I don't really like the loaves that are produced in the dry oven over a long bake.   The crust is too dark and thick on all the loaves I have seen.   I remember I worked on steaming with Eric.   The problem I had was that I wasn't in the college at the time the oven switched off after 12 hours steam time.   This meant that some condensation formed on the lid of the Pullman pan as it cooled, and then dripped onto the centre of the loaf causing it to droop a little in the middle.   But, otherwise, this produced by far the best loaf I have managed to make, regardless of authenticity of course.

Best wishes to you

Andy

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

Paul,

After baking this repeatedly I found that determining the proper weight for your pan was the key to success.  The dry ingredients are fixed in the Hamelman recipe but the hydration is variable.  Determining the ideal weight for the pan removes any guesswork as that weight is achieved in the final mix.  This also eliminates the need to squeeze the altus dry as most of that liquid is actually needed in the final mix.  I weigh the wet altus just before mixing and determine at that time whether any liquid needs to be added or removed as determined by ideal pan weight.

As for the crust (oh, that mighty crust) I tried removing all of it which works well but is a bit of a task and finally settled on removing just the end crusts.  This seems to work well.  The flavor is so overwhelmingly wonderful that I find it worth all the effort.

Jeff

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Even so, it is well worth the effort.

This is one of those rare occasions that haven't caused me to second-guess the scaling.  The bigger issue (this time) seems to hinge on the hydration.  I would love to have had you looking over my shoulder to advise me whether the paste was too wet or too dry, given my rookie status with this bread.

Thanks,

Paul

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

sort itself out soon enough knowing you..  We too had many of the same problems so now do things a bit different too.  You might find some if it interesting.

First we spray the pans with canola PAM and use no flour or grease - no problems.  Lucy puts foil over the top of the loaf so that no steam can escape because there are no Pullmans to leak,  As soon as the bread is cool, it is wrapped in a cotton towel and then in plastic.

We make the chops like you do and then also make the meal by grinding some other berries to meal consistency.  Soaking rye berries overnight do not get them soft enough for us so they are simmered for 10 minutes first and then let them sit out overnight.   We also soak the rye chops for 8 hours - too hard otherwise and Lucy swears that they steal liquid.  Lucy doesn't  count any of the water the chops or soaked berries absorb as part of the liquid and assume they are fully hydrated.  I just take the flour weights at 85% hydration and use that for the correct liquid amounts except sometimes Lucy uses some of Mini Ovens 104% hydration and settles for 92% on occasion when she forgets to soak the rye chops :-).

Finally i just turn off the low oven at the end and leave the foil covered loaves in the pan in the off oven for 8 - 10 hours to cool completely - another JH trick. and try not to cut it for 40 hours.

This solved my many Rye pumpernickel style problems. 

Good luck with it and keep at it Paul - you are very close to some of the best bread on the planet from the looks of this bake!

Happy baking

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

to draw on here at TFL, the next bake is bound to be better, dab.

If there wasn't such a large stock of rye flour in the pantry, I would have followed your lead in milling my own meal, as well as the chops.  Lucy's notion of soaking the chops seems pretty good to me.  I remember asking David Snyder about that when he posted about the bread but he confirmed that the recipe did not call for soaking the chops.  

Do you follow Hamelman's suggested baking profile, so far as temperatures and times are concerned?

Thanks for your suggestions and comments.

Paul

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

concerned the list i use is pretty large and finally had to put together a Word  Document to keep them all together.  I will send it to you by message  I use one variation of JH's profiles or another depending on what pumpernickel we are baking - even white ones - which are surprisingly tasty for white breads:-)

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Nice looking crumb.  Crust looks fine so I wouldn't have know how hard it was had you not detailed it.  Certainly is a nice looking color.  Glad to read that it does indeed have great flavor as well as aroma when baking.

Janet

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

The color change from the raw flour to the finished crust and crumb is nothing short of magical, especially since it is all driven by time and temperature, not additives.  The flavor is the product of that same alchemy an it is very, very good.

Paul

FlourChild's picture
FlourChild

Great looking bread and your write-up is so helpful, as are Andy's comments.  Sounds like it takes a bit of adapting to get the details right in a home kitchen, but your description of the flavor and aroma are motivating.  Looking forward to trying this.  Must admit that when I bought this bread at KAF, it was completely dry and hard- not sure if that was a goal or if it had been sitting too long.  

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

The aroma and the flavor will entirely win you over.

That's kind of scary to hear that KAF's retail version was dried out.  Even with mine being over baked, probably, the crumb was still moist.

Paul

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Paul,

 A great post on your first experience with the Horst Bandel and a fine looking loaf to show for it. The HB isn't one of my go to breads either, maybe once or twice a year when the cold weather arrives, but I do love this bread. If I didn't enjoy the flavour as much as I do I'd probably bake it anyway just to have it fill the house with it's aroma. A couple of suggestions I might add to the ones above. From the markings on the loaf it looks like you may be using a USA Pullman pan, the same type I have. If this is correct and the glaze on the pan is in good shape, I've found that flouring, greasing or paper lining the pan isn't necessary. During the last hour or two of the bake profile if the sides of the bread have pulled away from the pan (like a cake will when fully baked) the loaf will or should slide out of the pan pretty easily. You may need to run a thin spatula blade around the edges at the bottom of the tin at most. If it's still sticking, remove the lid and put it back in a low oven for 10-20 minutes to let it dry out a bit. As soon as you can get the loaf out of the pan rinse the pan in water and dry it thoroughly. This will help to maintain the glazing which will break down quicker if there's any condensation or moisture left inside the pan. I've had my pan for several years and use it once or twice a month and the glaze is still doing what it's meant to do. 

The other suggestion regards baking and the tough crust you mention. I had the same problem but have solved it by placing the pan on a broiling rack inside a deep roasting pan and adding an inch or two of hot water to the pan. Put another deep pan, a foil turkey roaster works well, over top and if possible seal the pan edges together with foil to keep as much steam in as possible. This is for the final low temp bake, and if you can get your oven down to between 170F-200F this surrounding gentle heat helps to keep the crust from toughening and promotes the Maillard reaction for a darker crumb as well. Hope you find this useful and looking forward to your next dark side bake.

All the best,

Franko

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Yes, my pans are by USA Pan, complete with the non-stick coating.  Nice to know that I can drop the greasing and flouring.  

So you steam the back end of the bake but do the higher temperature portion dry?  My oven can operate at the low temperatures you mention, so that won't be a problem.  

Thanks again,

Paul

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I just returned from dbm's beautiful State, so I'm late to the party. (No good bread, but lots of delicious tamales!)

I think your pumpernickel looks great, but I fully understand that looks can be misleading. 

Most of us here on TFL suffer by not having had "the real thing." We lack a real model or target. That's certainly true for me with this style of pumpernickel. Now, Jewish Rye or San Francisco Sourdough or baguette tradition ... I've had many and know what to shoot for. The good news is that we have folks like Andy and Franko who do have more experience and are generous in sharing it. 

A couple additional thoughts: I believe there was a discussion of the ideal weight of dough for pullman pans of a given size in a topic of txfarmer's. And I believe there was discussion of hydration level issues in a topic that had lots of input from Andy and others (Mini O? Eric Hanner?) Maybe you found all of that already.

Anyway, a nice effort. I'm going to tackle this again myself one of these days.

David

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Luckily, it tastes as good as it looks.  I'm pretty happy with everything but the crust, which could be marketed as a non-skid flooring for warehouses.

TFL is a real blessing for the accumuated wisdom and for the open-handed attitude of the people who share it.  I have read some of the posts you mention and they have given me some avenues to pursue for future bakes.  While I could have taken the shorter route of reading that advice and following it for this initial bake, I thought it would be valuable to understand how the bread behaves without modification.  Now I know.  And now I can attempt to improve.

Do post the results of your next effort, please.

Paul

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hi Paul,
What a marvelous looking slice of bread!
Thank you for sharing your first bake of this bread, for your comments, and the other comments posted here.
I baked this bread for the first time a couple of months ago, and absolutely loved the complex flavor of this rye bread - like no rye I've ever tasted before. I was happy with hydration (96%), dough weight for pan (1450g for 9x4x4 pan), and the aroma and flavor!, but not happy with the crust color, the bread not baking up as dark as I'd hoped for.
I will try a different bake profile next time, noting the comments above with interest (thanks, all!).
With all that water, the crumb was a bit gummy after its 48 hour rest, but the crumb stabilized/improved after slicing and having a few more hours to 'air out'. I don't remember the crust being particularly hard to cut through...perhaps due to the extra water...or my memory is dimming! The loaves had shrunk away from the sides of the pan, though, with all the time in the oven (I tried a very low, slow bake - something like 20 hours at 250F decreasing to 200F).
I'm glad you enjoyed the flavor of this bread - it was an experience - to make, and taste, yes?
:^) breadsong

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

than mine, breadsong, which undoubtedly improved the crust.  As you note, it is then a challenge to bake out all of that water so that the crumb isn't gooey.

The flavor and aroma are superb, which makes me want to go back for more. 

Thank you for your comments.

Paul

Mebake's picture
Mebake

This looks very good, Paul! I've also had difficulty with panned rye loaves; they can be really tricky to Perfect. I have recently baked andrew whitly's whole grain rye bread which is essentially a pumpernickel. I used cracked wholewheat insead of rye, and yes, it makes all the difference in the world when steam is introduced throughout the bake. Yours look good indeed, and should taste great minus the hard crust, as you noted.

khalid

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

There seem to be many ways to bake a pumpernickel.  It is good to hear of your successes.

Your recent foray into baking for market intrigued me.  Best wishes for that endeavor.

Paul

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Just found this thread so I hope there are still a few things to talk about.  

I know what you're after too.  Slow cook caramelisation.  Keep in mind it doesn't happen until the hydration also drops.  Too much steam can lead to too little Maillard reaction.  I tend not to bake my loaves so long but I know what you're after.

The hard dried crust will make great altus, may have to soak and cook it to soften.  Think of them as bread nuts.  Eat the inside of the loaf.  I would take the cut off pieces, soak 'em and freeze them for later.  That might bust them apart when you need them.

I've found that I double the foil covering of my bread pans, I do not own a pullman.  If I flip a second bread pan over the filled pan, I now crunch a thin band of foil around the seam to trap in more steam.   The whole things strikes me as a pressure cooker effect without using a pressure cooker.  I do remember a video of similar rye breads being baked in a pressure cooker type oven in Southern Germany.   I will try a round loaf in a pressure cooker one day.  Might have to dry bake afterwards to get the crust colour unless the pressure cooker goes dry.  Later.

One thought did pop up with the description of the loaves cooling.  To me, wrapping them right away in cloth seems like a good way to remove moisture from the loaf.  Hear me out.  Any steam leaving the loaf as it cools will be absorbed by the cloth.  Cooled openly in a high humidity room, the loaf cools and can reabsorb moisture as soon as the loaf has cooled down.  The cloth on the other hand will insulate and prolong the cooling when around the loaf until the cloth has absorbed enough moisture to start evaporating to cool down the loaf inside.  I think this works against crust softening and is more like a wick drawing more moisture out of the loaf.   (Have you tried wrapping in a wet cloth?  Me, not yet.  Worried it might wrinkle my crust like my toes soaking in bath water.)  

I think it better to use a cooler room to cool the loaves as quickly as possible on a rack and then when cool, tightly wrap them (if the cool room is low humidity) preventing any more surface evaporation of moisture.  The inside moisture then moves from the inside of the loaf toward the outer dryer areas of crust.  In a heated home kitchen, humidity may be too low, then I would suggest placing the loaves on a rack inside a confined area; cold electric oven, or rack on a large bowl or box, covered with a bowl or box or lightly draped cloth.  

But, as discussed already, If not enough moisture is inside the loaf, then it stands to reason that not enough moisture can soften the crust.  

Another approach might be to glaze the loaves as soon as they come out of the oven to slow down and trap fleeing moisture yet allowing the loaves to cool.  A very thin, water like mixture of flour/starch and water heated just past the gelling point and cooled, dipped or using a large brush might prove a solution.  

A thin coating of oil or butter will also trap moisture and prevent drying while cooling.  stopping moisture at the crust.

Dusting the pan with seeds, oily seeds, is another way of containing the moisture of the loaf long term.  Rye flakes, sunflower seeds, pumpkin, nuts etc, create a barrier trapping moisture.

Just brainstorming here....   what do you think?

 

 

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

And more is better when it comes to pumpernickel.  I haven't enough experience yet to grasp how much steam would be too much when it comes to the Maillard reactions.  If pumpernickels can be steamed like puddings...

From observable results, it is safe to say that more water was needed in the paste for this bread.  There was also a significant loss of moisture during the bake.  That certainly contributed to the dry crust.  

As for crust softening techniques after baking, there are probably several possibilities.  In addition to what you have posited, maybe an exceptionally hard loaf should be wrapped in plastic immediately and only allowed to cure in linen after the crust softens.  Mine was so hard shelled that it probably needed an outside source of moisture, perhaps in the form of the oft recommended apple in the bag.

Maybe I should crimp some foil over the pan lids as an additional seal during the bake?

Paul