The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Questions on Hamelman Pumpernickel

shakleford's picture

Questions on Hamelman Pumpernickel

Hey all,

I got Hamelman's "Bread" for Christmas this year and took my first shot at his Horst Bandel Pumpernickel recipe this weekend.  I see from a search that there are a few others here who are familiar with the recipe, so I'm hoping that someone can help me with a few questions I have.

First, a few notes on how my process differed a bit from the instructions:

  • The recipe is sized for a Pullman pan.  Since I don't have one of those, I halved it and used a standard 8x4 loaf pan.  To improvise a cover, I used a heavy sheet pan placed on top of the loaf pan and weighted down with a cast-iron skillet.
  • The formula calls for "High-gluten Flour".  I mill my own flour, so I substituted my standard whole wheat.
  • The baking times in the instructions are variable due to the variable ways in which ovens lose heat.  Since my kitchen is pretty chilly this time of year (around 60), I cooked the loaf at 350 for an hour, followed by 275 for four hours, before turning it off.

Here are my questions:

1)  When I took the loaf out the oven (8 hours after turning the oven off; 13 hours after first putting the loaf in), it was completely cool to the touch.  Is this as desired, or should it still be warm?  I'm trying to get an idea of how I might need to adjust the baking time on my next attempt.

2)  The loaf shrunk considerably while baking.  This was most noticeable in the height (it's only around 2" tall), but was pretty apparent in terms of length and width as well.  I'm thinking that this may be partly due to overproofing - the dough rose much faster than I expected and I had to finish another bake before I could put the pumpernickel in.  However, I tend to overpoof embarrassingly often, and have never seen such a dramatic collapse.

I haven't actually tried the bread yet (I'll be cutting into it tonight), but it smells very good.  The crust is nearly black, and after snipping a small part out of the loaf to see the color of the crumb, it appears about the same.  It is very, very hard however, so I'm thinking I'll slice it extremely thin like I did with Reinhart's volkornbrot.

Any other tips or suggestions would be welcome - I do make 100% rye breads fairly often, but this is my first attempt at pumpernickel, and I'm not entirely clear what I'm shooting for.