The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

BBA Pumpernickle

Pablo's picture

BBA Pumpernickle

This poor bread had a tough time of it with me.  It's Pumpernickel Bread from the BBA.  I made the levain version without instant yeast.


7 oz. starter - 100% hydration

7oz. Giusto's pumpernickel flour

6oz. water


9 oz. high-gluten flour (I figured it was important to use high gluten flour since there is a 25% rye component and rye has gluten issues.  I mixed a high [14%] gluten flour at the ratio of 97g 12% protein white flour to 3g 75% protein Giusto's VWG)

1 oz. brown sugar

.5 oz. powdered cocoa

1 1/2 t salt

1 cup old bread bits (a previous SD baguette)

1 oz. vegetable oil

2 oz. water


Make rye starter: mix starter, rye and water, ferment at room temp 4-5 hours until bubbly and foamy.  "Immediately put in the 'fridge overnight"  Here's where the trouble started.  My starter bubbled and tripled, woo hoo, I put it in the 'fridge.  When I took it out the next day, it had fallen back to essentially it's original size.  That made me worry about that word "immediately".  Hummm...  maybe my starter was right on the edge of over ripe, maybe I should have refrigerated it more immediately.  I soldiered on.

Next day: remove rye starter from 'fridge an hour before using.  Stir together flour, sugar, cocoa, and salt, add starter, bread crumbs (if only I'd noticed it said "crumbs" and not "cubes") and oil.  Scrape it out onto the counter and knead.  Supposedly the dough should pass the window pane test.  Ha!  I was worried about not overmixing a rye dough and making it gummy, I did knead for a full 6 minutes, rather vigourously, but then i stopped, although it didn't approach the window pane test, in fact it broke apart the moment I attempted to stretch it.  And the bread cubes.  oops!  Not even moistened.  Those are the white chunks here and there in the crumb.  Live and learn.

Ferment to double.  Preshape into two loaves, shape into boules, proof.  I over proofed.  The dough was fermenting faster than I thought and it got away from me.  I didn't attempt to slash as I was afraid it would just collapse.  Luckily I proofed it on parchment paper so I just slid it in the oven.  It rose not at all in the oven, but it had risen quite a bit while proofing and it didn't collapse in the oven, so it could have been worse.

Given all that, it came out OK.  I was very leery of using brown sugar and cocoa in a "real" bread.  The flavour is actually pretty nice.  I'm favourably impressed.  My next rye will be a light rye with caraway seeds though.  And that will be soon.



xaipete's picture

I was also leery about using cocoa in rye breads. The first time I added it I only used about half as much as the recipe called for. But I, like you, thought the flavor was pretty nice, so the next time I added the full amount. I guess I was worried that the addition of cocoa would make the bread taste like chocolate, but it didn't. It just gave the bread a really nice color and somehow enhanced the flavor.

I think David said that he found the mixing times in BBA to be way too short. When I've made ryes like this one I've had to mix them for a lot longer than 6 minutes.