The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Looking for suggestions...

UnConundrum's picture

Looking for suggestions...

Every Christmas Eve, I bake about 50 loaves of bread and deliver to friends and family.  I've been doing this for about 25 years.  I have a bad back, and I cant seem to take the long day of mixing and baking anymore, so I've moved to naturally fermented breads over the last few years.  Generally that's been a help as I easily have my dough ready for shaping and baking in the morning, pushing half the work into the day before.  Now, I'd really like to push the shaping to the night before as well, dealing only with baking the day before Christmas.


I'm currently working on this year's recipe, and plan on going with an onion pumpernickel.  I have the flavor profile under control, and my first test run went pretty well.  The 2nd not as good as I believe the dough overproofed and was too slack as it went into the oven; didn't get the height I was looking for.  Crumb was fine, just not an appealing final shape.


For purposes of discussion, I'm using KA flours, about 23% pump, 23% dark rye, 54% all purpose. 70% hydration. Starter was about 5% of flour weight.  This last batch I even raised the salt a bit to about 2.5%. (you can find the full recipe HERE )


I'm looking for suggestions to help the loaves survive a long (maybe up to 12 hours until the final loave gets baked) final proof and still look shapely coming out of the oven.  I also had a problem with the dough sticking to a well floured couche after such a long proof.  I'd rather not reduce the hydration much as I liked the crumb, but realize that may have to be the final solution.  I'm thinking of moving the all purpose flour to high gluten, or even clear, to survive that long proof.


While I'm no stranger to using a starter, there are obviously members here far better versed than I am.  I believe I might be able to add some strength by increasing the percentage of starter as well.  I'd really appreciate any/all suggestions.



dmsnyder's picture

If you have a rye starter, a traditional Jewish Pumpernickel is another option. It has very little rising and proofing time and can be made in 4 hours (small batches), once you have the rye sour built up to the volume you need.

Here's a formula: Pumpernickel Bread from George Greenstein's "Secrets of a Jewish Baker"

You can certainly add onions to this to make an onion pumpernickel.

Happy baking!


UnConundrum's picture

Dan, thanks.  Sometimes you just need a smack across the head. 

too bad you can't fit them all in the refrigerator

No, I don't have a refrigerator to put them in, but I DO have a heated proofing rack, a present from my wife a few years back.  I could put it outside and add enough heat to avoid freezing.  Duh!  Not only that, but double DUH!  I'm scheduled for a class with Jeffrey in three weeks.  Of course I could ask him over lunch, I'm sure he'll have some ideas.


That said, I know he's not a fan of clear flour.  Do you have any thoughts on the white flour to use?


David, thanks for pointing me to the recipe, but I'm looking to extend the final proof, not shorten it.  I used to do it all in one day, but my body can't handle it anymore.