The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pumpernickel Bread Dough

dablues's picture

Pumpernickel Bread Dough

I made a loaf of pumpernickel bread from the KA Flour recipe.  The dough is very sticky.  I prepared the dough in a bread machine on dough setting.  Then when time to take it out and form, it was way to sticky.  I contemplated dusting the surface with flour and forming the loaf, but I followed the instructions that said, put on a lightly oiled surface, and form.  I knew it wouldn't come out right and it didn't.  After forming and raising when trying to get it onto my stone, it was a mess.  I was going to dust the counter with flour, flour my hands, and scoop the dough out onto the floured surface, then sprinkle some flour onto the dough and work the dough, but wasn't sure what type of flour to use.  The load is made with pumpernickel flour and Sir Lancelot flour.  What type of flour should I use to work the dough.  I was thinking of regular flour but am not sure.  I'm going to make the bread again tomorrow and see if I can get the dough to be the way I want it to be.  Any input will be greatly appreciated.  Thanks.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

It will be awkward at first but you will find it is better to push the flour aside.  Use water instead.  So wet your hands and lightly wet the oiled surface too.  If working next to the sink, let the water run just a trickle and run your hands thru it when needed or you can stand a large shallow bowl of water on your work table and dip your hands into it.  To get the dough out of the bread machine (careful not to overmix) sprinkle some water off your hands around the edge of the mixing pan and wet your scraper, then run aroung the edge of the pan to let the few drops of water run between the pan and the dough.  Wet the scraper often working to the bottom and then tip out the dough scraping the bottom the best you can. 

You don't want to use too much water but you will find this slippery mass a lot more cooperative than a super sticky one.

German Pumpernickel dough is formulated to go into an oiled or greased form, pan, bowl, something to hold up the weak sides of the loaf.  It doesn't do too well free form on the stone, spreads out like a frisbee.  Find something to contain it, and your relationship with this wonderful rye dough will improve.  If using the stone, may I suggest using a metal form or pan, glass and thermal shock might shatter the romance


Edit:  Sorry, I should have known better and looked up the recipe.   I forget that many US recipes are named after one of the ingredients than the ingredient that makes up most of the formula.  If this is actually a wheat bread with some pumpernickel flour, then it certainly can stand on its own.  It will still be sticky though so handling with water is the way to go.  Mr. Frost's suggestions on are very good ones.  Once mixed, you can easily hold the dough in the air with your hands, folding and stretching the dough in the air passing the dough from hand to hand as you lighly wet them alternately.  Try to keep the dough a little tacky and not too slimy.

jeremiahwasabullfrog's picture

I concurr!
I bake a lot of 100% rye bread, though normally without the course grain of pumpernickel.

Wet hands is the only way to do it - it kind of becomes like handling clay then.

Also, I make mine at 80% hydration and bake it in a pan. High percentage rye breads are not held together by gluten, but by starch networks, which are much more fragile. It is more like baking a cake than wheat bread. The bread maker probably isn't doing any good other than initial mixing. (although I don't know how much rye:wheat you actually have - but a true pumpernickel shouls be about 100% rye, whicj doesn't benifit from kneading in my experience).


All the best,


mrfrost's picture

Short answer: Adjust the consistency as called for in the recipe.

Long answer: Is this the recipe?

This is a very important phrase in KAF, and really most any recipe:

"...Check the dough after about 15 minutes; it should be smooth-looking. If not, adjust the consistency with additional flour or water..."

Since you are using the machine, you may as well do most of the adjusting in the machine(as the recipe suggests). To stay true to the recipe, and since you won't be sure exactly how much additional flour to add, make a mixture of the 2 flours in the same ratio as the recipe: 2 parts KASL to 1 part pumpernickel. If you do need to do some adjusting outside of the machine, use the same mix. It's your choice though, you can use just the KASL to adjust.

Or you could go the other way; hold back 2 or 3 tablespoons of water and adjust to the described consistency by dribbling in the withheld water during the mixing/kneading.

Usually KAF recipes are pretty spot on and shouldn't need a whole lot of liquid/flour adjustments. This is especially the case for their recipes given with weights. Unfortunately this isn't one of them.

Even though it seems the dough will be a little sticky, it still is probably more similar to a more traditional gluten developed, mostly wheat flour, yeast dough more so than a real, more batter like all pumpernickel or rye loaf. Especially since the recipe calls for a free standing loaf, with no pan shaping.

I'll add that I am certainly not an expert, and do not use much rye or pumpernickel flour, but I have made a very similar recipe, with about the same ratio of flours(only bread flour instead of high gluten), and it came out fine. It's not as dark because I didn't have the caramel color at the time:

 Good luck! Post your results when you try again.

dablues's picture

Yes, that is the recipe.  For some reason my husband doesn't want a round loaf.  I do have a lodge cast iron  I could have used, or a regular round pan, but he wants a long loaf.  I do have the italian baker.  If I use that, the directions always says to let rise in the baker, then put into a preheated oven, but I've hear that you are supposed to heat it first.  If I have to heat the baker first, I'll run into the same problem trying to transfer the dough to the pan.  I only used my long italian baker one time and followed their directions, but now am afraid to put it into a heated oven and reading that this could cause the baker to shatter.  Thanks for all the help.  I did use the bread machine but only for the dough.  Maybe I should try my mixer the next time.  Everyone here is so helpful.  I thought maybe I was doing something wrong with the dough being sticky, but I guess it was about right.  I have used a few of KA recipes and they always come out great.  This one was the problem.  I'll do the water on the hands, bit, and oil the surface.  Just need to find out thoughts on using the long baker unheated then put in the heated oven.  Thanks to all who responded.

mrfrost's picture

Again, however the dough is mixed/kneaded, "adjust and develope the dough to the correct consistency".

From the comment section of this recipe:

"I used my bread machine and it was very sticky. the loaf was flat about 2" high. Is that right? The taste is wonderful,
When making dough in the bread machine, be sure to check the consistency after it mixes and while it is kneading. If too wet, add flour - if too dry, add liquid. It is fine to open the lid and check the consistency! "

Just my opinion. Good luck.

dablues's picture

Thanks for the help.  I should have added more flour.  I'll do that next time if too sticky.  I was going to make another today but hubby wants to wait until the other loaves of bread are gone.