Poking Holes in Pumpernickel
I plan to make the pumpernickel recipe in George Greenstein's Secrets of a Jewish Baker. However, I have some questions about the following instructions, which appear when the round loaves have been brushed with a cornstarch solution and are ready to be baked:
Punch 5 times with an ice pick or skewer, 1 hole in the center and 4 holes in a circle around the center. With a wet finger push all the way down in the center hole, leaving a large indent in the middle of the loaf.
Do these holes serve a specific purpose? Is this a traditional way to prepare this type of loaf? Something else? Thanks.