The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hand mixing Pumpernickle?

run4bread's picture

Hand mixing Pumpernickle?

I have tried making Hamelman's Horst Brandel's Pumpernickle the last two weekends, not very successfully. Very tasty, and oh so dense, especially last week's. A friend called it a pumpercoin, although he accepted half a loaf happily.

The first time I tried mixing the dough in my wimpy KA in two batches. It rose a bit before baking, and shrank back as it cooled. The second time I hand mixed. It did not rise much, but I had a time crunch and baked. It became the veritable brick, a coin. Both times the dough felt like all berries and chops, very little dough holding it all together.

I assume it is lack of gluten development. Does this recipe have to be mixed in a machine? The short fermentation time leads me to assume S&F do not apply to this sort of recipe.

I also made my own rye chops and meal by grinding berries in my burr coffee grinder. Could this have affected it?

It is so delicious, I will keep trying til it comes out. Or do I need a good mixer for this recipe? I love hand mixing and normally have good results, but this is a lot of rye and soakers. A whole lot of rye berries, once cooked.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Also have you tried looking for info in the archives?  Use both spellings  -ckle  -ckel  

here is also a little discussion with links...

I think you might look at the consistency of the dough (maybe needs more water?)  I don't think how the chops are chopped up makes a real difference.

and half way thru the total rise try a simple fold or two (just reshape) with wet hands forming a nice smooth surface.    

If you are using a sourdough starter try leaving out the yeast or cutting yeast amount in half and give the dough more time to rise.  Rye matrix is delicate and likes a slow stretch, if the yeast is too powerful, the matrix may rip before it rises much.  I prefer to not use yeast and let the sourdough do the work.  It takes longer to rise but the results are by far the best.


run4bread's picture

Hi, Mini,

I searched before posting, and had read all but one of the links related to the link above.  That was Andy's of April 2010, and it is a helpful one!

I think you're on to something about hydration.  I thought I used so much water in hydrating old bread and berries that the first time I added no extra water and second time only 50 grams.  I will try again and add water, as in one of the recipes in the links. 

When I make light rye, I don't add yeast anymore.  I'm happy to adopt that suggestion!  And will try the simple fold or two, and let the rise dictate the pace instead of being worried about rye degrading.  I prefer to handmix and am excited that breads like this and volkornbrot (after I succeed at this) can be made without a mixer. 

After looking at photos, my first attempt was in the ball park. 

I also used a rice cooker for the berries - that works well and simply. 

thank you for your suggestions!

p.s.  one thing that worried me as a pumpernickel/altus novice and I never saw a clear answer (I checked all my books as well as this site - maybe I missed it) is figuring out how to measure old bread and the water for hydration.  Since it is old bread, and sometimes toasted for added flavor, or could be leftover old pumpernickel, the amount of water needed is highly variable. Even the weight of the bread would not be constant.  JH uses weight and volume for old bread that are very different from each other.  I decided the 6.4 oz was for bread before toasting (if toasted) and the 3.6  cups was after hydration, because that is what made sense in my two attempts.  He says water "as needed", which was a lot when I toasted the old bread.  That, plus his caution about not adding a lot of additional water, is what caused me to minimize adding water.