The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

North American Pumpernickel

dwfender's picture

North American Pumpernickel

I made these "North American" Style pumpernickels today. Wasn't thrilled with the outcome and definitely would like to tweak the recipe, but they are on its way. I'll post the recipe and my criticism and hopefully someone can point me in a direction. 

I have 9" bread pans. I weighed the dough to 600 gram pieces, but I think I should have bumped it up to at least 900 for these pans. 

Not as dark as I would have liked. I wanted like a nice dark black pumpernickel. (like the cheesecake factory)

There is a decent amount of butter and lard in the recipe and the crumb is soft yet chewy. Its actually not too bad of a texture. I think I may have very slightly undercooked it because the crumb is a little dense as you chew it. 

The crumb is very uneven. The bottom is dense and the top is a little too uneven. I don't make many loaf pan breads so I need some help here. I'm thinking it was underproofed or proofed too quickly? The loaves barely filly out the pans before they went in the oven but I proofed them for about 20 minutes longer than suggested because I didn't think they were quit there yet.

Not bad, but not perfect. It doesn't have a strong rye/pumpernickel flavor. I taste the lard and the coffee and they don't work particularly well together. The dough is sweet but not overly sweet and with all things considered the flavors are quite well balanced. I didn't use caraway because I didn't have any. I'm confident that using them would have changed the flavor quite drastically. I should have toasted some and put that in and maybe some extra on top. Next time I need to make sure I try them. Instead I used flax seed just for a little more nutrition.





Ingredient            Amount in % 

Bread Flour        60
Rye Flour           40
water                  44
Coffee                 20
Cocoa Powder      3.3  ( i used gadiva unsweetened)
Molasses              12
Sugar                   4.4
Lard                     17
Butter                   5
Salt                       2.4
Yeast                     1
Levain                 11
Caraway              1.3 


I mixed the flours and liquids for about 5 minutes. Let them rest for 20 and then mixed for another 5 minutes. Added the sugar and molasses and mixed until incorporated, about 3 minutes. I added the lard and butter and mixed again until incorporated. that was another 3-5 minutes. The dough at this point was basically elastic and quite supple, albiet a little greasy. I added the flax seeds and folded several time to incorporate. 

Bulk fermented for 2 hours with a fold halfway through. Shaped, bench rested, final shaped and proofed for about an hour and 20 minutes. (Hour was suggested but it was quite cool out today) Preheated to 450...added the bread and dropped it down to 400 and baked with steam. 


Comments much appreciated. I'm very new to pumpernickel and would really like to find a great recipe. 

pmccool's picture

All things considered, that's some nice-looking bread you have there.  The crumb picture suggests that it may have been a bit over-proofed before going into the oven but it doesn't appear to have suffered too much.  I suspect that the quantity of dough in each loaf wasn't enough to fill the pan completely.  You may want to nudge your quantities up by 10% for the next bake.  If that works, great.  If not, try increasing the quantity again for the following bake.  If necessary, repeat until you find the amount of dough that fills the bread pan to your liking.  I might aim for about 500g of flour per loaf for a 9x5 pan and see whether adjustments are needed.

The lard/butter combination at 22% on flour in this formula is very high.  I'd probably cut it back to 5% for my own tastes; you may be happy with something different.

You can get a dark pumpernickel two different ways.  One is to add dark ingredients.  You've been the molasses / coffee / cocoa route and are finding that the bread tastes of molasses / coffee / cocoa.  Not a bad thing, if that's what you want, but not a good thing if you really want to taste the rye.  If you want darkness via additives, try using caramel coloring.  You can buy it from providers such as King Arthur Flours or you can make it at home without too much difficulty.  But do be careful if you make your own!  Molten sugar can cause some nasty burns.  Caramel coloring will give much deeper color with much less flavor interference than most of the other additives.

The other way is to go traditional and bake the bread at a low temperature for hours on end.  The Maillard reactions cause the naturally-occurring sugars in the flour go through the same chemistry changes that you achieve when making caramel coloring.  And with the same result: a dark bread.

If you care more about the flavor of the rye (not to mention the caraway or dill or fennel seeds that you may choose to include) and less about the color, I'd suggest that the rustic pumpernickel recipe in the Inside the Jewish Bakery book is a winner.

Do spend some time poking around here on The Fresh Loaf.  Just type pumpernickel in the Search tool at the upper left-hand corner of the page and you'll have hours of reading about the bread.


dabrownman's picture

Paul, I would like to try to get the darker color by baking long and low.  Can you give me a rough place to start as far as temp and time go?  Also, I like the idea of caramel too.  Make it all the time for other stuff.  What % would be appropriate if leaving out the molasses and cocoa?

Thanking you ahead of time.

pmccool's picture

David Snyder's post about the Horst Bandel pumpernickel gives one such baking profile.  It's in Step 12 of the process.

And in another of David's posts about a pumpernickel from Greenstein's Secrets of a Jewish Baker, there's some information about caramel coloring.

Those should give you a starting place and I'm sure you can find even more in TFL's archives.


dabrownman's picture