The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pumpernickel Yeast Water Miche

isand66's picture

Pumpernickel Yeast Water Miche

Last Friday I finally returned from my latest trip to China and was eager to try my hand at a rye bread after reading about some interesting ones on The Fresh Loaf.  I wanted to make one utilizing a Yeast Water starter per my baking friend DA Brownman who recently baked a master piece using a combination of a Yeast Water starter and traditional SD starter.

Since I have been having some fairly successful bakes using coffee in place of the water in my multi-grain bakes I decided to try again and used a simple dark roast coffee for the soaker and for the final dough.  I made a soaker using rye berries and cracked wheat.  I mixed the hot coffee with the dry ingredients and let sit for 24 hours covered at room temperature.

For the Yeast Water starter I wanted to develop a Pumpernickel starter so I built up the starter in 3 stages.  The first stage was left for 4 hours at room temperature and the second stage was left overnight for about 8 hours at room temperature.  The final build was left for around 5 hours at room temperature.  I tried to make exactly 425 grams of starter, but be sure to weigh your final starter and adjust as needed.

Make sure you drain the grains from the soaker, but be aware that they will absorb a great deal of the liquid.  Even though the hydration of this dough is only 70%, it is really much higher when you take the soaker into consideration.


485 grams Hot Coffee

100 grams Cracked Wheat

150 grams Malted Rye Berries

Mix coffee in a bowl with other ingredients and let sit covered at room temperature for 24 hours.

Yeast Water Starter Build 1

60 grams Yeast Water

60 grams Pumpernickel Flour

Mix ingredients in a bowl and cover.  Let sit at room temperature for 4 hours or until you see some activity and your starter is almost doubled.

Yeast Water Starter Build 2

100 grams Yeast Water

100 grams Pumpernickel Flour

Mix above into starter from Step 1 and let sit covered for 8-10 hours or until the starter has almost doubled.

Yeast Water Starter Build 3

15 grams Yeast Water

100 grams Pumpernickel Flour

Mix above into starter from Step 2 and let sit covered for 4-5 hours or until starter has almost doubled.  You can also put in the refrigerator and leave for up to 1 day if necessary until you are ready to bake.

Main Dough


425 grams Starter from above

150 grams Graham Flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)

200 grams White Rye Flour

100 grams Pumpernickel Flour or Dark Rye Flour (I used KAF)

70 grams Roasted Wheat Germ (adds a nice nutty flavor)

370 grams Dark Roast Coffee (90 degrees F.)

14 grams Sea Salt (or table salt)

10 grams Walnut Oil (substitute any oil desired)


I mixed  the flours together with all the coffee except for 50 grams and let them autolyes for 30 minutes.   I then added the Yeast Water Pumpernickel levain, oil and the soaker and the rest of the coffee with the salt and mixed on speed #1 for 1 minute and #2 for 4 minutes.  I then did a stretch and fold, rested the dough uncovered for 10 minutes.  Note that since this dough was extremely sticky it was not very easy to do a stretch and fold.   I then did another stretch and fold, covered the dough and let it rest for 10 minutes.  I did one more stretch and fold and put it in a lightly oiled bowl for 2 hours.  I then put it in the fridge overnight.

The next day I let the dough sit out at room temperature for 2 hours.  I had planned to make 2 boules but since this dough was so moist and did not come together like a bread made with white flour I decided to form it into a large Miche.  Alternatively I could have formed it into loaves and baked in a bread or Pullman pan.

Cover the dough in your pans or basket and let it sit at room temperature for 2 hours or until you notice some lift to the dough and it can pass the poke test.

Score the loaves as desired and prepare your oven for baking with steam.

I then baked on my oven stone with steam at 450 degrees until the loaf was golden brown and reached an internal temperature of 200 - 210 degrees F.

I had to bake this bread for almost 50 minutes since it was so moist and the final dough came out with an excellent crust and moist crumb but a little denser than I would have preferred.  It is an excellent bread for some sharp cheese and/or a nice grilled cheese sandwich.

This bread has been submitted to Yeast Spotting here at


dabrownman's picture

minute we were baking the same bread today.  They were pretty close anyway.  Thank goodness you didn't use SD in your levain.   Our dough hooks could have become entwined in some kind of cross country entanglement with no end or resolution possible.   My apprentice was paying attention to lesser Mayan and major bread gods just in case some of them think we take their  knock downs too lightly.  I mean, no one wants to risk death to starters for 100 years or hemp seeds going to $17.99 a pound........   errrrrr......I guess they already did that once this year.

It looks like you wrote your name with a lame on your new loaf.  We really like this bread even though it was really wet and spread out some.  But, we really like your Mocha SD bread a lot.  You were right, it is a fine loaf and delicious.

Nice baking Ian and thanks for the inspiration.

isand66's picture

You know eventually it's bound to happen that the gods of sour dough cause a rift in the space time continuum and cause us to bake the same bread on the same day!  I'm glad you liked this one, but I have to agree the Mocha SD one came out better.  I think the reliance on a Yeast Water only Rye levain did not work as well as if I had done a combo SD version, but you can really taste the dark roast coffee I used.  It has a pretty strong coffee after-taste and goes really well with a nice sharp cheddar.

Maybe I was signing my loaf subconsciously!

Look forward to reading about your latest bake.

Thanks again for the feedback as always.



Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

the job discription of Austrian Kitchen Elves.  :)   

isand66's picture

Thanks Mini Oven!  I need to lose a few pounds before I can fit into my Elve outfit :)

Thanks for your kind words.


Mebake's picture

Looks nice from here, Ian! Should be great with some cream cheese. I especially love the crust color. It is plenty nutritious Too.

isand66's picture

Thanks Kahlid....appreciate the comments.  So happens I have had a slice with cream cheese for breakfast and another with some havarti a few minutes ago!