The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Advice on shipping Pumpernickel across the country ...

stephdld's picture
stephdld

Advice on shipping Pumpernickel across the country ...

I recently made a pumpernickel loaf for the first time and my mom wants the recipe, but she is *not* a baker. I don't know that she has ever made bread before at all, in fact. The recipe I used was from the Rose Levy Beranbaum's Bread Bible.

Anyway, I thought it would be a nice gift, as my mom's birthday is near, to just bake another loaf and send it to her with some homemade jams we put up from our fruit trees this year. Since it is partially rye flour and not totally wheat flour, I figure it will keep a bit longer and so possibly could be sent USPS and still stay fairly fresh without much extra effort. I have read a few other posts about shipping breads, however I still seek a bit of advice beyond what I have seen so far.

One of my MAJOR issues is that I live in Arizona and my mom is in New Hampshire. Shipping anything from Arizona will require it to pass through Phoenix (UGH), where it is just terribly hot, potentially making things weird for the bread. I am not sure that just wrapping it in parchment, plastic, and paper and sending it off will be enough to make it safely through the heat.

I have many questions ...

I do have access to a vacuum sealer, but I know very little about the best way to use it. Is it a poor idea to vacuum seal the bread in the first place? Will that make it dry and sad? If I vacuum seal my loaf, do I have to then freeze it before shipping or can vacuum sealed pumpernickel last just fine "on the shelf" in a vacuum sealed bag?

I have also read that freezing it BEFORE vacuum sealing it will allow it to keep better shape in the vacuum sealing process. Do I freeze it, seal it, return to the freezer, then ship? If I freeze it and it thaws completely on the first day of its journey (which I am sure it will, since it will be over 100 degrees F in Phoenix), is it possible for the bread to spoil even though vacuum sealed?

Is it better to vacuum seal or risk just wrapping it with plastic and paper? 

Furthermore, if vacuum sealed, what should she do upon arrival of the bread, just open the bag and eat away? Or would you all recommend re-heating the bread?

Please Help! I am looking for folks who have already successfully sent breads in this fashion, to know how well it went. Or, if I am way off track, I need someone to set me straight and tell me how to send this pumpernickel to my mom!

Thanks, Steph

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

How much rye  and wheat is in the loaf?  Is it a sourdough?  

stephdld's picture
stephdld

Not a sourdough, but I use a sponge dough starter and pre-ferment for about 2 hours. Then autolyse 20-30 minutes during the mixing process.

In total between starter and dough mixture: 1 cup dark rye flour, 2.5 cup (scant 2 Tbsp) of unbleached AP flour, plus 4 Tbsp vital wheat gluten. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

like any other home made bread unless it's sent with next day delivery and that's very expensive.  You might be able to send 98% of the dry ingredients (no yeast)  with instructions on how to make it.  It's not like German Pumpernickel that keeps a long time, that would require almost all rye.  Think of it as a project you can do long distance with each other.  :)

stephdld's picture
stephdld

I like the idea of sending the ingredients, part of why I thought I would just send the loaf was that I already have some of the odd ingredients that she would have to go out and buy specifically for this loaf, making it a pretty expensive single loaf, whereas I already had most of the items in the recipe on hand. 

But, I would like her to just get this nice loaf in the mail already cooked and ready to enjoy. She doesn't have a lot of time or baking inclination. Her husband wanted her to get the recipe from me originally, but I don't think he knows how much time it takes to make a loaf of bread :)  I think I will try vacuum sealing and see how that goes

BakeonlytheBest's picture
BakeonlytheBest

When I read the title for this I thought "Are you not allowed to ship Pumpernickel?". Glad to hear that is not the case. Hope you mom gets her bread and loves it :)

HansB's picture
HansB

Don't freeze it because it will just thaw out. I would time the bake so that the bread can cool completely, vacuum pack it and take it to UPS right at their shipping cutoff time. Use two day shipping and I bet the bread will get there fine. Poilâne ships to the USA from Paris and Zingermans ships their bread all over the country. She should have a nice loaf to eat when it arrives. Let us know how it went.

stephdld's picture
stephdld

Hans, would you suggest I wrap the bread in parchment paper, a paper bag, or paper towels before vacuum sealing it? 

I think I might have to do some vacuum sealing experimentation in my home before sending the bread on it's voyage!

HansB's picture
HansB

I do not wrap the bread before sealing it. You do have to be careful if your sealer does not have a pulse feature. You'll have to stop the vacuum before the bread gets crushed!

stephdld's picture
stephdld

Sounds like some experimentation is in order! Thanks for your advice

~Steph

HansB's picture
HansB

Please let us know how it went.