The Fresh Loaf

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Horst Bandel’s Black Pumpernickel - Finally!

txfarmer's picture

Horst Bandel’s Black Pumpernickel - Finally!

The picture above shows the 5th Horst Bandel Pumpernickel I made, and the last 4 were made within the span of a month, yes, I am just a tad "obsessive". :P


I've posted twicehere before asking about this recipe. Other than the first time, where I over-corrected the "too wet" problem and made the dough too dry, the other times the bread actually tasted fine. When I posted pictures last time, the kind people here even said it looked perfect for an authentic German pumpernickel. There's only ONE problem, the bread did not rise to the top to fill the pullman pan. No matter how much water I put in, how much I knead/not knead, how long/short I let it rise, the finish loaf was ALWAYS 0.5inch below the lid. Even though it tasted great, the smell was heavenly, and the crumb was just the right moisture, I just couldn't rest until it rose to the top! Finally, I noticed that my pan was 4X4X13, while Hamelman's was 3.75X3.75X13, it's such a tiny difference, I never thought it was a big deal. Then I got desperate and calculated the volume difference, wow, it's exactly 1/2inch below my pan!!!

So for this last time, I adjusted all the ingredients, and made 110% of the recipe, guess what?! It filled the top and came out perfectly square!

After 36 hours of resting, sliced thin:


Yummy with smoked salmon

Phew, finally I can stop baking this bread every Sunday, which taks up the oven space for the whole day (17 hours)! I love eating it, but I think I am just a tad relieved that I can take a break from it for a bit. :P

For those who like heavy dark rye breads, this one is a must try, it's in the "Bread" book by Hamelman. Super yummy, and really not THAT difficult to make, as long as you add enoug water, my dough was plenty wet, so wet that I couldn't really lift the column into the pan, I had to dump it in. I was pretty stingy with the soaking water for the old bread, and used probably 95% of the water in the final dough. Oh yeah, it helps to make sure that your pan size is correct if you are obsessed about the shape like me.BTW, I didn't have blackstrap molasses so I skipped it as instructed in the recipe, that's why the bread is not that dark.


Yippee's picture

恭喜恭喜! Your bread looks great!


txfarmer's picture

Good to hear Chinese around here!

dstroy's picture

wow.. that looks fantastic! I bet it would be amazing with some caviar on it!

txfarmer's picture

Caviar! That's what I forgot. Maybe I do need to make it again! :P

dmsnyder's picture

Your photos are really nice, too.


txfarmer's picture

Your posts really have helped me in all areas.



Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

     Nice hold together slices, good texture and color and it even fills the pan to a perfect square.  All the sides even look the same!  Are you having the recipe engraved into the lid?  Might not be a bad place for it. 

I'm trully happy for you, tx.   Congratulations!


txfarmer's picture

Just want to thank you for your help and encouragement along the way ! Isn't it funny that I have committed that recipe into my memory? Even though it's so long and complicated?

SweetBreads's picture

Having read some of TXFarmer's battles with this particular recipe, your idea of engraving it on the lid is a good one, Mini Oven.  It might even create a nice relief on the top of the loaf that now touches the lid.  A built-in ingredients list for gift-sharing loaves with others.  :-)

Seriously, the OCD in me understands how we become fixated on one particular aspect of recipe in spite of everything else being perfect.  It was good of you, Mini, to observe in an earlier thread that TX might need to increase the overall recipe by 10% to fit the larger pan size.  It seemed to do the trick and TX is now free of the never ending loop of repeating this recipe until nirvana has been obtained.  :-)

TXFarmer, this loaf is truly worth the trial and error you endured and is something of which to be proud.  Kudos!

On a slightly separate but related note...Does anyone know where I might find a Pullman or similar type loaf pan for baking party rye?  I recall from childhood seeing loaves near the bakery/deli sections of American military commissaries.  Slices from these loaves were about 2-3 inches square, with an even crust all around and resembled dark but not overly moist Pullman-style loaves of rye in miniature.  They were perfect for appetizer-sized servings or child's tea sandwiches.  I wonder if a square canape tube would do the trick...?  Most square canape tubes I have seen are shorter in length than the party rye loaves I recall, but perhaps beggars can't be choosers...

Suggestions are appreciated. :-)


JoeVa's picture

Great Rye!


txfarmer's picture

Thanks, I have really become addicted to high percentage rye bread.

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

I know I'm getting in on this late but I'm getting ready to do a 100% rye in a pullman too. What a great use for a pullman pan. Much better use than wonderbread like "pan de mie"!!

ehanner's picture

I've been wanting to make this bread and have been following you quest for a while. I'm glad you are obsessive cause I'm learning from your efforts. Thanks for sharing.


txfarmer's picture

I am glad my obsessiveness can benefit someone else - other than the German coworker who got a lot of the "missing 0.5 inch at the top" breads. :P

chuppy's picture

Bravo, bravo, bravo. That is not an easy bread to make congrat's. Very nice post as well.