The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Pullman loaf pan

edh's picture

Pullman loaf pan

I'm working up the nerve to try Hamelman's pumpernickel bread; the heavy-duty European one. This is probably a huge mistake, as I've only just started messing about with rye breads, but it's all been going so well, why not get in over my head?

The only problem is that it requires baking in a pullman loaf pan (well, that and the fact that it's going to own my oven for something like 12 hours...) and I neither have one nor especially want to buy one.

Does anyone have any alternative suggestions? I'm hoping that the only thing that counts is that it be covered, and maybe I can just get away with baking it in my cast iron pot. I'm not terribly fixated on visual authenticity, only taste!

If anyone has made this bread, please jump in and tell me about it; I'm looking forward to the adventure, but fearing a doorstop at the end of it.



qahtan's picture

 But you must admit a Pullman loaf baked in the right pan looks good. qahtan

sphealey's picture

If you don't have a Pullman pan (and very few do, even among dedicated bread geeks) you can use an ordinary loaf pan with a cookie sheet on top (with or without a brick or other heavy object on the cookie sheet).

Or you can just cook it in whatever you have, including loaf pans or whatever. That's what I do with this type of recipe.

Be aware however that these high-fraction ryes have little or no internal structure[1], so they need some sort of support otherwise they just puddle.


[1] OK Doc, I admit it: I cheat. I put 10% bread flour in my 100% ryes. (cue tears, sobbing, etc). Don't turn me in to the Rye Bread Police - please (more sobs)

qahtan's picture

This is what happened whenI tried a Pullman without the right pan....;-)))


edh's picture

The pullman is very pretty, but I'm just going to have to do without. I'll either try the cookie sheet cover on a regular pan, or bake it in a heavy pot. I still have until tomorrow to decide!

I'll be mixing up the sourdough this evening, so should see the results tomorrow evening. Hope it's not a disaster!


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

If you use glass, you can watch it too!  And you won't need a brick on it.

Mini O

edh's picture

I was right, I was definitely in over my head! Among other things, I misread Hamelman's instructions concerning water in the final dough. He says to hold back on adding in any of the old bread soaker water, but lists 12.8 oz of water in the final dough. I'm thinking now those are meant to be the same thing. oops.

I merrily dumped in the water, on top of sourdough, 2 soakers, yeast and flour, and ended up with the most amazing glop I've ever stuck my hands into. Even after adding another pound or so of high gluten flour (any hope of flour purity was long gone at this point!), there was nothing dough like about the mess in the bowl. It was the consistancy of a quick bread batter.

Nonetheless, having invested this much time and ingredients, I dumped the whole thing out on the counter, tried to french fold, got stuck (literally; this stuff was so aggressive it pulled my wedding ring off!), flopped it all around a bit, wrestled it back into the bowl, and ran away for 1/2 hour.

After the very short bulk fermentation called for, I went throught the same comedy routine, dumped it unceremoniously into a covered pot and a loaf pan, then ran away again, for an hour. When I came back they had both risen almost double, to my great surprise. I covered the pot, put a weighted cookie sheet on the loaf pan, wished them both luck, and put them in a 350 F oven. After an hour I turned it down to 275 and left it there for 4 hours, then shut it off and left it for another 9 hours. When they came out, the loaves looked like a small animal had curled up in the middle to sleep.

The funny thing is, though they look horrible, and have a ridiculous consistancy (the inside is completely wet and almost gooey), the taste is actually quite good, and the bread is somehow satisfying to eat.

Unfortunately this means I'm probably going to have to try again. Ack.

Aside from my colossal hydration blunder, I think the biggest challenge is trying to make my very cheap, not very well insulated, but very well vented gas oven behave like a traditional wood fired deck. Hmmm...


subfuscpersona's picture

I hope you were able to rescue your wedding ring.

I loved this post, BTW. Score one (from me)

KipperCat's picture

LOL!  Best belly laugh I've had recently.  Of course you have to try again!  Once it tastes good with everything wrong, there's no other choice.

JMonkey's picture
When they came out, the loaves looked like a small animal had curled up in the middle to sleep.
This is the funniest line I've read all day. I'm very sorry to hear about your loaves, but I'm glad they produced this write-up. I was laughing out loud, mainly because I saw so many of my own past failures in your post.

Good luck with the next batch! I just made a loaf of Peter Reinhart's Volkornbrot, mainly so I'd have some "old bread" to use for Pumpernickel, though the bread itself is tasty. An amazingly crunchy crust with a very moist, smooth crumb. And boy, is it DENSE and strongly flavored. I don't see myself making this on a regular basis, as it's really not at all suited for sandwiches (unless you've got a pair of donkey jaws), but it is very nice with soup.

We'll see how the pumpernickel goes ....
edh's picture

Well good; if it made someone else smile, the pumpernickel trauma was worth it! I will be trying again soon, once I've created some more "old bread" to start with.

I have been enjoying Hamelman's 40% rye (no caraway for me), and it's far less scary.

JMonkey; would you mind keeping us all posted on your progress with the pumpernickel? Your hand with whole grains is far superior to mine (thank you, by the way, for your version of Reinhart's whole wheat; a spelt version is a new favorite in the family), and I'd love to read your thoughts on the recipe and process. I thoroughly enjoyed the experiment, but felt much of the time as though I was reading the recipe in a foreign language; it was very different from anything else I've tried. Of course, that's what makes it all so much fun...

Subfuscpersona; I did retrieve my wedding ring, but not before imagining having to tell my husband and son they'd have to chew this bread very carefully...

No bread today; the whole household is bleary-eyed from staying up too late to watch game 3 of the World Series...