The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.


nbicomputers's picture


This is my shop tested formula for pumpernichel

it is based on a rye sourdough starter

most of the time in a retail bakery the starter would be basid on white rye flour but whole rye can be used

for the real jewish style use white rye in the starter

onion caraway or raisnes can be added

if you have some old bread it may be added to this formula by soking the old bread in the water for a short time before adding the water to the dough.

also retail bake shops use carmel color to give the bread the rich black color that is assocated with pumpernickel

while it hard to fine in less than one gal containers from bakers supply houses KA does have this in its store in small quanities

pumpernickle Bread

Salt 10 oz

rye sour  8-10 pounds

water 8 pounds (with soked bread if wanted)
carmel color  enough to color

yeast (fresh cake) 10 oz

clear flour 15 pounds

pumpernickle flour 2 pounds

you can add more pumpernickle flour to make heaver bread if you want a dense realy heavy german styl.  just follow the rule of 2 pounds of pumpernickle = 1 pound of clear flour for its capasity to absorbe water.

as allways i would sujest to try the formula as written to get a base line result and then make changes one at a time untill you get the bread you want.

by now most of you that my formulas are for a retail bakery so the amounts are kind of off the wall for the home baker but all that is needed is to  change pounds to ounces   16 pounds becomes 16 ounces  and ounces to fractions 1/16 of an ounce  10 oz salt becomes 10/16 of an ounce = 5/8 which is just over 1/2 ounce.

the yeast in all my formulas is.  varriable less will slow the ferment and more will speed it up  so the amount of yeast is never written in stone.  adjust it for the conditions in your home or shop.

ehanner's picture

Looking at your formula above, I've been thinking of switching to All Trumps from Harvest King for AP flour and I wonder if All Trumps would be a good sub for first clear. The protein count in Gold Medals Iron Duke is lower than All Trumps. It seems like it would be OK. What do you think?


nbicomputers's picture

In a word---NO!

see this thread P]

All trumps is a hy gluten flour 14.2 % proten.  I have a 50 pound bag sitting in my kitchen.  the proten is strong and is of the best quality.

While iron duke has a proten of between 13.6 to 14% it the quality of the proten that matters.  all first clear flours are sifted out from the "better part of the wheat"

clear flours
1-do not have as much proten (Slightly less)
2- have a poorer quality of proten and are not as fine (a coarse grain)
3- their ability to absorbe water is not as great

so in short the gluten in iron duke will not strech as far as all trumps and will tear more easly (extensabality)

thats why you must be more gentle when kneading (Mixing) rye breads they are easy to over mix and tear the gluten in the first clear flour.  on the other hand the gluten in all trumps is so stromg that the sour does not have the power to expand the gluten to its full capisity resulting in a small dence bread

Pro Baker for over 25 years-----Ret

Floydm's picture

The community here is made up of amateur bakers around the globe trying to make the best with what is available to them. Substitutions are a fact of life for us. If a recipe really isn't going to be attainable at home for most of us, then I'm not really sure it belongs here.

A reply that says "It is really worth it if you can find ingredient x, but if not try y" or "Authentic blah blah requires ingredient x, but at home you can make due with y" would be considerably more helpful than just shutting people down with "NO!"

nbicomputers's picture

the poster was asking if all trumps would make a good all purpose flour.  the also talked iron duke

all of these flours are profesional flours and only abailable in 50 and 100 pound bags form bakery supply houses

he is (by his post ) quite familure with flours that are not availible to the home baker.

some questions can be answered with a no when the question is that spsific.

i also explaned why  all trumps flour (hi gluten) would not make a good exchange for Harvest King (all purpose) and iron duke (first clear)  another flour that the poster talked about that is not availible to the home baker but as with the ohers the poster knows about.

ether i stand by my answer a hi gluten flour such as all trumps cann be exchanged with ether harvest king or iron duke and get exceptal results.

they can be replaced with diferend brands of simeler types of flour all trumps for Sir Lancelot Hi-Gluten Flour

iron duke for King Aurthr First Clear Flour

and harvest king for any unbleached all purpose flour.

all which can ge obtained easyly from king aruthr in stores or maile order

Pro Baker for over 25 years-----Ret

Floydm's picture

Fine, but this is at least the second "no substitutions" post from you in the last 24 hours. The vast majority of the members of this site (and the people who aren't members but who visit it regularly) are not semi-pros. If you want to keep it highly technical and only address the high end bakers here, please take it to your blog rather than a forum post (I mention this in the site faq). That'll keep the comments off the front page. It is the TFL equivalent of getting your own room where you can talk about whatever you want.

If you haven't today, please check your email. I dropped you a line this AM.

nbicomputers's picture

havent checked email but will do

could you please link to the "first Post? that you mention in the above.

Pro Baker for over 25 years-----Ret

Floydm's picture

You already did:

first clear is not readly available from stores

for jewish rye and pumpernickel nothing elce will work

nbicomputers's picture

first clear is not readly


first clear is not readly available from stores

for jewish rye and pumpernickel nothing elce will work (this is true you realy need this flour"

allthough substution might work in other forumals " not jewish ryr but will work for types of rye bread'

it goes by the nane Bohemia flour in the bakeries so maybe a bakery thats make iys own rye bread would be willing to sell you a few pounds it dows not hurt to ask,

as for mail order KA has first clear in 3 pound bags "told where to get it"

Pro Baker for over 25 years-----Ret

Floydm's picture

For authentic Jewish Rye good enough to sell in an NYC Jewish bakery, I believe you that there are no substitutions. But for the average baker a long way from New York there are plenty of substitutions and plenty of recipes that don't call for clear flour.

I'm just saying you should stop and look at the masthead here: 99% of us are amateur bakers and artisan bread enthusiasts, not budding professionals. That is the context into which you are posting, and recipes and techniques should be targeted accordingly (though, as I said in my email, I could set up an "Advanced Topics" forum where people could get as technical as they want if that'd be helpful).

RFMonaco's picture

Hi Floyd...I will put in a vote for "Advanced Topics" forum. Thanks for suggesting that!

Floydm's picture

Created. I'll make another post about it.

Elagins's picture

I've used both first clear and also bread flour at around 13.5% protein, and I think the main difference is that the first clear has a slightly greater capacity to take the rye flour: I've gone as high as 60% rye with the first-clear, but found that above 50% the bread flour dough doesn't rise as well and ends up giving me a dense loaf. I've scaled back to about 40% rye (preferably white rye, which has less bran) when I use the BF and it works just fine. The key, I think, is in (a) growing the sour for 3-4 days so that the taste is really well-developed; and (b) using the old bread ("altes") soaker.

Life just gets a bit more complicated when you can't buy in 50lb increments, but nothing that can't be worked around.


dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Floyd. 

Maybe I'm dense, but I missed the offensive part of Norm's responses. 

My read goes like this: 

I am as "amateur" as they come as a baker. I don't even have my own blog. <blush>, although I greatly appreciate your making blogs available to us on TFL. 

I bake bread because I enjoy everything about the process, including participation in the TFL community, but I also bake because I love bread. I want my breads to be as great to eat and as good looking as possible. 

I bake some breads because I love them, but no local bakeries make them. That's particularly the case with Jewish ryes, including pumpernickel. For those breads, especially, I really do want to come as close as possible to what a good professional baker turns out. 

For those breads, information about the ingredients and the processes necessary to make them authentically is much appreciated. I've found that, where the exact flour used commercially is not available, there are usually close facsimiles  that are. However, there are also substitutes that do not work to produce the kind of bread I want to bake, and I'd just as soon know that before I start making the bread. 

Norm's knowledge has been a real asset to many of us, I think. That TFL can attract bakers with years of professional experience like Norm has increased the value of your site to me. 

My experience interacting with Norm, particularly this weekend (See my "Cheese Pockets" blog entry and the related topics), has been very positive. I have neither felt he was trying to turn me into a "professional" nor that he was denigrating my efforts because I was a lowly amateur. He was helping me become a more competent amateur baker. 

My reading of Norm's contributions is that this is the spirit in which he has participated. He can be emphatic about matters of fact, as he knows them, but I have never felt he has put anyone down. 

I know Norm can speak for himself in this regard. I just felt I had to interject another person's perspective.  


Floydm's picture

I did watch your thread on the Cheese Pockets this weekend and I do recognize that Norm is giving some people here exactly what they want (and something I can't give): serious coaching from a former professional. Much credit is due to him for that.

The metaphor that comes to mind is the hard-ass sports coach who yells at and really pushes his students (which is what "no substitutions" in my mind is). Once someone is committed to a sport, that may be the kind of coaching you need to really push you to the next level. But do you have someone like that coach the t-ball team? No way.

It is very important to me that this site stays accessible to new bakers (and, yes, striving for proper grammar and punctuation are a part of making things accessible). Accessibility is why I built the site, aiming for people who haven't even discovered Peter Reinhart's books yet. It is great that we've got more experienced bakers than that here now, but I'm going to continue to insist that it be accessible even to brand new baker, even if that means that high end bakers graduate out of the site and congregate elsewhere. That said, as you can see I've made some changes today to try to accommodate a broader range of skill levels, and I am open to suggestions on how to continue doing so.

mcs's picture

is part content and part delivery.  Just as Norm can speak for himself, so can Floyd, but I thought I'd put my 2 cents in. 

Although I'm admittedly a croissant and puff pastry snob who only uses butter, if someone from the fresh loaf asked me if they could substitute margarine for butter, I would be thinking, "Hell NO!", but would probably respond, "You can substitute margarine or part Crisco, but your end product won't be the same." or something of that nature.
Now, if I were responding to someone like you David, who I have seen favors the direct approach, it might be a little less subtle.  

The regular visitors and old timers were obviously drawn (and stayed here) for a reason.  One only needs to visit the 'highest rated stories' section to see the positive atmosphere that has been fostered here.  Although there are professionals here, the atmosphere is deliberately a personal atmosphere.  When a person posts a picture of a loaf they have made, to me it's as if they are bringing it to my house to share, not for a professional dissection.

To be honest, when I posted my second video while asking for critiques, I was quite surprised at the 'suggestions' I received.  I did take them quite objectively, and made changes accordingly to the following edition.  However, I'm quite sure Floyd was monitoring the situation, and ready to 'jump in' if things turned a little sour.  

I think that's all that is happening here.  It's a friendly baking atmosphere, more like a kitchen than a bakery.  Let's keep it that way.  


Floydm's picture

Well said. And, yes, I agree that the vibe we've got here is more kitchen than bakery or classroom. Maintaining that encouraging vibe is much more important to me than having the site represent baking greatness.

nbicomputers's picture

thanks  david

it was not then or is now ny intention to tell antbody how THEY SHOULD BAKE but more how a professional WOULD bake!

when it comes right down to it

YOU do what ever you want to get the results you want. my word is not god's word. and is not ment to sound arrogent in any way.

i am sory if a few members have taken it that was.

it was not ment to be so. i have received many comments from members saying that they are glad i am here as well as a few e-mails to that effect.

yestrday i got a skype call from a member in FL at 1:00 in the morning and was very happy to talk to them.

i know i type like crap so i try to be as short as possible. and as in the case like the other day with your cheese poketsi was tring to answer you as fast as possable.  that just makes my typing that much worse. 

in the 70s we had cb radio.  this is the cb radio of the 2000s but back then i did not have to worry about where to put the period or spacing or proof reading .

Pro Baker for over 25 years-----Ret

Floydm's picture

Fair enough, Norm, and sorry if it felt like I jumped down your throat today. But I should point out that, when most of us ask a simple question, we aren't looking for an answer about how a professional would do it, we want simple advice from our peers. Home bakers.

The "Professional Concerns" and now the "Advanced Topics" forums are intended to be sections where those kind of issues are explored, the rest of the site targets amateur bakers. Please respect that.

Typing-wise, do you use Firefox? I'm pretty sure Firefox has a built in spellchecker. It comes in handy. I use that and then always preview my post before posting. Even still, I make my fair share of mistakes, but it helps.

nbicomputers's picture

no problem this is your board and you are the boss  if i worked for you in a bakery i would have to bake your way even though i might know better.

all i wanted to do is maybe ---mabye that is put an idea out there so a person would say if a pro does it that way maybe i can also

iwas once sent home for tring to copy down a cake formula. the baker want to keep his secrets and i was never able to get it.  i am telling secrets here and i dont mind example i have posted that a bagel is first baked on a wood board covered with a thich wet canvas for a few minutes and then turned oover on to the stone shelf to finish  so it doas not bake flat.  something every home baker can do. do you have to do it this way-- NO but don't you want to try-- even just once?  I  riged this in my home oven just to see if i could.

all we have here are bakers just because i have made hundreds of breads it does not mean that because you only make one you are less of a baker than i am

a volunter firman does the same job as one that gets paid and deserves no less respect

Pro Baker for over 25 years-----Ret

Floydm's picture

a volunter firman does the same job as one that gets paid and deserves no less respect

Heh, yeah, but I'm neither: I'm just one of the kids playing fireman in the back yard after school. So I *am* less of a baker than you, and it'd be a mistake to treat me like a professional peer. I'm just an enthusiast.

To the best of my knowledge, the BBGA forum is where the pros hang out.

Floydm's picture

something every home baker can do. do you have to do it this way-- NO but don't you want to try-- even just once?

No, no, I don't. Nor do I want to use lye to make pretzels. And I've said this before: I'm not trying to imitate a professional baker at home, and I really don't care about how a professional would do it (though some of the folks here certainly do). I want to make good stuff with ingredients that are readily available to me and have a good time doing so. I'm fine with it being wildly inauthentic if it tastes good.

We are *way* off topic now and should probably put this discussion to bed, or at least move it to the new "Advanced Topics" forum. ;)

xlperro's picture

I have used a product called SINAMAR to help color pumpernickel. It is a malt based product from Weyermann Malting and can be used for brewing, baking, etc. You can find it at Home Brew stores and online shops like

I used about 1 tabelspoon in a batch that made 2 loaves of nice dark pumpernickel

JERSK's picture

Back to the original subject. You can get first clear flour through King Arthur. I think it's $4.25 for 5 lbs.If you have a co-op or access to a food supplier, you may be able to order a 50 lb. bag of first clear and split it with friends. Or keep it. It's amazing how quickly you can go through 50 lbs. Also, local bakeries may have some they might sell. Adding vital wheat gluten is also another option.