The Fresh Loaf

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Plan for halfsize german pumpernickel (simplified)

happycat's picture

Plan for halfsize german pumpernickel (simplified)

German Pumpernickel HALF-SIZE

Adapted from:

NOTE: consider sprouting rye kernels



  • 25g rye sour starter
  • 175g cracked rye
  • 175g water 

Scalded Rye Berry Soaker

  • 100g rye berries 
  • 100g boiling water

Cracked Rye Soaker

  • 75g cracked rye 
  • 75g water

Additional Ingredients

  • 275g cracked rye
  • 75g water
  • 11g salt
  • 60g maple syrup 
  • butter to grease pan


Day 1 Noon/early afternoon

  • Prepare preferment and cover 16-24 hours
  • Prepare scalded rye and cover overnight
  • Prepare rye soaker and cover overnight

Day 2 Morning

  • 11.30am - 
    • Add 500g water to scalded rye berry soaker
    • bring to a boil and simmer ~1 hour until soft
  • 12.30pm - 
    • Strain scalded rye berry soaker, discarding water
    • Set aside to cool
  • 1pm - 
    • In a large bowl combine 
      • 350g of preferment
      • boiled scalded rye berry soaker (cooled)
      • cracked rye soaker
      • additional cracked rye (275g)
      • water (75g)
      • salt (11g)
      • maple syrup (60g) 
    • mix by hand until dough sticks together well, comes away from bowl easily 
  • 1.45pm - 
    • grease pan
    • place dough into pan and flatten so half full
    • cover pan
  • 2pm - 
    • proof 3 hours or until dough visibly rises near top of pan
  • 4.30pm - 
    • Preheat oven 150°C (300F)
  • 5pm - 
    • Brush dough with water
    • wrap pan in foil or oven bag to keep steam inside
    • place pan on bottom oven rack
    • bake ~14 hours subject to next step
  • 6pm - 
    • Reduce oven to 120°C (250F)

Day 3  morning

  • 7am - 
    • After baking, turn off oven 
    • leave bread in oven for 1 hour
  • 8am - 
    • remove loaf from pan
    • wrap loaf in kitchen towel 
    • let loaf rest 24 hours


cfraenkel's picture

Now I don't have to do the math.  I am working on converting starter to rye and will begin once I'm sure the yeasties are happy.

happycat's picture

Great. I started sprouting rye today so I will be catching up.

I'm happy to share the space here to capture our two tries at it -- up to you of course.

cfraenkel's picture

I'm in Vancouver so we can compare!  Just don't let anyone from the *real* east coast hear that I called Toronto the East coast.  We'll call it "east of the rockies!"


pmccool's picture

It's a term I see and hear a lot in Michigan, which is surrounded by the Great Lakes.


Benito's picture

David that is great that you shared this formula for others to bake.  May I ask, where are you sourcing your rye berries from?  I don’t recall seeing them at bulk barn.  Without a mill how do you think I could make the cracked rye?  Would a food processor do it or a coffee grinder?


happycat's picture

Hi Benny

I get them off Amazon. We have Prime so shipping is free. For some reason they are cheaper off Amazon than from Yupik directly.

I have a Porlex hand crank coffee grinder. I can open up the setting to make coarse chops pretty fast.

My experience with my Kitchenaid food processor is that it won't work on grains. It will spin them around nicely but only make a bit of dust without cracking the grains. That's after I sharpened the blade, too. It's necessary to crack the grains and then a food processor (mine anyway) can break them up.

For a little coffee mill, their motors are pretty delicate but should be ok if you keep to small portions and pulsing the motor. The coffee mill will break up grains quite easily in contrast to my food processor.

Benito's picture

Thank you for that information David, super helpful.  For some reason I never thought to look for rye berries on Amazon.  So only doing small amounts at a time a coffee grinder might be OK, good to know.  Now I might be able to start down the road of doing a few more rye recipes for which I didn’t think I could without the rye chops.

Abe's picture

For a bread that's baked for a very long time at low temperatures I wonder if a slow cooker might be a good option. The only downside I can think of is a slow cooker might generate a too much moisture but perhaps by baking it in an enclosed loaf pan does away with that. 

happycat's picture

Might work well. A quick Google search shows that people are making bread in them.

Wrapping the loaf in a slow cooker bag (oven bag with opening on long side) might solve the moisture issue

Unfortunately mine's trapped in another city or I'd have played with it for all kinds of things :(

happycat's picture

For those following along, my rye grains are now sprouted and are now drying in my dehydrator.


I bought 1kg Yupik organic rye kernels from 

I dumped them into a big plastic cashew container

I used elastic to secure cheesecloth single layer over the top

I filled the container with tap water and cover it with a box and placed in a cool space for 4 hour soak

then I drained it and repeated the following for a further ~24 hours

  • fill and drain container to rinse, cover with box to keep out light, wait 4 hours, repeat

They were sprouted after around 27-30 hrs

Benito's picture

Very exciting, thanks for taking us on this journey with you.

cfraenkel's picture

and the pre-ferments and soaks are happening.  Should be interesting.

happycat's picture

Great! You are ahead of me :)

My 100% rye starter was ready today.

My sprouted rye was dry last night. Today I chose this consistency for "cracked rye" (6 clicks loose on a Porlex manual coffee mill). The recipe said medium or fine cracked rye. This was my guess. I milled the whole 525g I would need. Good arm workout.

NOTE: my sprouted rye is not super dry. I mean, in the past I have toasted some in an oven which made it brittle. In contrat when the dried and not toasted version is milled it can get crushed/flattened bits vs shards of bran

Here is the cracked rye soaker (rye plus room temp filtered water). It's pasty and takes some mushing around.

Here is the cracked rye levain (rye plus room temp filtered water and my rye starter). It's also pasty and takes some mushing around.


The third piece was scalding whole rye kernels. No pic. I wanted to cover it up and hold in the heat. It's just kernels and boiling water.

Next step will be tomorrow :)


happycat's picture

Today I checked in with my soakers... wow. What a sweet delicious aroma.

I boiled the scalded kernels for an hour and drained them (I kept the drain water and plan to use it in another bake). A sample kernel mashed easily on the back of a spoon.

Here are all the pieces to the puzzle: from top left, salt, additional cracked rye, maple syrup, filtered water. From bottom left, cracked rye levain, cracked rye soaker, scalded and boiled kernels.

In a large bowl, I folded i gredients with a spatula until well-combined into a creamy kind of dough that held together and came away from the bowl. I greased a pan with butter and spread the dough in flat. The recipe says to only half fill... oops. Let's see what happens after 3 hours proof.

After the proof, this gets wrapped in foil and an oven bag and then baked for a looooooong 14 hrs.

cfraenkel's picture

I think I milled my rye more coarse than you did.  I never got anything that I would describe as close to "creamy" when I was mixing.  It held together, barely because of all the dense grain.  It will be interesting to see what happens.

happycat's picture

My cracked rye levain and soaker were both a bit creamy. Not sure if it's finer milling and/or sprouting which would presumably shift starches into sugars a bit. My milling of sprouted rye creates fine powder plus broken sheets of bran. My mill is a ceramic conical burr. I imagine yours is a flat surface.

Did your rye soakers smell sweet?

Looking forward to your baked loaf!

cfraenkel's picture

My soakers smelled sweet, it was really interesting.  I have a Komo Fidibus mill, so flat surface yes.  This is my soaker before it went into the mix. When it said cracked, I did just cracked, it ran through the mill really fast.