Pumpernickel (German)


I have grown to really enjoy Pumpernickel as a change from ordinary western-style breads. I love nothing more than some fresh salad in an open sandwich atop thin slices of this black bread. I have adjusted the traditional recipe just a little bit as follows:

150g raw potato

300ml water

15g fresh yeast or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried yeast

1 teaspoon brown sugar

25g molasses or black treacle

15g margarine

350g wholewheat flour

100g rye flour

2 teaspoons salt

25g bran brerakfast cereal

25g maize meal

1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds


Peel the potato, cut into quarters and cook in boiling salted water until tender. Drain and mash smoothly.

Leave aside to cool.

Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan, then pour about 4 tablespoons of the boiling water into a large bowl. Leave until it is lukewarm then stir in the yeast and brown sugar until well blended.

Leave aside in a warm place for about 10 minutes until the mixture becomes frothy. Stir the molasses or treacle and the margarine into the remaining hot water and stir until dissolved then leave aside to cool until lukewarm.

Place 100g of the wholewheat flour and all of the rye flour int he bowl containing the yeast mixture. Add the salt, bran cereal, maize meal and the cooled molasses liquid. Mix thoroughly and then beat well for at least 4 minutes (or 2 minutes if you prefer to use an electric beater at high speed). Mix in the mashed potatoes and a further 50g of the wholewheat flour.

Beat well again for a further 4 minutes to give a very thick batter. Add the caraway seeds and remaining wholewheat flour to give a fairly soft dough.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and cover with dough with the bowl and leave to rest for 15 minutes.

Knead the rested dough until smooth and elastic. This will take about 15 minutes. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with oiled polythene and leave to rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size.

Punch down the dough, then return it to the bowl, cover and leave to rise again for about 30 minutes. Punch the dough down once more and shape into a loaf tofit into a large loaf tin. cover with oiled polythene bag and leave to rise in a warm place until it reaches almost to the top of the tin. Bake towards the top of a moderate oven (180°C) for 45-50 minutes.

Turn onto a wire rack and leave to cool.

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