miracle Pumpernickel

I was in the middle of making this pumpernickel bread and all I could think of over and over again was…. it would take a miracle. (Said in the voice of Miracle Max from The Princess Bride.) For it really was going to take a miracle for this little loaf to work.

I had scanned and then re-scanned recipes for it, and either the recipe wasn’t what I was after or I didn’t have access to some of the listed ingredients. I re-read some more, until all I felt was, like a dog chasing it’s tail. Funny for someone else watching but rather annoying for the poor dog.

What?… How?… Maybe?… Oh crikey.

Nothing else for it. Jumping in and back to hack basics 101. I had a general idea of how it was supposed to be cooked, and I had a pretty solid idea of how I wanted it to look and taste, so off to the kitchen it was.

First I got some rye grain, as I couldn’t get the kind of rye flour or rye meal I was after. Then popped it in my Kitchenaid blender and pulverised it to make a course flour… pickle me in ginger if that didn’t work. I didn’t even know my Kitchenaid could do that. Whoosh!

With flour now in hand, I started on the rest of the loaf. I really felt out of my depths with this one, just because I was solely going on instinct and guessing and not following someone else’s tried and true pumpernickel recipe. Hence, the many mutterings of …it would take a miracle.

But it did work, and I was really happy with it. Dense, flavourful and definitely one I will be making regularly. It had both sweet and sour flavours, very little crust, and quite sustaining for a small slice. It’s not a quick loaf and does take a bit of preparation but I would much rather be eating a pumpernickel coming out of my kitchen as opposed to an imported one coming from Europe, (as that is a LOT of food miles for a small amount of bread.)


250g rye flour

200g starter (100%)

50g linseed meal

50g sunflower seeds

25g unprocessed wheat bran

1 tsp dark malt flour

handful pumpkin kernels

200mls boiling water

120mls natural yogurt

1 tsp salt

In a bowl add linseed, sunflower seeds, dark malt flour, wheat bran, pumpkin kernels and boiling water. Whisk together and leave to soak for several hours. Then add starter, rye flour and yogurt. Mix slowly a couple of times, with 10 minute rest intervals in between. Then add the salt and mix well again. In an oiled and lined with baking paper tin spoon mixture in. Making sure there is no gaps. Cover and prove until risen by about a quarter. This took for me about 7 hours, will depend on the room temperature though.

Cover with aluminium foil and bake at 220C for 15 minutes, then lowering the temperature to 190C bake for approximately 35 minutes.

Cool in tin for 15 minutes, keeping the aluminium on. Then remove from tin, and cool on rack. When it’s cold, wrap it in baking paper for 24-48 hours before eating.


and just because I can….

this post submitted to the wonderful yeastspotting


34 thoughts on “miracle Pumpernickel

  1. No, not a miracle. Sounds like your skill and understanding of bread-making resulted in that amazing looking pumpernickel bread. You questioned, you persisted, you achieved. Well done.


  2. This is very impressive – almost miraculous 🙂 – and I love that you dived in and had such a good result. Love the Princess Bride references too, especially as I only discovered that movie in adulthood and it is thus relatively fresh in my mind!


  3. Love the princess bride! Love pumpernickel – though it confuses me as I have seen some loaves that are dark but still soft and others I see are less dark but nubbly and dense – yours looks like the latter! I have some pumpernickel rolls I love that are painful to knead because they are so dense – is this the case with yours?


    • Actually I didn’t knead this little baby at all Johanna. Just the slow mixes and then spoon it in. I didn’t see much point in kneading it as it was such a sticky mess with very little gluten involvement, it would have just stuck to everything.
      I think American style pumpernickel can vary a little to the German style (which was more the taste I was going for) with the first being lighter??


  4. I love pumpernickel…every time I think of it I think of my college days picking up a loaf with a friend and sitting on a bench studying, eating, and feeding the birds…ah the days without responsibility or a care in the world.


    • Joanna I really don’t know if I’m educated enough in the art of bread to taste the differences between a hot soaker and not. I know it’s supposed to sweeten it…saying that it did have a sweetness to it sitting along side the tang of a rye flavoured sourdough that’s sat and thought about things for a few days before cutting.
      I am happy about now making a local pumpernickel though 🙂


  5. Brydie, it looks fantastic. How fabulous to have a KitchenAid that can grind flour. I love pumpernickel, for some reason it has a real affinity for egg – for me anyway. Must have a go at doing this – I really must!


  6. I really know how it feels… that kind of bread making anxiety one gets when trying a new loaf. happy it came out as you wanted it. looks delish… and how about those lovely loaves in the background?


  7. That looks like a very impressive loaf Brydie – well done! Funnily enough I have just come from stirring a batch of sourdough rye bread that I started about 30 hours ago. When I came back from Copenhagen I was so inspired by their fantastic rye breads that I had to make some myself. I experimented madly for a few weeks, managed to create a mighty fine version…but ofcourse did not keep any notes or details of what I did (aaghh!). So I am trying to recreate it again, this time keeping notes as I go along. Fingers crossed!


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