|4.9028573 (13)||rate this recipe »|
This bread, made without the help of commercial yeast, is a great accompaniment to Borscht or any other hearty soup. It is made with a coarse rye meal called pumpernickel, which is ground from the whole rye berry, meaning it contains both the bran (the outer covering of the rye berry) and the germ (the oil-rich embryo which would have produced a new seedling had the rye berry been planted).
Pumpernickel is an affectionate German name given in fun, both to the meal and the hearty breads made with it, to describe their effect on the digestive system. ("Pumpern" is the German word for "intestinal wind" and "nickel" is a word for demon or sprite.) We've combined it with our King Arthur Unbleached Flour to minimize this effect (!) and to create a light and tasty loaf.
Put this together the night before you want to serve your bread.
1 1/3 cups sourdough starter The Dough
1 cup black coffee (or water if you don't have any coffee around; water you've boiled potatoes in is also a good option)
2 cups pumpernickel flour
1/2 cup chopped onion
After you've put the dough together and shaped it, it will need to rise for 2 or 3 hours (or more or less depending on conditions). If you make one loaf, it will need to bake for about 45 minutes. Two loaves will take about 35 minutes. Take this timing into consideration before you start.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup dark, unsulphured molasses
about 4 (more or less) cups of King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (you can substitute some whole wheat flour for some all-purpose for a heartier loaf if you wish)
The Sponge: Put your starter in a glass or ceramic bowl. Feed the remainder with equal amounts of flour and water, cover it and let it sit out at room temperature for 12 or so hours to give the wild yeast a chance to start working on its new meal. Then refrigerate it until you want to use it again.
To the starter in the bowl, add the coffee (not hot), pumpernickel and onion. Stir this brew together, cover it and let it bubble away overnight.
The Dough: Stir the oil, salt and molasses into the sponge. Stir in the flour a cup at a time until you have a dough that you can knead. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding only enough more flour to keep it from being actually sticky (when the dough actually sticks to your hands). When you knead a dough that contains rye flour, it will never completely lose its tacky feel. You want to knead it enough so you can take your hands away from it without bits of dough sticking to them. Don't keep adding flour to try to eliminate the "tacky" feel because you'll end up with something to feed the birds (which might be all right at this time of year anyway!)
You can shape this dough a number of ways. Make one large round loaf which you'll place on a pumpernickel-sprinkled baking sheet. Or make two smaller versions of the same thing. Or place it in a large (10 x 5-inch) bread pan or 2 smaller 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch pans.
Cover the loaves with either a damp towel or a piece of lightly greased (so it won't stick to the surface of the dough) plastic wrap. Place them somewhere out of a draft to rise. You can control the rate of rise somewhat by the temperature in which you put them. 55°F to 60°F will mean 3 to 5 hours of rising; 65°F to 70°F will mean 2 to 4 hours. Just keep an eye on them. You want to put them in a preheated 350°F oven before they've doubled in bulk, as they'll continue to rise during the first 15 minutes of baking. Bake 2 smaller loaves for about 35 minutes, 1 large loaf about 45 minutes. Makes 1 or 2 loaves.
Tip: Need some sourdough starter to get started? See our step-by-step directions for creating your own sourdough starter from scratch. Or, if you’re looking for a head-start, check out our classic fresh sourdough starter, a simpler path to fresh, ready-to-use sourdough starter.
This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. III, No. 3, January-February 1992 issue.