1) If you don't have any powdered caramel color, make the following substitute: Place 1/3 cup sugar in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until the sugar melts. Continue cooking the sugar until it turns dark brown and begins to smoke. Remove it from the heat and allow it to cool for 5 minutes. Add 1 cup boiling water and stir until the sugar is dissolved, reheating briefly if necessary. Use this water for 1 cup of the boiling water called for in the recipe.
2) Put the cracked wheat and malted wheat flakes or oats in a large mixing bowl, and pour in the boiling water. Stir in the burnt sugar or caramel color. Allow the mixture to cool to lukewarm, which will take about 1 hour.
3) Stir in the pumpernickel flour, whole wheat flour, yeast, salt and vegetable oil. If you're looking for a typical yeast dough here, forget it; the mixture will be sticky and have about as much life as a lump of clay.
4) Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it sit in a warm place (70-75°F) for at least 12 hours, and up to 24 hours.
5) After the mellowing/rising period is complete, grease two 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pans, or two long, narrow 12 1/2" x 3" x 2 1/2" pans, if you've happened to acquire such pans in the past. Or, try our three-channel pan, using just two of the channels.
6) Stir the dough in the bowl a bit, to bring it together. Divide it in half, and press each half into one of the pans, smoothing the surface with your wet fingers. This dough is exceedingly sticky/slimy; but if you keep your hands wet, all will be well.
7) Let the loaves sit, covered, for 1 1/2 hours; they'll rise just slightly. Grease two pieces of aluminum foil, then cover the pans tightly with the foil, greased-side down.
8) Preheat the oven to 225°F. Place the covered pans in the oven. Bake the bread for 2 hours. Remove the foil from the pans, and check to see that the bread is firm and looks set — it should register about 205°F to 207°F on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of a loaf. Its top crust will look very moist; that's OK. Also, it doesn't make a difference which size pan(s) you've baked the bread in; the loaves will bake for the same amount of time.
9) Remove the bread from the oven. Let it cool in the pans for 15 minutes to firm. Remove it from the pans and allow to cool to lukewarm before wrapping in plastic wrap or a dishtowel. Cool completely before slicing. If bread is to be stored longer than a couple of days, wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate.
Yield: 2 loaves.