Back in September my husband and I were traveling through Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. We stopped at a small cafe, I can’t remember the name now, and had lunch. It was memorable for two reasons, it was the first time we experienced Turkish coffee, which was amazing! We definitely want to do that again. And, we had sandwiches made on this incredibly flavorful pumpernickel bread. My hubby exclaimed, to a bit of my surprise, that he loves pumpernickel bread so, of course, I said “I will make you some when we get back home.” That was six months ago! Now, it does not take half a year to make this bread, you really only need about three hours. But life got busy, as it often does, we were traveling quite a bit and I wanted to take the time to research a bit about the proper flour to use for the best flavor. I settled on King Arthur’s pumpernickel flour blend. King Arthur is often my go to flour source, and I placed an online order for one of their 3 pound bags.
My next quest was to find a recipe that looked amazing and was simple enough to use in my home kitchen. A number of formulas I found were more suited to industrial kitchens and large production output. I just wanted one or two loaves. I found this recipe for Russian Black Bread on the King Arthur website. It appeared that it would be extremely flavorful from the list of ingredients that included 1 cup of pumpernickel flour, 2 cups of bread flour, molasses, brown sugar, fennel seeds, dark cocoa powder and instant espresso! I had to try this one!
This recipe is for one loaf and I decided to make two loaves, a regular bread loaf and a boule. I did not double the formula but instead chose to make two separate recipes. I did this because bread baking is not like making cookies or cakes. The flour is not incorporated all at once. A portion is held out and slowly added during the kneading process and may or may not be necessary. The dough has to be checked multiple times throughout the incorporation stage and adjusted accordingly. Also, shaping a boule is different than shaping a loaf so I wanted these events to be independent of one another.
The dough is straight forward, you add all the ingredients and withhold 1 cup of bread flour for the kneading steps.
I repeated this process for the second loaf. The dough was allowed to ferment for 80 minutes until it doubled in size.
Once the bread had doubled in volume it was time to shape and pan the dough. I used a conventional 9 X 5 rectangular pan and a brotform basket to shape and pattern the boule. One key element to using a brotform is to make sure the bowl is heavily floured so that the proofed loaf will release onto the baking stone or pan. I used the pumpernickel flour for dusting.
Both loaves were shaped and allowed to proof for an additional 90 minutes. Afterward, they were scored.
The loaves baked at 375°F for 35 minutes, until they sounded hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Then it was time to take some pictures and eat!
My favorite way to eat this bread is a sandwich with ham, mustard, spinach, swiss and cheddar cheese!
Enjoy this one!