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Classic Pumpernickel Bread Recipe

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Molasses and a tiny bit of cocoa powder gives this bread its rich, dark color. This moist, dense-grained bread, with the texture of the popular imported pumpernickel you can buy in the gourmet food section of some stores, is perfect for slicing thinly and using as a base for canapés (chopped liver and onions or pickled herring come to mind). Spread with sweet butter, it's also a tasty accompaniment to cheese and fruit, and makes a superior sandwich. Just remember to slice it thinly; it's heavy, and a little goes a long way. Once you try this homemade pumpernickel, you'll never have to buy it at the supermarket again!


1 3/4 cups (12 ounces) water
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup (3 ounces) molasses
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon active dry yeast or 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
3 cups (11 1/4 ounces) pumpernickel flour
1 cup (4 ounces) (approximately) Whole Wheat Flour
2 medium-sized potatoes, peeled, boiled, mashed and cooled (to make 1 cup mashed potatoes; you can use instant if you prefer)
1 egg white mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water, for glaze


Makes: 2 loaves

Combine 1 1/2 cups of water with the cornmeal in a saucepan, and cook over low heat, stirring often, till thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and add the molasses, butter, salt, sugar, caraway seeds and cocoa powder. Stir to combine and set aside to cool to lukewarm.

Warm the remaining 1/4 cup water to approximately 110°F, and stir the yeast into it. Set aside to proof for 10 minutes.

Put the molasses mixture in a large bowl, and add the yeast and mashed potatoes. Stir in the pumpernickel and enough whole wheat flour to make a stiff, sticky dough. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface, and knead until elastic and stiff—up to 15 minutes. You can do this in a mixer attached with a dough hook if you prefer.

Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning to coat all sides, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside to rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk. Punch the dough down, knead for 30 seconds or so, and form into two smooth balls, or into loaves to fit two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch bread pans. Grease the bread pans, or a baking sheet, and set loaves in pans or on sheet. Set aside to rise for 30 minutes or longer, till doubled in bulk.

Brush loaves with egg white glaze. Bake bread in a preheated 375°F oven for 50 minutes, or until it tests done.

Source: Copyright © 2009 King Arthur Flour Company, Inc. All rights reserved.  

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