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Bavarian-style Whole Grain Pumpernickel Bread ...for World Bread Day 2010

How can something be kind of bitter...yet also comforting all at the same time?  It looms so prominently in front of you.  It beckons you with an unspoken promise of satisfaction...fulfillment...riches.  You can smell it.  It's luring you into its web.  Then suddenly you take a bite and are confronted by something far more strong and complex than you imagined.  Each move of the jaw releases a pungent...yet not unpleasant...assault to your taste buds.  Almost jaw-achingly chewy crust gives way to warm, tender insides.  Sure, that initial bubble of dreams you got caught up in has vanished...but a new world, full of possibilities looms before you.
Am I talking about Pumpernickel or my elimination from PFB 2010?  Perhaps both.  You decide.  Either way, I want to make sure that everybody who supported me and voted for me throughout the process knows how much I appreciate that...you guys rock my world! I'm of the mind that whispers inspiring things like..."when one door closes, another one opens" and "things happen for a reason", though...so no worries, my friends. 
Bavarian-style Whole Grain Pumpernickel Bread
from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day
yield: 4 lbs. dough (easily halved or doubled)

2½ c. whole wheat flour
2¾ c. rye flour
2½ c. unbleached ap flour
1½ Tbs. granulated yeast
1 Tbs. kosher salt
¼ c. homemade liquid caramel color *see recipe below
¼ c. vital wheat gluten
1 Tbs. caraway seeds
2 Tbs. molasses
3¾ c. lukewarm water

Whisk together flours, yeast, salt, vital wheat gluten, and caraway seeds in a 5 quart bowl of lidded food container.

Combine liquid caramel color, molasses, and water and then mix them into dry ingredients, using a wooden spoon...switching to your hands in the end if necessary to mix in the dry ingredients.  Dough will be wet. 

Cover (not airtight), and allow dough to sit at room temperature until it rises and collapses (flattens), ~2 hours.

Use dough immediately, or refrigerate covered (not airtight) and use over next seven days.  Dough is easier to work with when refrigerated.

When you're ready to bake, cut off a piece of dough according to what you need.  I used a 1½ lb. piece to make this loaf.  I have yet to get myself a brotform/banneton (basket mold made for rising wetter dough), so I lined a bowl w/ a linen towel and dusted it very well with flour.  Sprinkle some flour on your work surface, then form dough into  a ball by stretching the surface of the dough to the bottom while rotating, quarter-inch turns.  Place loaf into bowl (or brotform/banneton), rounded side down.  Cover loosely w/ plastic or a floured towel and let rise at room temperature for ~90 minutes (or ~40 if using immediately w/out refrigerating).  This type of bread doesn't get a huge rise here.  (You could also make a free form loaf and let it rise on a floured pizza peel.)

Preheat oven to 450° F. during the last 30 minutes of rising time, placing your baking stone on the middle rack.  You can either place an empty metal broiler tray on a different rack (and add a cup of boiling water immediately after putting loaf into oven) or simply be ready to throw in some ice cubes like I do.  I did read somewhere that this lowers the temperature of the oven a bit duh!, but I like to do it this way.

Gently turn your basket/bowl upside down onto preheated stone.  Make ¼" deep slashes in a cross pattern on top.  Bake for ~35-40 minutes, until firm.  Allow to cool on rack. 
*Caramel Coloring
yield: ~¼ c.
(Caramel color powder is made by overheating sugar until it almost burns, use this in place of it if you can't find it, decreasing water by the amount used...which is what I already did in recipe above.)  This is very important for pumpernickel breads because it imparts a bitterness that compliments the wheat and rye flavors, as well as enhancing the color of the bread.

3 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. water
pinch Cream of Tartar
(¼ c. boiling water- reserved until the end)

Place sugar and water in a small saucepan.  Melt sugar over low flame, then increase heat to med-high.  Cover boil for 2 minutes.  Add cream of tartar and continue to boil, uncovered, until mixture becomes very dark.  WARNING: this happens in the blink of an eye...almost immediately w/ this amount, actually!  Remove from heat, allow to cool partially.  Very carefully stir in the boiling water to dissolve the caramelized sugar.  Store in fridge until needed (unless making and using immediately).




You decide to take that wisdom...the wisdom gained from having your expectations turned upside down and rearranged...and use it in new endeavors.  Perhaps you'll even slice it, butter it, grill it...add a little swiss and make it all melty, some hot corned beef, smelly-delicious sauerkraut, and that oddly-fascinating Thousand Island dressing...and make yourself a Reuben.  The world is your oyster...
World Bread Day 2010 (submission date October 16)




How will you celebrate World Bread Day 2010?
This bread has been Yeastspotted! A baked good for BYOB.  The reuben is heading over to Souper Sundays!
World Bread Day 2010 - Roundup