Real pumpernickel bread is made using pumpernickel flour, a whole grain flour. This flour is made from coarsely ground whole rye berries. Rye breads have some amount of wheat flour added to their dough since rye does not contain gluten-producing proteins to make a good loaf of bread.
Pumpernickel bread is delicious in so many ways. Of course, it makes great sandwiches, especially Reubens, and it is also a good base for many appetizer toppings, like smoked salmon or egg salad.
Homemade pumpernickel bread is so much tastier than store-bought, unless you have a great bakery near where you live. I do not, so I make my own. You do need a few special ingredients to make this bread and I order them from the King Arthur Flour Company online.
Vital Wheat Gluten
Deli Rye Flavor
Pumpernickel Sourdough Bread
Makes 1 large loaf
1 cup sourdough starter
3 1/2 cups bread flour
1 cup pumpernickel flour
1/4 cup Pumpernickel Bread Flavor
2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
1/2 teaspoon Deli Rye Flavor
2 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
Combine all of the ingredients in an electric mixer bowl with the paddle attachment, mixing until the dough forms a ball.
Switch to the dough hook and knead until the dough is elastic and slightly sticky.
Let the dough rise in a lightly greased, covered bowl for 1 to 2 hours; it should become puffy.
Transfer the dough to a cutting board and shape it into a long loaf.
Place the shaped loaf into a long stoneware baker (e.g., La Cloche), and cover with the lid.
You can also place the formed bread loaf on a parchment-lined baking sheet, if you do not have a long stoneware baker. Cover and let rise.
Let the loaf rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until it’s almost doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Slash the loaf diagonally in several places.
Bake the loaf for 30 minutes, remove the lid and bake for another 15 minutes; the bread will be dark.
Bake the loaf on the parchment covered baking sheet for 35-40 minutes.
When done, the bread will be crusty, and a digital thermometer inserted into the center will read 190°F to 200°F.
Remove the bread from the oven and transfer it to a rack to cool completely.