I always try to eat delicious food. Unfortunately I don't have that much money, so I have to cook a lot of it at home. But thats OK because I love cooking and I love eating at home with my wife. This is a website with my favorite recipes and a little bit of commentary.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Sourdough Pumpernickle

The first thing you have to do to make sourdough, or wild yeasted bread is to make a starter. I have a great bread book called The Bread Baker's Apprentice. There is an excellent description in the book about how to make and maintain a starter. There are also a lot of great resources on the web. I'll just give some brief instructions and you can fill them out with a little research.

Sourdough Starter

Take one cup of flour and one cup of water and stir in a non-metal bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set on the counter. Twice a day stir it. Add a little water if it starts to look dry. Every other day or so take out a cup of the starter and add in a fresh cup of water and a fresh cup of flour. After a few days of this the starter will start to bubble and smell yeasty. There you have it! You might notice that I didn't add any yeast. You don't need to add yeast, there is plenty in the environment, and you want the stuff that grows naturally where you live. If you aren't going to use any of your starter at this point, cover it and put it in the refrigerator. It is good to use for up to 3 days but after that it will need to be refreshed to be used. To refresh your sourdough culture take it out of the fridge. Remove 1 cup of the started and add in a fresh cup of water and 1 cup of flour. After a few hours it will bubble up and be ready for use. You can keep this cycle going for years, decades, generations etc.

Pumpernickle Bread
This recipe makes one big loaf.

Day 1

1 cup of your starter
1 cup (4 1/2 ounces) rye flour
3/4 cup water

Combine in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until it has a lot of bubbles - about 5 hours. Then refrigerate overnight.

Day 2

Let the rye starter from the previous day warm up for 1 hour then add:

2 cups (9 ounces) bread flour
2 T brown sugar
1 T cocoa powder
1 1/2 t salt
1 1/4 t instant yeast
3/4 cups bread crumbs, dry or fresh
2 T vegetable oil
1/4 cup water

Kneed 4 to 5 minutes in a mixer. The dough should be tacky but not sticky. Put it in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise 2 hours or until double in size. Next form the dough into a loaf and put it into an oiled/floured loaf pan. Spray a little plastic wrap with oil and cover the loaf with it. Let the loaf rise (proof) until it is about an inch above the top of the pan. As its getting close, preheat the oven to 350 with a rack on the middle shelf. Slash the top of the loaf with a razor blade. Brush the top of the loaf with 1 egg yolk mixed with 1 t milk. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and place into oven. Bake 20 minutes and then rotate 180 degrees. Bake for 20 to 30 more minutes until the temperature in the loaf is between 185 and 195. You really need to use a meat thermometer to test the temperature. Let cool on a cooling rack until it is room temperature.