My Pathway to Pumpernickel

by | Feb 9, 2022 | Articles

(Author’s note… these are notes along my journey into baking, please forgive spelling and grammatical errors as I absolutely must get my feelings and frustrations noted and this is the space to do it. It isn’t like anyone is reading this anyway =).

I have officially pivoted to the world of baking. I feel like I am the person who shows up to a costume party only to discover that costumes were not on the menu. How does one become proficient at something that seems so foreign? For starters, there are “starters” (if you bake bread you know exactly what I mean). Additionally, there are so many types of flour(?) I actually believed that I could make a quick trip to the store to purchase supplies, and within a span of two hours would have a beautiful delicious loaf of pumpernickel bread. I could not have been more wrong.

For those intimately acquainted with baking bread, please forgive my ignorance. Taking on a more difficult bread seemed like a good idea to start because in my mind it would all be downhill after this. After visiting three different grocery stores looking for rye flour, I turned to Amazon to procure it. If you are wondering “What would I do if I have a craving and want to bake this bread immediately?” I have your answer, you cheat. I googled “How to make pumpernickel bread without rye flour” and found a couple of recipes that suggested using a combo of wheat and all-purpose flour. “Is all-purpose flour the same as bread flour?” The answer to that is… sadly, “no,” and I discovered this after making my first miserable loaf. I followed the instructions by Gemma, from Gemma’s Bigger Bolder Baking Blog (who, by the way, is a very helpful and kind soul that really takes an interest in her followers’ successes and failures in bread making) and watched and waited for my bread to rise. Unfortunately, it didn’t. Why? It could be the yeast, it could be the flour, it could be the humidity, it could be the “proofing” time (that is the final rise in the rising process), so much to learn here. I think I have to scratch it and go back to the drawing board. I am going to start with “Breadmaking 101, by Max Bernstein,” and give it another go.

Stay tuned…..


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