Authentic German Pumpernickel Bread Recipe

 

It’s hard to find a good recipe for traditional German Pumpernickel so I thought I would try and fill this gap! Here is step-by-step guide to baking the real thing as well as some interesting Pumpernickel facts. Give this Pumpernickel bread recipe a go – you won’t be disappointed!

Pumpernickel bread
Pumpernickel bread
Pumpernickel
Pumpernickel
Pumpernickel
Pumpernickel slice

What is Real German Pumpernickel?

  • 100% rye bread (only whole rye grain and cracked rye is used for the dough, no milled flour – Pumpernickel has humble origins and for a long time it used to be peasant fare for people with no access to a proper mill)
  • Pumpernickel has a rich dark-brown colour, but no crust (it’s baked in fully covered baking tins)
  • A very heavy bread with a unique sweet aroma and earthy taste (rye has 7% natural fruit sugar, compared to wheat at 4%, which caramelises during the bake)
Pumpernickel bread recipe
Pumpernickel bread based on my recipe

How to make traditional German Pumpernickel?

  • All you need is a rye sourdough starter, rye grains, cracked rye, salt, water and syrup.
  • No colouring agent such as caramel colour is added.
  • The characteristic dark colour is achieved through a very long baking period (about 14 hours in a low temperature of around 120°C) and caramelising fruit sugars.
  • In this process it’s important that the steam doesn’t escape – otherwise the bread will completely dehydrate during the long bake. The moisture can be retained by wrapping your baking tin with a few layers of tin foil. However, I invested in a large Pullman pan, a loaf tin with a lid that slides on top to keep the loaf entirely contained. I still wrap a layer of tin foil around to be doubly sure.
  • The bread should mature at least 24 hours before cutting to allow the crumb to fully develop (all-rye breads tend to otherwise gum up due to the high percentage of pentosans – read all about this and what makes rye different over here at Azélia’s Kitchen)

Is Pumpernickel healthy?

  • Yes, the starches of real Pumpernickel have undergone so much of a transformation that they are quite easily digested (source: “Bread” by Jeffrey Hamelman)
  • Whole-grain rye contains nearly 15% fibre
  • Pumpernickel also has a low glycemic index (less likely to increase in your blood sugar level)

Where to buy Pumpernickel ingredients?

  • Organic rye grains (also called rye berries or kernels) from health food stores like Real Foods
  • Organic cracked (or chopped) rye and rye flours directly from the mill e.g. Shipton Mill. While Shipton Mill produces coarse cracked rye, I like to mix this up with fine cracked rye by The Prior’s Flour.
  • Both Real Foods and BakeryBits ship worldwide
  • Important note: If you can only find coarsely cracked rye, it is highly advisable that this is mixed 50/50 with wholemeal rye flour, otherwise you will find it difficult to form a dough that sticks together.
  • Since using a grain mill (Komo Fidibus) to mill my own flour at home, it’s been really easy to achieve the right coarseness of cracked rye (I set the dial to medium between fine and coarse), so if you do have a mill at home, it’s great for this recipe.
Pumpernickel ingredients
Pumpernickel ingredients: fine and medium cracked rye and rye berries

How to make Pumpernickel bread

  1. Prepare the preferment, scalded rye and rye soaker on day 1.
  2. Put together the main dough, prove and slow-bake for 14 hours on day 2 and overnight into day 3.
  3. Enjoy authentic Pumpernickel bread on day 4.

All the exact instructions to bake Pumpernickel can be found below. I’ve included sample timings for a weekend bake – starting Saturday, completing the bake on Monday morning and enjoying Pumpernickel bread on Tuesday for breakfast.

pumpernickel
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4.34 from 6 votes

Pumpernickel Recipe

This recipe bakes one large loaf (tin size 33 cm long x 10 cm wide) and one very small loaf (tin size 17 cm long x 10 cm wide).
Cuisine German
Prep Time 2 days 6 hours
Cook Time 14 hours

Ingredients

Pumpernickel Bread Ingredients

    Preferment

    Scalded Rye Berry Soaker

    • 200 g rye berries 200g boiling water

    Cracked Rye Soaker

    • 150 g fine to medium cracked rye 150g water

    Additional Dough Ingredients

    • 550 g fine to medium cracked rye
    • 150 g water
    • 22 g salt
    • 120 g maple syrup traditionally cane sugar syrup is used but I prefer maple syrup
    • 1 tbsp rapeseed or sunflower oil for the tin

    Instructions

    How To Make Pumpernickel Bread

      All the exact instructions to bake Pumpernickel can be found below. I’ve included sample timings for a weekend bake - starting Saturday, completing the bake on Monday morning and enjoying Pumpernickel bread on Tuesday for breakfast...

        Day 1 (Saturday noon/early afternoon)

        • Prepare the preferment. Combine in a bowl, cover and leave to ripen for 16 - 24 hours.
        • Prepare the scalded rye. Pour the boiling water over the rye grains and leave overnight.
        • Prepare the rye soaker. Combine in a bowl, cover and leave overnight.

        Day 2 (Sunday)

        • 11.30am - Add one litre of water to the scalded rye soaker, bring to a boil and simmer for approx. 1 hour until soft.
        • 12.30pm - Strain the rye and discard any remaining water. Set aside to cool.
        • 1pm - In a large bowl combine 700g of sourdough (the rest goes back into the fridge for your next bake), the cracked rye soaker, the cooked and cooled rye berries, the 550g extra cracked rye, the water (150g), salt (22g), maple syrup (120g) and mix until the dough comes together well. Mix for a few minutes (I just do this with my hands). Once this is done, cover the bowl and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
          Note: The dough should not be wet. It should stick together well and not fall apart. It should peel off the side of the bowl easily and stick on a spoon when held up.
        • 1.45pm - Oil a large and a small loaf tin (I use a silicone brush to do this), then place the dough into the baking tins. Again, just use your hands to do this and even out the dough surface across the tin. Fill the tins only half full. Cover the tins - if you are using Pullman forms, use the Pullman tin cover, otherwise use a polythene bag to ensure the dough doesn't dry out.
        • 2pm - Leave to prove for 3 hours (depends on room temperature, so do keep an eye on the dough during this time). The dough will have risen, probably not quite to the top of the tin, but it should have visibly risen.
        • 4.30pm - Preheat the oven to 150°C.
        • 5pm - Brush the top of the dough with a little water. Fully wrap the baking tins with two tight-fitting layers of tin foil to avoid the steam escaping and the dough drying out during the long baking process. Note, that I cover even the Pullman tin in these additional layers. Place the wrapped tins at the bottom shelf of the oven and bake for approximately 14 hours (best done overnight).
        • 6pm - Turn down the temperature to 120°C.

        Day 3 (Monday morning)

        • 7am - After baking, turn off the oven and leave the baking tin in the cooling oven for another hour.
        • 8am - Take the loaf out of the baking tins and wrap in a kitchen towel for another 24 hours.

        Day 4 (Tuesday morning)

        • Cut into thin slices and enjoy with butter and jam or smoked fish for a hearty breakfast!

        Pumpernickel

        Sprouted grain bread recipe

         

        I’ve been sprouting beans and grains for a while now, mainly using the sprouts in salads. However, I’ve recently started adding rye sprouts into bread dough. By adding a little bit of wholemeal and rye flour as well as the sprouted rye kernels, an otherwise plain white loaf of sourdough bread turns into something pretty special.

        Sprouted rye grains
        Sprouted rye grains

        In general, there are various ways of using sprouted grains in bread baking –

        1. Using freshly sprouted grains as an ingredient alongside flour, water and salt (as per the recipe below)
        2. Chopping up the freshly sprouted grains before baking a pure-form of sprouted whole-grain bread without flour
        3. Sprouting, then drying the sprouted grains before milling them into sprouted grain flour for the dough

        The nutritional benefits of sprouting grains is not researched well and are perhaps somewhat on the marginal side but there is some evidence that supports the claim of the added nutritional value (boosted vitamin levels) and enhanced digestibility of the grains. The sprouted rye kernels do however add a lovely ‘bite’ and unique texture to the bread and provide extra moisture and that’s good enough for me!

        The easiest way to sprout grains is with a seed sprouter (seed germinator). It takes only 2 to 3 days to get the seeds ready. As soon as the shoots are the same size as the grains, the sprouted grains are ready to be used (please note, the above image shows kernels which have sprouted for slightly longer). 

        Slice of sprouted rye grain bread
        Slice of sprouted rye grain bread

        Ingredients (for one loaf of sprouted rye grain bread) –

        • 60g rye, spelt or wheat grains
        • 50g sourdough starter
        • 580g strong white bread flour
        • 20g wholemeal flour
        • 60g rye flour
        • 400g water
        • 12g salt
        • 2g dried yeast

        Day 1 – Start the sprouting

        • Start the sprouting process by placing the sprouts in your BioSnacky seed sprouter, adding water and starting the irrigation process (or use an alternative sprouting method)

        Day 2 – Prepare the sourdough

        • 50g sourdough starter
        • 80g strong white bread flour
        • 20g wholemeal flour
        • 100g water

        Combine in a bowl and leave to rest a room temperature for approx. 16 hours.

        Day 3 – Put together the dough and bake

        1. In a large bowl, combine 200g sourdough with the remaining ingredients except the sprouted grains.
        2. Knead for 10 mins.
        3. Add the sprouted kernels until they are evenly distributed in the dough.
        4. Rest the dough in a bowl (covered with cling film) for 1 hour initially.
        5. Fold the dough and place in a floured proving basket.
        6. Cover with a clean kitchen towel.
        7. Prove for approx. 2 hours at room temperature.
        8. Preheat the oven to 230°C half an hour before baking.
        9. Carefully flip the dough from proving basket onto a baking sheet covered with baking paper – take care not to deflate the dough.
        10. Bake at 230°C for 15 mins, then for a further 35 mins at 180°C.
        11. Cool on a wire rack.

        The bread stays fresh for days and tastes great when toasted!

        Multi-Seed Bread Recipe

         

        Adding seeds to homemade breads is a great way of enhancing the taste, texture and nutritional value of an otherwise plainer loaf. Here is a recipe for a multi-seed bread using different seeds (sunflower and pumpkin seeds as well as seeded flour) and a handful of chopped walnuts. Dry-roasting the seeds and nuts first makes the loaf even more wholesome and delicious.

        Multi-seed bread
        Multi-seed bread

        The flour I chose for this bread is Shipton Mill’s Three Malts and Sunflower Brown Flour, which contains malted wheat, rye and barley flour, blended with multiple ground seeds (sunflower, sesame, linseed and pumpkin seeds).

        Bake the bread in a (La Cloche) baking dome to achieve a perfectly crunchy crust. Putting the lid on for most of the baking process, the closed dome traps moisture and creates stream for a crispy crust. 

        Multi-seed loaf
        Multi-seed loaf

        Multi-Seed Brown Bread Recipe

        This beautiful loaf is based on a unique flour blend by Shipton Mill which also includes a multi-seed mix. If you don’t have this to hand, you can make your own multi-grain and seed flour. Add together finely ground wholewheat, rye and a smaller portion of barley or oat flour and add in some finely ground seeds (you can do this with a grain mill or coffee grinder).

        Multi-seed sourdough bread
        Multi-seed sourdough bread

        Feel free to experiment with different seeds to bake your perfect multi-seed loaf.

        Ingredients

        For the sourdough starter refreshment

        • 50g sourdough starter
        • 100g wholewheat flour
        • 65g bread flour
        • 165g water

        For the toasted seed and nut mix

        • 50g sunflower seeds
        • 50g pumpkin seeds
        • 50 walnuts
        • 260g boiling water

        For the main dough

        • 465g Shipton Mill’s 3 Malt & Sunflower flour
        • 11g salt

        How to make multi-seed bread

        1. On the day before baking, refresh your sourdough starter, by combining the sourdough starter, wholewheat flour, white flour and water in a medium mixing bowl. Cover and leave to rest at room temperature for 12-14 hours.
        2. On the day of baking, start by dry-roasting the sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and chopped walnuts in a non-stick pan until they are nicely toasted and their nutty flavours are released. Add the water to soak the seeds and leave to stand for 30 minutes.
        3. After the 30-minute wait, you are ready to make the main dough.
        4. Combine 330g of the sourdough starter (the rest goes back into the fridge for your next bake), the seed and nut soaker as well as the remaining main dough ingredients in a large bowl and knead for 10 mins.
        5. Place the dough back in the bowl and cover the bowl with a lid.
        6. Leave to rest for an hour at room temperature.
        7. Prepare a proofing basket by lightly dusting it with flour.
        8. Once the dough has rested, give it another quick knead, shape it into a round loaf, cover it with flour and place it seam-side up into the proofing basket.
        9. Cover the proofing basket with a polythene bag to prevent the loaf from drying out and prove the loaf for several hours at room temperature until fully proofed.
        10. Preheat the oven to 220°C at least 20 mins before baking and preheat the La Cloche dome (including lid) at the same time.
        11. Carefully turn out the loaf from the proofing basket to the preheated baking dome plate.
        12. Score the dough by making a few incisions.
        13. Place the lid on the dome and put in the oven.
        14. Bake for 15 mins, then lower the heat to 190°C.
        15. Bake for another 30 mins, then take off the lid for another 15 mins.
        16. Cool the multi-seed bread on a wire rack.

        Focaccia Recipe – Beautiful, Simple & Rustic

         

        Focaccia is a flattish rustic Italian bread with an open, irregular crumb structure. I love focaccia when it’s moist and chewy without being too oily, when it’s kept simple, with an emphasis on fresh herbs and olive oil flavours.

        Focaccia dough is fairly wet and sticky, but the addition of olive oil means it’s still pliable, soft and easy to work with. Additionally, I’ve added a bit of semolina and rye flour to give the bread more character.

        Rosemary & sea salt focaccia
        Rosemary & sea salt focaccia

        Ingredients (to make 2 focaccia breads) –

        The day before baking…

        • 200g sourdough
          Combine 50g 100% hydration active sourdough starter with 100g water and 100g wholemeal flour.
          Give it 12 to 16 hours to ripen.

        On the day of baking, you’ll need the following dough ingredients…

        • 285g strong white bread flour
        • 285g Italian 00 flour
        • 80g rye flour
        • 7g dry yeast
        • 11g sea salt
        • 90g olive oil
        • 380g warm water

        Additional ingredients…

        • 4 tbsp olive oil + some more for brushing
        • Fresh rosemary
        • Rock salt

        How to make the focaccias

        Freshly baked focaccia
        Freshly baked focaccia
        1. Combine the prepared sourdough with the dough ingredients in a large bowl.
        2. Tip out onto a clean work surface and knead for approx. 10 minutes.
        3. Shape the wettish dough into a round by folding the edges into the centre.
        4. Cover the dough with the bowl (moisten the bowl’s sides and edges before you place it over the dough).
        5. Leave the dough to prove for approx. 1.5 hours.
        6. Prepare two round cake tins (approx. 23 cm in diameter) and wrap tin foil around the outside of the tin to prevent any oil from leaking.
        7. Put 2 tbsp of olive oil into each cake tin and use a brush to make sure the whole bottom of the pan is evenly coated.
        8. Lightly dust a free space on the work surface with flour.
        9. Carefully move the dough over onto the floured surface, taking care not to deflate the dough too much in the process.
        10. Divide the dough into two equal segments.
        11. Fold the edges into the centre, then place the dough parts into the cake tins, seam-side down.
        12. Drizzle with a little olive oil.
        13. Very gently pull, push and prod from the centre towards the edges to obtain a roundish shape.
        14. Cover the pans with a clean dishcloth and set aside at room temperature for about 30 – 45 minutes.
        15. Preheat oven to 220°C
        16. Use your fingers to push the rosemary into the dough, distributing it evenly. Push ever so slightly outward, towards the edge of the pan. You’ll dimple the dough at the same time, giving the bread its characteristic indentations.
        17. Evenly sprinkle over the sea salt.
        18. Place the focaccias on the center rack of the oven and bake until crisp and golden-brown, for approx. 25 minutes.
        19. Remove the focaccias from the pan onto a wire rack.
        20. Finally, brush the surface of the breads with olive oil while hot to give it a nice glossy finish.

        Best served warm, straight out of the oven.

        Flaxseed bread recipe with whole wheat

         

        Packed with great tasting flax seeds, this flaxseed bread recipe is one of my current favourites. I love baking with rye and use both wholemeal rye flour as well as whole wheat and white wheat flour in the recipe. The result – a robust loaf of wholesome brown bread filled with crunchy seeds. Delicious with butter and jam for breakfasts or as a side to creamy vegetable soups.

        Flaxseed bread
        Flaxseed bread with a beautiful gladiolus flower from the allotment

        Thanks to the way the seeds are soaked, the bread will stay extra-moist for days after baking. It also tastes delicious when toasted as the heat will bring out the nutty flavour of the seeds. Give it a go – you’ll love it!

        The mighty flaxseed…

        There are two basic varieties of flax seeds: brown and yellow/golden. Nutritionally, they are very similar; both types are a great source of dietary fibre, antioxidants and a type of omega-3 fat.

        It’s important to soak the seeds before baking (see another example of this technique in my Kamut flour bread recipe). If flax seeds are not soaked, they absorb moisture from the bread and dry out the crumb quickly.

        Flaxseed sourdough bread
        A slice of flaxseed sourdough bread with brown flax seeds

        Flaxseed bread recipe

        My recipe was inspired by the Flaxseed Bread in Jeffrey Hamelman’s book ‘Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes‘ and uses both sourdough as well as a small amount of dried yeast.

        Flaxseed loaf
        Flaxseed loaf baked in a La Cloche baking dome

        Ingredients – for 1 flax bread loaf

        • 30g sourdough starter
        • 175g dark wholemeal rye flour
        • 100g whole wheat flour
        • 175g strong white flour
        • 90g flax seeds
        • 430g water
        • 8g salt
        • 5g dried yeast

        How to make flaxseed bread

        Day 1

        1. Prepare the sourdough by combining 30g sourdough starter, 50g dark rye flour, 50g wholewheat flour and 100g water in a medium bowl. Mix well then cover with a lid. Leave to rest at room temperature for 16 – 24 hours.
        2.  For the flaxseed soaker, combine 90g flax seeds with 200g cold water in a small bowl. Cover and set aside until needed.

        Day 2

        1. Combine all ingredients: 200g of the sourdough (rest goes back into the fridge for your next bake), 125g dark rye flour, 50g whole wheat flour, 175g strong white flour, 130g water, the flaxseed soaker, salt and dried yeast in a large bowl.
        2. Knead for 10 minutes. Have some extra water ready as you might need to wet your hands and the worktop a few times depending on the dough’s consistency. You should end up with a soft, slightly sticky dough.
        3. Shape the dough into a ball, place it into a bowl and keep it covered for 1 or 2 hours – it should have quite visibly risen by then.
        4. Give the dough a quick 10 second knead, lightly flour the dough surface all over and place it into a lightly floured proving basket.
        5. Cover with a polythene bag and keep in a warm place for another hour or more until it has expanded significantly and is fully proved.
        6. Preheat the oven to 240°C – if using a La Cloche baking dome, preheat at the same time from cold.
        7. Turn the loaf out onto a baking tray lined with baking paper or the La Cloche baking dome bottom.
        8. Bake for an initial 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 220°C and bake for another 30 to 35 minutes.
        9. Cool on a wire rack.
        10. A tip by Hamelman: “For the best eating quality, cover the cooled loaf with baker’s linen and let stand at room temperature for at least several hours or up to 24 hours before slicing.”

        Light Rye Bread Recipe for NY-Style Salt Beef Sandwiches

         

        Just a quick post to share the recipe for light rye bread (also referred to as Jewish-style rye bread) I baked at the weekend. This light but fragrant rye bread was perfect for the delicious salt beef sandwiches we served at my friend Mariel’s baby shower.

        Light rye bread
        Light Jewish-style rye bread with caraway seeds

        Light rye bread is made with white high-gluten wheat flour and rye flour. There are a lot of different recipes out there using anything between 15% and 50% rye flour, but I found that 25% gives enough rye flavour and colour to the bread without making it too heavy. Whole caraway seeds worked into the dough give this Jewish-style rye bread its unique flavour.

        Ingredients –

        • 20g rye sourdough starter
        • 750g strong white bread flour
        • 125g light rye flour
        • 125g dark rye flour
        • 700g lukewarm water
        • 17g caraway seeds, lightly cracked with pestle and mortar
        • 20g salt
        • 5g dry yeast

        How to make light Jewish-style rye bread (2 loaves) –

        Recipe adapted from Jeffrey Hamelman’s book ‘Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes

        14-16 hours before baking

        1. Combine the sourdough starter with the dark rye flour and 100g of water in a small covered bowl.
        2. Leave to ripen for 14 – 16 hours.

        On the day of baking

        1. Combine the sourdough with the remaining ingredients (the wheat and light rye flours, 600g water, seeds, salt, yeast).
        2. Knead for at least 10 minutes until you have a soft, elastic dough.
        3. Shape the dough into a ball, cover with flour and place in a clean, lightly floured bowl.
        4. Cover the bowl and keep the dough at room temperature for approx. 2 hours.
        5. Divide the dough into two equal parts (I use a dough scraper for this).
        6. Shape the two parts into rounds or oblongs and place them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
        7. Cover with a tea towel and prove for another 1.5 hours.
        8. Preheat the oven to 240°C.
        9. Just before baking score the bread by making a single lengthwise incision or a few diagonal cuts.
        10. Bake at 240°C for 15 minutes then lower the temperature to 225°C and bake for another 20 –25 minutes.
        Light rye bread halves
        Delicious with salt beef, melted Emmental or Leerdammer cheese, sauerkraut, coleslaw, gherkins and Russian dressing

        Sourdough Stollen Recipe

         

        The traditional German Christmas bread called Stollen is a rich, sweet fruit bread made with butter, milk, spices and rum-soaked dried fruit and nuts. Here I present my very own version of Xmas Stollen – my sourdough Stollen recipe for all you adventurous bakers out there.

        To provide some background: I’ve always wanted to be a Xmas Stollen lover. However, it usually contains a few ingredients I’m not really a huge fan of such as candied orange & citrus peel and marzipan. Heaps of butter and sugar are normally used to preserve the bread for weeks (the typical proportions for traditional German Christmas Stollen according to the Dresdner Stollen Association are a minimum of 50% butter and 65% golden raisins when compared to flour weight).

        So, I decided to piece together my own Stollen recipe with #thebreadshebakes rules, a sourdough version with a little bit of added yeast 🙂

        Stollen Slices
        Freshly Baked Christmas Stollen Slices

        Why this is the best Christmas Stollen recipe for me

        This is what I set out to achieve:

        • No candied orange, citrus peel or glacé cherries
        • Only high-quality organic dried fruit (yet not too much of it)
        • No marzipan roll in the middle of the Stollen – instead; homemade almond and pistachio paste mixed into the dough
        • Reduced fat and sugar content. A thick layer of butter and icing sugar is usually applied as topping but I’m opting for egg wash and almond flakes instead.
        • It’s a sweet treat and I don’t mind it being a little “merrier” than usual 🙂
        Stollen Slices
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        5 from 1 vote

        Sourdough Stollen Recipe

        Note that all the ingredients in this recipe should be at room temperature, so warm the milk slightly if it’s just out of the fridge. This recipe will give you approx. 20 slices of delicious Stollen. Use Austrian Stroh rum for a deliciously authentic rum-flavour. I've added a little bit of yeast into the recipe to lift the rather heavy dough.

        Ingredients

        Stollen ingredients

          FOR THE FRUIT & NUT SOAKER

          • 100 g organic sultanas
          • 100 g dried organic cranberries
          • 100 g blanched almonds roughly chopped
          • 50 g Stroh rum
          • Seeds from a vanilla pod

          FOR THE SOURDOUGH

          • 25 g wheat sourdough starter
          • 100 g plain flour
          • 100 g water

          FOR THE ALMOND & PISTACHIO PASTE

          • 25 g ground almonds
          • 25 g ground pistachios
          • 25 g caster sugar
          • 25 g icing sugar
          • 50 g water
          • ½ lemon grated zest and juice

          FOR THE DOUGH

          • 475 g plain organic flour German type 550
          • 100 g caster sugar
          • 8 g dried yeast
          • 80 g butter softened
          • 1 egg beaten
          • 200 ml milk
          • ¼ tsp salt
          • ½ lemon grated zest
          • 1 pinch each of ground nutmeg ground cloves, ground cinnamon, ground allspice
          • 3 cardamom pods

          FOR THE TOPPING

          • 1 egg
          • A handful of almond flakes

          Instructions

          How to make German Christmas Stollen

            ON THE EVENING BEFORE BAKING

            • Mix the dried fruit and chopped almonds with the rum, cover with cling film and leave overnight. This hydrates everything slightly and ensures that the fruit and nuts do not soak up too much liquid from the dough.
            • It’s really important to use good quality ingredients here as the flavours will really unfold in the baked Christmas Stollen and there is a remarkable difference in the taste.
            • I’ve used organic dried fruit (organic medium currants and organic dried cranberries) and almonds from Real Foods which are just perfect. The currants add lovely bursts of intense flavour and are high in antioxidants and vitamins while the cranberries give the dough a delicious sweetness while being a great source of vitamin C and dietary fibre.
            • Prepare the sourdough by mixing the above ingredients together and covering the bowl with cling film.
            • Prepare the almond and pistachio paste, cover with cling film and keep in the fridge overnight. The paste should be nice and smooth, not too wet or dry.

            ON THE DAY OF BAKING

            • Crack the shell of the cardamom pods with a knife handle and remove the seeds. Give the seeds a quick grind with a pestle and mortar. Don’t use ground cardamom as it just doesn't have the same fragrant, fresh flavour.
            • I’ve used organic cardamom pods from Real Foods which are super aromatic and perfect for Stollen.
            • Mix together the following ingredients to form a dough:
            • Flour, 150g sourdough, caster sugar, yeast, milk, butter, egg, 120g homemade almond & pistachio paste
            • Knead for 10 mins to develop a smooth and satiny dough. It’ll be a little sticky but that’s fine.
            • Then work in the fruits, nuts, lemon zest and spices, distributing them as evenly as possible.
            • Now leave the dough in a warm place, covered with a kitchen towel or cling film, until it has doubled in size (the time this takes can vary depending on the room temperature; approx. 1.5 hours, but this could take longer!).
            • Knock the air out of the risen dough and knead for another minute or two.
            • Shape the dough into an oval loaf (I’m not too bothered with the traditional fold).
            • Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper and cover with a moist kitchen towel.
            • Leave in a draught-free place for its second proof. Depending on the temperature in your kitchen, this could be done in one hour, but for me this lasted almost three.
            • Use your finger to make a small dent in the dough. If the dent remains, the bread is ready to bake. If it disappears, the dough needs some more time.
            • Preheat the oven to 190°C (gas mark 5).
            • Prepare some egg wash (combine an egg and a table spoon of water and whisk together).
            • When the dough is ready, brush the Stollen with the egg wash and sprinkle with almond flakes.
            • Bake in the oven on the lowest shelf for 1 hour 15 mins. If it browns too quickly, protect the bread by covering the top with tin foil. I do this after 25 mins initial baking time.
            • Use a cocktail stick or skewer to check if the dough has fully baked through as you would with a cake. The internal temperature of the loaf should be 94°C, my Thermapen is proving invaluable once more!
            • Allow it to cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before lifting it onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

             

            Dried organic cranberries
            Organic dried cranberries
            Roughly Chopped Blanched Almonds
            Roughly Chopped Blanched Almonds
            Almond and pistachio paste
            Almond and pistachio paste

            Cardamom pods and seeds

            Tipsy Christmas Stollen
            The Best Ever Homemade Christmas Stollen

            Serve in relatively thick slices with strong coffee or tea and good quality butter. Lightly toast if you would like to heat it through.

            Stollen Slice Close Up
            Stollen Slice with a nice crunchy crust!

            Where to buy Christmas Stollen in the UK

            Over the last few years, I’ve started to bake Christmas Stollen to order as it keeps and ships well. If you’re interested in a homemade Stollen delivery, please just get in touch via the contact form here to order your special Christmas treat online.

            Homemade Bagels NY-Style

             

            Bagels are exciting; not only because of their unique taste but also because the baking process involves boiling the bagels before baking them. It’s this process that creates the wonderfully chewy interior crumb while leaving the outside browned, crisp and shiny.

            Homemade NY-Style Bagels
            Homemade NY-Style Bagels

            There are two different shaping methods –

            • ‘Rope and loop’: Makes a rounder bagel and the overlap of the rope ends makes it unmistakably homemade
            • ‘Stretch and poke’: Better looking and no danger of the loop opening up when boiling

            Ingredients (yeast version) – 6 bagels

            • 7g dry yeast
            • 350g strong high-protein bread flour (around 14% protein is good, I used Marriages flour (13.8%))
            • 150g wholemeal bread flour
            • 275g lukewarm water
            • 2 tbsp clear honey
            • 10g salt
            • 1 egg

            Ingredients (sourdough version) – 6 bagels

            • 200g sourdough starter
            • 300g strong high-protein bread flour (see description above)
            • 75g wholemeal bread flour
            • 75g light rye flour
            • 135g lukewarm water
            • 2 tbsp clear honey
            • 10g salt
            • 1 egg

            Toppings:

            • Poppy seeds
            • Sesame seeds

            How to make bagels:

            1. Combine all ingredients (except the egg) to form a firm dough – might need a little more water depending on the flours you use
            2. Knead for 10 mins for a firm and elastic dough (wetter isn’t better when it comes to bagels; the dough should be quite firm)
            3. Slighltly oil a large bowl and also coat the dough with a little oil, place in the bowl and cover with cling film
            4. Yeast version: rest for 1 hour or until it has doubled in size
              Sourdough version: rest for 4 hours (this may vary depending on the ‘ferociousness’ of your starter and the room temperature)
            5. Divide into 6 pieces
            6. Shape each piece into a roll, then form a ring (these should be roughly hand-sized)
            7. Link the crossed over ends with wet hands
            8. Place on baking paper
            9. Cover with a damp kitchen towel as you work
            10. Yeast version: rest for 30 mins
              Sourdough version: rest for 1-2 hours
            11. Preheat the oven to 220°C (gas mark 7)
            12. Boil a large pot of water
            13. Lower to a gentle simmer and lower the bagels in approx. 3 at a time or as many as fit comfortably. They should be floating at the top.
            14. Leave 1 min on 1 side, flip over to boil for another minute on the other side
            15. 2 mins each side makes a really chewy bagel
            16. Remove and drain, don’t use a paper kitchen towel as it will stick!
            17. Place on a ligthly oiled baking sheet
            18. Prepare some egg wash
            19. Brush each bagel with egg wash and sprinkle on the seeds (see toppings above)
            20. Bake for 10 – 15 mins until golden brown
            21. Cool on a wire rack

            You can store the bagels in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Best eaten fresh!!

            Don’t worry about larger holes in the crumb – they are perfect for trapping an extra bit of cream cheese!

            Chickpea Flour Bread Baking Recipes

             

            I love experimenting with new flours and was very excited to receive a collection of specialty flours as a recent birthday present (thank you Yasmin!). One of the flours in the bundle was chickpea flour and, as a big fan of chickpea dishes, this was the first flour to enter my bread lab. In this post, I’ve typed up my chickpea flour bread baking notes as well as my recipe for a chickpea flour sourdough bread.

            Gram flour sourdough bread
            Gram flour sourdough bread

            General baking notes on chickpea flour

            • The flour I’m baking with is gram flour (also sometimes called besan flour) which is milled from gram or chana dhal, a kind of small chickpea. The dried chickpeas are ground into a fine pale yellow powder.
            • The flour has an earthy, beany flavour best suited to savoury bakes.
            • It’s recommended to limit the amount of chickpea flour you use in a loaf of bread. Work with 10% to 35% due to its strong flavour and ‘pasty mouthfeel’ as Andrew Whitley describes it.
            • Chickpea flour is nutritious and a good source of protein (12.8g per 100g) and fibre (9.7g per 100g). The nutritional values are for Doves Farm gram flour.
            • It’s also gluten free.

            Chickpea flour breads

            Here are the results of my chickpea flour test kitchen.

            Chickpea Flour Sourdough Loaf

            My first venture involved making chickpea flour part of my weekly sourdough baking routine. The first few chickpea flour sourdough bread loaves turned out well. However, I still preferred the taste and texture of my standard Kamut & flaxseed sourdough loaf. Recently, I started to incorporate fennel seeds into my chickpea flour sourdough and am much happier with the flavour. I feel pleased enough to finally share the recipe with you. Hope you like it too!

            Gram flour sourdough loaf
            Gram flour sourdough loaf
            Ingredients

            Sourdough

            • 30g sourdough starter
            • 50g strong white wheat flour
            • 25g wholemeal wheat flour
            • 25g wholemeal rye flour
            • 100g water

            Main dough

            • 400g strong white wheat flour
            • 50g wholemeal wheat flour
            • 25g wholemeal rye flour
            • 125g chickpea flour
            • 10g salt
            • 1 tbsp fennel seeds, lightly crushed
            • 390g water
            How to make chickpea flour bread
            • On day 1, refresh your sourdough starter. In a medium bowl, combine the sourdough starter, the flours and water and mix well. Cover and leave to stand at room temperature for 16 – 24 hours.
            • On day 2, combine 200g sourdough (the remaining 30g go back into the fridge for future bakes), the flours, salt, fennel seeds and water.
            • Form a dough and knead for 10 minutes. Use your dough scrapers to help with this process.
            • Shape into a boule, place the dough back into your bowl, cover and leave to stand at room temperature for about an hour or so.
            • Turn out the dough, give it another quick knead and shape into a round loaf.
            • Prepare a flour bath (I use rice flour on a large plate) and lightly flour a proving basket.
            • Cover the loaf in flour by carefully moving it around the flour bath. Hold it together at the top to make sure the bottom side is kept nice and smooth.
            • Place it seam-side up into the proving basket, cover with a polythene bag and leave at room temperature to prove for several hours. The time it takes to prove will depend on the temperature in your room and the vigour of your sourdough. In my kitchen, this takes about three hours.
            • Preheat the oven to 220°C and if you are using a La Cloche baking dome, preheat this in the oven from cold as well. Otherwise, line a baking tray with baking paper.
            • Turn out the loaf onto the hot La Cloche plate or baking tray and bake for 10 minutes at 220°C and for a further 50 minutes at 200°C.
            • Cool on a wire rack.
            Chickpea flour bread slices
            Chickpea flour bread slices

            Chickpea Flour Pancakes

            Next up – chickpea pancakes. I used this lovely recipe for Coconut-Chickpea Crepes with Smoky Herbed Mushrooms. The pancakes were delicious and the filling complemented the subtle yet distinguished flavour of the chickpea pancakes perfectly.

            Even better are these incredibly flavoursome Rajasthani Besan ka Chilla pancakes – perfect for a late weekend breakfast.

            Chickpea flour pancakes
            Chickpea flour pancakes

            Farinata

            Finally, I also had a go at the famous Farinata (also called Socca), an unleavened flatbread made with chickpea flour. It was perhaps the easiest bread I’ve ever made, but will I make it again? The taste of Farinata is quite overwhelmingly ‘beany’ and getting the seasoning right is therefore key. Having tried a few variations, I can recommend this version of the recipe from Cinnamon Girl.

            Farinata - Chickpea Flour Bread
            Farinata – Quick & Easy Chickpea Flour Bread

            If you are using chickpea flour successfully for bread making and you’re happy with your results, please share your recipes and experiences. If you haven’t used it before, you can simply order Doves Farm Chickpea Flour online.

            Sourdough Bread with Kamut Khorasan Flour

             

            I started using Kamut khorasan flour in bread baking two months ago and have not stopped using it since. It tastes excellent in sourdough breads and I’ve baked some of the best loaves of bread I’ve ever tasted with this beautiful flour. Here is my Kamut bread recipe, also incorporating flax seeds. I recommend it!

            Kamut Sourdough
            Kamut sourdough bread baked with a La Cloche baking dome

            “Kamut” is a trademark which has been set up for a species of ancient wheat called khorasan to guarantee certain qualities of the grain. For example, the name KAMUT® certifies that khorasan wheat has been organically grown.

            The khorasan grain is not suited to the UK’s soil or climate conditions and is currently grown in North America. In the UK, you can buy Kamut Khorasan Flour from Doves Farm, the licensed UK supplier of KAMUT® khorasan grain.

            Kamut khorasan flour is high in protein and has a mild, slightly nutty taste and golden colour. It contains gluten, but is reported to be tolerated well by those sensitive to gluten. It’s generally advisable to mix Kamut flour with plain flour – your loaf of bread might otherwise be quite dense due to the khorasan flour’s high gluten content.

            Find out more about Kamut at Kamut.com.

            Kamut sourdough bread
            Kamut sourdough bread

            Kamut Khorasan Sourdough Bread Recipe

            This sourdough bread recipe takes the pain de campagne French country bread recipe a step further by incorporating Kamut Khorasan flour and a flaxseed soaker.

            Day 1

            Soaker

            • 40g flaxseeds
            • 125g cold water

            Mix together and cover overnight.

            Sourdough

            Mix together and cover overnight (about 12 hours).

            Day 2

            • 200g preferment (see above)
            • 165g flaxseed soaker (see above)
            • 250g Kamut flour
            • 100g bread flour
            • 100g plain flour
            • 250g water
            • 9g salt
            1. Combine all ingredients
            2. Knead for 10 minutes
            3. Leave to rest for an hour
            4. Stretch and fold and carefully cover with a layer of flour
            5. Place in a well floured proving basket, cover with a polythene bag and rest at room temperature – the proofing process might take quite a few hours depending on the temperature in your room (recently I had to proof the dough overnight – 6 hours – before baking as it was quite cold)
            6. Preheat the oven to 240°C half an hour before baking
            7. Bake for 45 minutes, turn down the heat to 200°C after 10 minutes
            8. Cool on a wire rack

            Here are some more pics from other Kamut bakes.

            Kamut sourdough bread with flaxseeds
            Glowing in the Edinburgh sunshine – Kamut sourdough with flaxseeds
            Kamut sourdough bread crumb
            Juicy!