Dark Pumpernickel Loaves
- Preparation time: 30 minutes
- First Rise: 1 hour
- Second Rise: 1 hour
- Baking Time: 30 minutes
- ½ cup dried prunes
- ½ cup water
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2¼ teaspoons yeast (1 packet)
- ⅛ teaspoon sugar
- ¼ cup warm water
- 1 tablespoon caraway seeds, ground in a spice grinder or coffee grinder
Chocolate, Molasses, Espresso, and Butter Mixture:
- ½ cup water
- 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 2 tablespoons brewed espresso (or 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules)
- ¼ butter, room temperature
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 1 cup plain yogurt, room temperature
- 1¾ cups dark rye flour
- 3 to 4 cups all purpose flour
Oil For Bowl:
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil for bowl
- 1 egg white
- 1 tablespoon water
Oil a large bowl and set aside.
- Grind the caraway seeds in a spice grinder, coffee grinder, or food processor; set aside.
- Place prunes and ½ water in a small saucepan.
- Bring the prunes and water to a simmer.
- Cover and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Remove prunes from heat, add 1 tablespoon brown sugar mixing until incorporated.
- Add prune mixture to a food processor.
- Pulse until the prune mixture is pureed; set aside.
- In a large work bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in ¼ cup warm water; let stand until foamy.
- In a small saucepan, combine ½ cup water, chocolate, molasses, espresso, butter, prune puree, and salt; stirring over low heat until the butter and chocolate melt.
- Remove the chocolate mixture from the heat.
- Whisk the plain yogurt into the chocolate mixture.
- Add the yogurt and chocolate mixture to the work bowl.
- Add the ground caraway seeds, rye flour and 2 cups of the all purpose flour to the work bowl.
- Using a dough hook, knead the flour into the yeast mixture, adding enough of the remaining all purpose flour to achieve a soft, smooth, and elastic dough.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Form the dough into a ball and transfer to the oiled bowl.
- Cover the bowl with a slightly damp towel (flour sack towels are great for this).
- Let the dough rise in a warm place, free from drafts, until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1½ hours.
- Punch down dough.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
- Cover the dough and let rest for 10 minutes.
- For 2 round loaves, grease two 8-inch round cake pans, dust the bottom of the pans lightly with cornmeal.
- For 2 standard bread loaves, grease 2 standard size loaf pans and dust the bottom of the pans lightly with cornmeal.
- Divide the dough in half.
- For round loaves shape each half into a round ball and place in the prepared 8-inch round cake pans.
- For standard loaves, shape each half into an oblong loaf and place in the prepared loaf pans.
- Cover with a dry towel. Let rise until double in bulk; about 1 hour.
- Place one oven rack in lowest position in the oven.
- Place a second oven rack two positions up from the lowest rack, leaving enough space between the racks for a shallow roasting pan.
- Place a shallow roasting pan on the bottom oven rack.
- Pour 2 cups of boiling water into the shallow roasting pan.
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Slash top of of each loaf 3 diagonal slashes.
- Mix together 1 egg white and 1 tablespoon water to make a glaze. Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to separate eggs.
- Brush the loaves with the egg white glaze.
- Bake the loaves until they sound hollow when tapped, about 30 minutes.
- Cool on a rack.