pumpernickel bread

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Pumpernickel Bread
Adapted from Techniques of Bread Baking 1 at the ICE

1 cup warm tap water, about 100 degrees
2 1/2 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup whole grain rye flour
1 tablespoon non-alkalized cocoa powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon unsulphered molasses

Cornmeal for bottom of loaf
Heavy cookie sheet, jelly roll pan or baking stone

1. Place water in a mixing bowl, sprinkle yeast on surface and whisk, letting it stand for five minutes. Add molasses. Stir in flours and remaining ingredients. Knead dough by hand to form a smooth, elastic, soft dough.
2. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl and turn dough over so top is oiled. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow dough to rise at room temperature until doubled. If you wish to interrupt the process, let the dough begin to rise, then punch down, cover tightly and refrigerate. To proceed, bring dough back to room temperature until it begins rising again.
3. To shape loaf, turn risen dough out on to floured work surface (you may need the help of a scraper). Press dough with palms of hands to deflate. Gently knead, the shape dough into a sphere by tucking edges under and in toward the center all around the bottom. Invert the dough into a round basket lined with a heavily floured napkin or tea towel so ends are on top. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled.
4. When loaf is almost doubled, preheat oven to 500 degrees and set rack at the middle level. Place baking pan or stone on rack.
5. Sprinkle cornmeal on top of loaf and invert it onto a cardboard round or peel. Use a razor blade held at a 30-degree angle to the loaf to slash across the top of the loaf. (Deb note: I made an X in the bread pictured here.) Slide risen loaf from the cardboard or peel onto the pan. Immediately lower oven temperature to 450 degrees. Bake the loaf for about 40 minutes (Deb note: you’ll probably need much less time, or to lower the oven temperature to get it to finish baking) or until internal temperature of the loaf reaches 210 degrees. Cool the loaf on a rack and do not cut until it is completely cooled.

Variation: Raisin Pumpernickel Bread – Knead 1 cup dark raisins in by hand after the dough is risen the first time, and before shaping the loaf. Make sure you plump them first in very hot water for several minutes, as they are otherwise prone to burn in the oven.

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