Light Pumpernickel Rye Bread was a treat at our house back in the 70s. The kids waited not so patiently for the bread to cool enough to slice. In the wintertime, real softened butter was at the ready to slather onto the fresh from the oven bread. During the summer months, the kids loved popping the top off my homemade dill pickles to accompany the bread, I’m not sure why they chose that particular combination, but a quart of dill pickles and a loaf of pumpernickel bread disappeared in a flash. Their father, usually away at work, was fortunate that each recipe yielded 2-loaves. Enjoy this old family recipe with an origin that’s unknown.
Light Pumpernickel Rye Bread
2-packages active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups ever-so-slightly warm water
2 3/4 cups unsifted rye flour
1-tablespoon table salt
1-tablespoon caraway seeds
2-tablespoons margarine or butter, softened
1/3 cup molasses
3 1/4 to 3 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour (use less flour rather than more)
2-tablespoons yellow corn meal
Night before: in a large bowl, sprinkle yeast into slightly warm water and stir until yeast dissolves. Add rye flour and beat until smooth. Cover and let stand in warm place overnight. Note: To create a warm place, heat a cup of water in the microwave; remove the water and then leave the yeast mixture in the microwave overnight.
Next morning: mix in salt, caraway seeds, shortening, molasses and 2 cups of the all-purpose flour; gradually work more flour into the dough a little at a time. Keep adding flour until 3 1/4 to 3 3/4 cups flour is used or until dough is quite stiff and cleans the side of the bowl. It’s wise to always use less rather than more flour. A stand-up mixer with dough hoops or food processor works in place of hand kneading, if desired. Place dough in a large, lightly greased bowl; turn the dough so a smooth shiny side is up; cover and let rise for 1 hour or until almost double in bulk.
Punch down the dough and divide into 2 halves; round each half into a smooth ball using a small amount of vegetable oil, if desired. Sprinkle a baking sheet with corn meal; place loaves on baking sheet over top of cornmeal. Cover the bread loosely with plastic wrap and then with a kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour. Brush top of each loaf with cold water.
Preheat oven to 375° and bake bread for 35 to 45 minutes, or until tops are lightly browned. Cool (at least slightly) before cutting into slices with a serrated knife. Yield: 2 loaves with approximately 8 slices each
Next month’s feature will be my family’s recipe for homemade garlic dill pickles.