Pronto Pumpernickel
November 9, 2011

by stacy
Published on: November 9, 2011
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“[Pronto Pumpernickel] makes a delicious, moist, round loaf resembling the Middle European rye breads.”
-James Beard, Beard on Bread

Pronto Pumpernickel is a unique Beard on Bread recipe because it starts with a pre-packaged bread mix.  Much more on the debacle that turned out to be later.

Here are the ingredients:

Pronto Pumpernickel Ingredients

My problems started with the hot roll mix itself.  The recipe calls for a 13 3/4 ounce package of hot roll mix; I could only find a 16 ounce package.  Since I don’t have a kitchen scale, I carefully measured my mix by volume, and then set up a ratio to determine how much roll mix to discard.  Then came the next step: “Prepare a hot-roll mix as directed on package.”  I interpreted this to mean, well, prepare the mix as directed on package.  I set up another ratio to determine how much water to use (85% of one cup), and added the required butter and eggs.

The next step was where everything fell apart.  Following Beard’s instructions, I added another 3/4 cup of water, 1/4 cup molasses, 3/4 cup of rye flour, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of caraway seeds to the prepared mix.  This resulted in a soupy mess that resembled porridge more than bread dough.  So, either 1) bread mixes and the directions for preparing them have changed drastically since 1973 or 2) I was supposed to leave out the water as called for by the mix and just use the water called for by the recipe.  My best guess is number two, but that seems to directly contradict the first line of the recipe.

Regardless, I had a problem.  I added an additional 3/4 cup of rye flour to no avail.  Then, apparantly not heeding any of the lessons I learned from Cornmeal Bread, I turned the dough onto my cutting board and tried to knead it.  The dough was so sticky that I had to enlist Mike’s help to dump flour on the dough as I attempted to scrape dough from my hands.  After adding about 3/4 cup of all-purpose flour, I finally had  dough that I could knead.  After kneading, I let it rise for an hour, shaped it into a round loaf, and let it rise again for about half an hour.

Pronto Pumpernickel After Second Rising

I baked the loaf at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.  It was a nice looking free-form loaf, if I may say so myself.

Pronto Pumpernickel

As far as taste, considering all the modifications I made to the recipe it came out pretty well.  There wasn’t enough flavor in the way of salt or caraway seed, since I added so much flour, but the crust was incredible–nice and crunchy.  At some point, I may retry Pronto Pumpernickel without adding the water call for by the recipe, just to see if that works.  But I have a lot of recipes to work my way through before I get there.

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