Having perfected, in my opinion, the best deli caraway rye I’ve ever tasted, these past several months of bread baking have emboldened me to experiment with my second holy grail of loaves – pumpernickel. Actually, raisin pumpernickel, as described in The Silver Palate as a “uniquely New York bread” also known as “Black Russian.”
Like the deli rye, this takes planning ahead, as the dough must be allowed to proof for 15-18 hours. Start this between 3-6PM on day one and you’ll be ready to shape and bake by late morning or early afternoon the next day. I usually allow the full 18 hours for my caraway rye, but was getting a bit antsy this morning to test the results after a 15 hour rise. Turns out nothing was lost in that short-cut, and I’m thoroughly kvelling over the results. I know there are raisin-haters among my followers, and so you can simply leave them out, but I found the addition of 1/2 cup golden raisins to this dough was well worth the inclusion for a moist counterpoint of sweetness in every bite:
RONI’S NO-KNEAD RAISIN PUMPERNICKEL
1-3/4 cups lukewarm water
1/4 cup molasses
2 T kefir, plain yogurt or buttermilk
1/2 t SAF instant yeast
1/2 T instant coffee or espresso granules
2 t kosher salt
1 cup rye flour
3/4 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups Bob’s Red Mill artisan bread flour
1 T vegetable oil
1/2 cup golden raisins
Egg wash – one egg white lightly beaten with a t water
Stir together the lukewarm water, molasses and yeast in a 5-quart mixing bowl and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Stir in the instant coffee or espresso, salt, rye flour and cocoa powder. Add the whole wheat flour, bread flour, kefir (or buttermilk or yogurt) and the vegetable oil and stir well until all combined into a wet sticky dough. You could use the paddle attachment of a stand mixer for this, but I found it easy enough to stir the wet dough by hand. Cover with plastic and allow to rise 15-18 hours.
Turn out dough onto lightly floured work surface or bread board and rinse out and dry your bowl. Then flatten the dough slightly and sprinkle 1/2 the raisins all over. Fold the dough over, flatten and repeat with remaining raisins. Shape the dough into a boule and place on sheet of parchment back in your mixing bowl. Cover with plastic.
Preheat oven to 450º with a 4-quart Dutch oven on middle rack while letting the dough rest for 30 minutes. Just before baking, brush all over with the egg-white wash and sprinkle with caraway seeds. Make three shallow slashes across top of bread. Carefully place the dough in its sling into your very hot Dutch oven, cover and bake for 30 minutes. Then remove lid and bake another 16 minutes. Remove from pot with oven mitts and allow to cool on a rack for about an hour before slicing.
Enjoy by itself, with a schmeer of cream cheese or butter, or as a unique bread for your favorite sandwich.