Pumpernickel Bread

Pumpernickel bread (1)

Hans was a young German man with long blond hair who was a key person at the bakery its first year.  He had come in the bakery one day in the fall and we began talking.  I learned he was traveling in the United States for an extended period of time and had no pressing obligations.  After we talked for a while, he offered to help me in the bakery, but I told him I had no money to pay him.  He said this was unimportant, as I was doing something worthwhile.  Hans brought his sleeping bag and camped out on the office floor at the bakery.  Hans, Randy, and I would rise early in the morning to bake bread, and for breakfast and lunch all we had to eat was largely bread.  We became very good friends.

This dense, dark rye bread is similar to what Hans ate in Germany.  The use of an over-night pre-ferment produces a slight tanginess which complements the flavor of the rye and caraway.


Twelve Hour (overnight) Pre-ferment                                  Next Morning

1 cp. lukewarm (105 – 115oF) water                                      1 cp. lukewarm (105 – 115oF) water

1 cp. whole rye flour                                                              1-1/2 tsp. dry yeast

Pinch dry active yeast                                                            1/4 cp. dark molasses


1/2 cp. rye flour

3-1/2-4 cps. whole wheat flour

1 cp. cooked rye flakes or berries

2-1/2 tsp. salt

2 Tbs. carob or cocoa powder

3 Tbs. oil

2 tsp. caraway seeds


Note:  To cook rye flakes, place 3/8 cup uncooked flakes in a saucepan with 1 cup of water and boil 20 minutes.  Let cool.  To cook rye berries, place ¼ cup uncooked berries in a bowl with ¼ cup hot water, cover, and let soak overnight.  The next morning, place berries and soaking water and 1 cup more water into a saucepan and boil or 1-1¼ hours until tender.


  1. Creating a Pre-ferment: To develop pre-ferment, combine rye flour, yeast, and water in a bowl, mix and cover overnight.0


  1. Proofing the Yeast: The next morning, place additional lukewarm water in a bowl, add molasses and yeast, and mix thoroughly.  Let it sit for 8-10 minutes for the yeast to become active.


  1. Mixing the Dough: Add the remaining rye flour and 2 cups whole wheat flour to the bowl.  Place salt, caraway seeds, carob powder, and oil on the flour and mix thoroughly.  Add cooled rye flakes/berries and pre-ferment, and mix.  Add the rest of wheat flour, reserving 1/2 cup for kneading.


  1. Kneading the Dough: Place the dough on a floured work surface and knead for 10 minutes.


  1. The First Rise: Clean the bowl and sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of oil on bottom of bowl.  Place dough in bowl, flip bottom side up, and cover dough with a damp cloth.  Let rise 2 hours.


  1. The Second Rise: Remove the towel from the bowl, gently deflate the dough, flip it over so the bottom of the dough is on top, and re-cover the bowl. Let rise 1-1/2 hours in a warm place until soft, puffy, and about double in size.


  1. Shaping the Loaf and the Final Rise: Remove the towel from the bowl and gently deflate the dough, and place it on the work surface.  Cut the dough into two equal pieces, form each into a ball, and let rest for the next 10 minutes.

Shape doughs into a smooth ball by cupping both hands around the dough and pulling down on exterior surface of dough, while rotating the ball slightly clockwise.  Place the two round loaves on a flat metal pan which has been sprinkled with cornmeal or oiled.

Cover the loaves with a damp towel, place pan in a warm, non-drafty place, and let rise about ½ hour for loaves to soften and expand in size, but not flatten excessively.  Pre-heat the oven to 375oF.

  1. Baking the Loaves: Remove the towel from the loaves and spray with water from a spray bottle if available.  Loaves can be sprinkled with poppy seeds and slashed.  Place pan on the center of the middle shelf.  Spray the loaves with water after 20 minutes and 40 minutes.  Bake loaves for 55-60 minutes until evenly brown on all sides and bottom and thumping on the loaf makes a hollow sound.  Remove the pan from the oven and place loaves on wire racks to cool.


For a darker, slightly sweeter loaf, omit the caraway seeds and add 1/2 cup of raisins in the mixing of the dough.

Peppermint Bliss Balls

Peppermint Blissball

Annette brought this recipe using carob powder, honey, and oil of peppermint to the bakery, and it was a great success.  We are familiar with chocolate-covered peppermint patties, and this no-bake cookie captures some of this flavor.



1 cp. natural salted peanut butter                                       2/3 cp. finely chopped walnuts

1/4 cp. roasted tahini                                                                        1/4 cp. carob powder

1/2 cp. honey                                                                         1/4 cp. shredded coconut

1 tsp. vanilla extract                                                              1/2 cp. raisins

1 tsp. peppermint extract


  1. Mix the peanut butter, tahini, honey, vanilla, and peppermint extract in a medium-size bowl.
  1. Finely chop the walnuts in a food processor so they are the consistency of crumbs or cornmeal. Add the chopped walnuts, carob powder, coconut, and raisins to the liquid ingredients and mix well.
  2. Cover the dough and place in the refrigerator 1-2 hours to stiffen. Remove dough from refrigerator and break off pieces to make balls 1” in diameter.  Roll the balls in chopped walnuts, shredded coconut, or sesame seeds.  Makes 40.

Raisin Bread

The seeds of grasses such as wheat, rye, and barley are very hard and must be boiled in water for lengthy periods of time to be edible and for their nutrients to be bio-available.   The grinding of these hard seeds into flour is another way to accomplish these ends.  Our ancestors discovered this over 10,000 years ago when they took wheat and barley seeds and ground them into a coarse meal between two stones.  This meal was mixed with water and cooked near a fire as flat bread or mush.  By 1000 B.C. Egyptian millers were grinding grain between two flat millstones using large animals like oxen to rotate the top stone.  The Romans, who were skilled builders, constructed mills powered by water wheels. In parts of northern Europe windmills were used to grind grain into flour by the Middle Ages.  During the Industrial Era of the late nineteenth century, industrial flour mills were constructed which replaced the millstones used for grinding with steel rollers.  These flour mills could produce large quantities of flour with the bran and germ of the wheat removed.




2 cps. lukewarm (105-115oF) water

1-1/4 tsp. dry yeast

3 Tbs. honey


4-3/4 cps. whole wheat flour

2 tsp. salt

3/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. gr. coriander

2 Tbs. oil

1 cp. raisins




  1. Proofing the Yeast: Pour the lukewarm water into a bowl, sprinkle the dry yeast on the water, add the honey, and stir until dissolved.  Wait 8-10 minutes until the yeast begins to grow and forms a tan colored foam


  1. Mixing the Dough: Add 2 cps. whole wheat flour to the water and stir for 3-4 minutes to form a homogenous batter and begin working the gluten out of the flour.  Add more flour on top of the batter and place the salt, cinnamon, coriander, raisins, and oil on the dry flour, mixing this into the batter.  Continue adding the rest of the wheat flour, reserving 1/2 cup for kneading and mix to form a stiff dough.


  1. Kneading the Dough: Dump the dough in the bowl onto a floured work surface.  By pushing on the dough with both hands, form the dough into a ball and incorporate the fragments and loose flour into the ball.  Knead this dough for 10 minutes, adding more flour to the work surface and the ball if the dough sticks to the surface or your hands.  Raisins which pop out of the dough should be pushed back into it.


  1. The First Rise: Clean and dry the bowl.  Sprinkle about ½ tsp. oil on the bottom of the bowl.  Place the dough into the bottom of the bowl and flip it over once so that the entire surface of the dough is lightly covered with oil.  Place the bowl in a warm, non-drafty place and cover with a damp towel.  Let rise 2 hours.


  1. The Second Rise: Remove the towel from the bowl and gently press on the dough which has nearly doubled in size to deflate it. Flip the dough over so the moist bottom is now on top. Place the damp towel back over the bowl and let rise 1-1/2 hours.


  1. Shaping the Loaf and the Final Rise: Remove the towel over the bowl and gently press on the dough to deflate.  Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on the work surface.  Cut the dough in two equal pieces, shape each half into a rough ball, and let them rest 10 minutes to relax the gluten in the dough.  Shape the loaves into cylinders according to the Direct Bread Making Instructions.  Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.   Place the loaves in two oiled 8”X 4” bread pans, place the bread pans in a warm, non-drafty spot, and cover with a damp cloth.  Let rise 30-45 minutes.


  1. Baking the Loaves: When the bread has risen, remove the cloth and spray the loaf with water from a spray bottle, if available.  Place the two bread pans on the middle rack in the center of the oven and allow some space between the two pans.  About 15 minutes into the baking cycle, the loaves can be sprayed again to form a shiny crust.

Remove the loaves from the oven after they have baked approximately 50 minutes.  The bottom and sides of the loaves should be evenly browned when the loaves are removed from the bread pans and thumping in the loaves with your fingers will produce a hollow sound.  Remove the loaves from the pans immediately and place on wire racks to cool.


Variation:  Cinnamon Swirl Raisin Bread

Do not add the raisins while mixing the dough, but reserve until after second rise when shaping the loaves.  Form the dough into a rectangle approximately 11 X 8 inches by pressing it or rolling it with a rolling pin.  Sprinkle the raisins and some additional cinnamon evenly on the rectangle and then roll the shorter side up to form a cylinder.  Pinch the seam to seal and place in an oiled bread pan.