Let’s talk sandwiches. I love a good sandwich. Whether it’s a classic raw veggie, sautéed artichoke and peppers, or a homemade bean burger, sandwiches make me happy. And I think we can agree that the bread has a huge impact on a sandwich’s flavor and overall structure. Subpar bread leads to a disappointing sandwich. Never fear; I am here to provide you with one of my favorite sandwich bread recipes. You will be the monarch of sandwiches!
First, I should tell you that this bread will be lighter in color than you expect. The dark color of most pumpernickel loaves is due to the addition of caramel coloring. As the coloring is purely for aesthetics, has no affect on flavor, and is potentially harmful, we’ll just leave that out.
I always think of pumpernickel as a hearty and earthy taste and this loaf is just that. I’ll even share my secret to enhancing the pumpernickel flavor; replace 1/4 cup of lukewarm water with the same amount of room temperature pickle juice. It adds a nice zest and really amps up the pumpernickel.
Since pumpernickel is such a dense bread, this recipe has some longer rising times; up to ninety minutes for each rise instead of the usual sixty. This allows the gluten to form, which is the overall structure of the loaf. The whole process takes about four and a half hours, start to finish. Of course, most of that is rising time and in the end you have two loaves of delicious bread!
We used this bread to make avocado-based veggie sandwiches for dinner. Flippin’ amazing! The flavors of the bread melded nicely with our homemade mustard dressing and the creamy avocado. The bread toasts up well, providing a nice satisfying crunch (without being rock hard). You could easily turn a loaf into flavorful croutons for soups and salads!
For a slight variation, you can replace the pumpernickel with rye flour and/or caraway seeds instead of sesame seeds.
Happy baking, friends!
Light Pumpernickel Bread
- 1½ to 1¾ cups lukewarm water *
- 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of your choice), lukewarm
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2½ teaspoons of active yeast
- 4 cups Unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 cups Pumpernickel flour
- 2½ teaspoons salt
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds (optional)
- 1 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
*Use greater amount of liquid in winter, or drier climates; the lesser in summer, or in a humid environment.
Gather together your ingredients.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, or a large mixing bowl, mix together water, almond milk, brown sugar. Be sure mixture is lukewarm to the touch. Add yeast and allow to sit for three to five minutes. This will activate the yeast and yeast will appear bubbly. You do not need to do this if you are using instant yeast.
Add the remaining ingredients to the yeast mixture, and stir until everything is moistened. Cover the bowl and allow to rest for 15 minutes; this allows the dough to begin absorbing the liquid and will result in a dough which is bit less tacky.
Knead the dough for 7 minutes in a stand mixer, or 10 minutes by hand. Dough should be smooth and elastic, but will also still be quite sticky.
Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let rise for 60 to 90 minutes. Dough should be puffy, though not necessarily double in bulk.
Gently deflate dough and divide it in half. Shape each half into a log.
Lightly grease two 9×5 inch loaf pans, two 8½x4½ inch loaf pans, or one of each. The smaller loaf will mushroom up over the pan a bit when baked.
Place a dough log into each pan. Cover them and let them rise for 60 to 90 minutes. Loaf should be about even in the larger pans, and crested about 1 inch over the rim of the smaller pan.
Towards the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 350°F.
Bake loaves for 35 to 45 minutes. Check loaves after 30 minutes. If they seem to be browning too quickly, tent them loosely with aluminum foil during the last 10 minutes.
Remove the bread from the oven and let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely. Enjoy!
Yield: 2 loaves