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Pumpernickel is Disgusting!

I've never had pumpernickel bread before, and for some reason I was "craving" it, so I but some today.
It's the dense, pre-packaged kind, not the round loaf kind.
I opened the package up, took a bite of it, then almost spit it out. It's DISGUSTING!!! In fact, the package is right in front of me and I'm nauseated by the smell of it.
I still have a whole package to get through and was just wondering what I could eat it with to minimize this sickening taste.

By the way I'm vegetarian so don't recommend any meats. Dairy products are welcome.

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  1. I was about to suggest a ripe goat cheese when I had a second thought:

    If it tastes disgusting, why not throw it out? Life is too
    short to eat things that disgust you.

    1 Reply
    1. re: DonShirer

      Yes, but it cost me a whole $2.99
      I know it's not in the chowhound spirit to be doing this, but I'm trying to give it a second chance by complementing it with something else.

    2. I like to make garlic bread with pumpernickle...
      lots of butter/olive oil and a crushed clove or three...toast and enjoy (hopefully)

      1. Here's a good description of this bread

        Note there is a fine textured version, and one with whole rye and wheat berries. Cream cheese, smoke salmon, capers, onion have been mentioned as toppings.


        1. There are so many different breads sold under the name of "Pumpernickle" here in north america that if you don't like one you can try another. If you want a good medium heavy rye bread see if you can get some Roggenbrot, Schwarzbrot, or Vollkornbrot in your area. I never buy Pumpernickle.

          1. It's one of the possibilities for bread for the Danish open-faced sandwiches called smørbrød. Get some whipped unsalted butter (or soften it and whip it yourself), smear it on thickly, then top with a little bit of topping. If you eat eggs, sliced hardboiled eggs with a bit of mustard-mayo-dill goo is traditional; havarti cheese with dill; cucumbers with caviar.

            1. Yeah, those hard sliced pumpernickles are hideous, IMO. They are nothing like a good pumpernickel from a bakery. It is a particular style. I know one bakery that makes that version, but I dislike that type of pumpernickel so much I won't try it.

              I don't think there is a thing in the world that would make this taste good unless you serve it in a hot prep.

              You can try toasting and buttering.

              Better yet, would be open-faced cheese sandwiches with the cheese being melted via a microwave. Just top with some sort of shredded or slices of cheese and nuke.

              You can also make croutons out of it and it might not be too bad on a bowl of tomato soup. Lots of butter though when making those croutons.

              Maybe toast and use for a tuna fish sandwich ... or a liverwurst, munster cheese, sliced tomato and mustard sandwich.

              Possibly toasted with some pate on top.

              Never buy this version of pumpernickel again. If it doesn't look like a loaf of bread, often round, just keep walking.

              Throw it in the freezer until ready to do something with it.

              For ambiance, go to a park that has ducks and feed it to the ducks and mooching pigeons. Seagulls will eat anything too if you have some in your location.

              3 Replies
              1. re: rworange

                That last idea seems ingenious (I hope I'm using the right word here).
                Do you know what type of pumpernickle bread that is called?

                Edit: nevermind I found out from a post below.

                1. re: corneggs

                  Well, I'm an idiot. Not only did I read you were a vegetarian, I had it in the back of my mind when I started that post. All I can say is that Thanksgiving preperations addled my mind. So skip as ingrediants tuna, liverwurst, pate and duck

                  One thing I forgot to mention is you can make Kvass from pumpernickel

                  If done right, this drink ... yes, drink ... can taste like apple cider. If done incorrectly ... you think the bread alone is bad ... bad Kvass will make you want to die ... think of that taste in liquid form ... oh, ick, ick, ick, ick.

                  There are over 80 varieties of pumpernickel from my understanding. I like the soft Jewish pumpernickel with a chewy crust. I still remember to this day ... from when I was six years old, a wonderful pumpernickel from a place in my hometown called Brooklyn Bakery, IIRC. You just walked into the kitchen with trays of these molasses loafs and it left such an impression I can still remember the taste today. So the type of pumpernickel I like the best looks close to this.

                  I do not like the Danish, Westphalian, Swedish, Bavarian etc types of pumpernickel that look like this and sounds like what you bought.

                  But it is true of that awful thin-sliced rye too.

                  The closer pumpernickel is to dry, the less I like it. Something like this would be marginal to me unless it had a lot of molasses or was toasted.

                  Other varieties I know of are Black Forest, Bulgarian and, as referenced earlier, scarlet.

                  The Wiki article actually backs up all the origin theories in this thread ... fit for a horse or ... well, you know.

                  It does have a link to a GREAT article about pumpernickel that has a third theory. that the translation is Austrian for 'hearty bread'.

                  It says even in Germany there is lots of discussion on whether the Westphalian type is wonderful or woeful ... going back to this 16th century quote about the bread ...
                  "you would scarcely believe that what you have before you is bread. Black, coarse, and bitter to taste ... It is, indeed, an impoverished people that is obliged to eat its own soil."

                  It mentions that it was a bread made from necessity where the labor for bread had to be reserved for making it every couple of weeks, so it needed to keep for a while. Originally, the dough was kneeded by the bare feet in troughs. I think I still taste feet in this variety today.

                  It is a wonderful article which interviews a German bread maker whose passion is this variety. His loving description of how it is made almost makes me want to like this bread. If I am ever in that part of Germany, I would stop by that bakery. If I ever win the big bucks in the lottery, I'd fly there just to try it.

                  1. re: rworange

                    Hey thanks for all that info. Your dedication to the subject matter allowed me to add you as my first tracked user!

              2. By the way: Do you know where the Name "Pumpernickle" comes from?
                When Napoleon was on his campaign in Russia, his armee was caught napping of the coming winter - and the soldiers were starving. Only Napoleons horse, called "Nicole", got always enough bread. And with the time the french "Pain pour Nicole" (Bread for Nicole) was shortend to "Pumpernickle".

                Sorry for my English.
                Greetings from Germany

                8 Replies
                1. re: Hessenbub

                  Thanks for the story, can't wait to amaze someone with my knowledge!!
                  I love pumpernickle bread, if I couldn't have meat, I'd eat it with just mustard on it.

                  1. re: coll

                    actually, that's not the origin. the etymology is from the german: "pumpern", which means to break wind, and "nickel" which means devil or goblin. combined as "pumpernickel", it translates to "devil's fart", from the difficulty to digest the coarse grain with which the bread was originally made.

                    this thread is silly. if i bought something that i thought was "disgusting", i would toss it. the smell "nauseates you"? for pete's sake -- $3? please look at the big picture here.

                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                      Lol. Your origin sounds correct for reasons which will go unmentioned.

                      And secondly - if you (the OP) don't like it, I doubt there's anything to put on top of it that will make you like it. And that's when you've really wasted your money. Top w/ goat cheese, taste and throw out? Not good. Feed it to the birds or the squirels and be glad you've discovered something you don't like in private rather than in public.

                      1. re: bryan

                        I think it's only because I bought the wrong kind of pumpernickel bread. I usually like my dark roast coffee black, bittersweet chocolate, and lots of other really intense flavours.

                        And as I mentioned below, I did put peanut butter on top of it and it tasted fine.

                  2. re: Hessenbub

                    Okay I'm not one to nitpick, but I had always been under the impression that "pumpernickle" was a reference to something else kind of amusing. I was totally prepared to believe your version (and who really knows the truth of these things), but here is another claim:


                    Both stories are cute though!

                    1. re: Hessenbub

                      Er, it's actually not -- check snopes.com.

                      1. re: Hessenbub

                        The way I heard it was almost the same, except the soldiers said "Bon pour Nickel," and Nickel was somebody they hated (can't remember who), and the bread was poor quality. And in response to the original post, and at the risk of sounding old, pumpernickel isn't what it used to be. There was a tiny "commission bakery" on 9th St. just west of First Ave in NY (it's still there, but I don't know how good it is these days) that sold it by the pound off a huge loaf. It was wonderful, and even more wonderful was raisin pumpernickel.

                        1. re: Hessenbub

                          Another german version of the story has it that when the French soldiers encountered this dense black bread they thought it was fit only for the horse: "Bon pour Nicole."

                        2. Real pumpernickel bread is wonderful - sour and yeasty and tasting of grain. The packaged stuff sold is a bastardized version made dark with caramel and so dense and dry it's practically inedible. Find a good German bakery and try it... it makes wonderful sandwiches and I love it just buttered, or toasted and buttered.

                          1. "Confronational comment?" Hardly. Toss the pre-packaged and get thyself to Fairway

                            1. For an alternative you may enjoy better, try Googling [recipe "outback steakhouse bread"] - you won't get the deep color unless you have a dough coloring agent, but the flavor is dark, sweet and yummy.

                              1. Big diff between store bought pre-packaged pump versus bakery. Similar to Wonder bread versus bakery bread. If you like rye bread you may want to try a half-half loaf (usually called marble rye) that is half rye/half pump.

                                since you are veg (so rules out my faves, corned beef and pastrmi) need to go to fairly basics in addition to the salmon, et. al. suggestions above. Go basic. Egg salad with a nice cheese and tomato, chicken salad with a pesto dressing, tuna salad with havarti and hot peppers. Be experimental.

                                If you do not like a second time, toss it and chalk the $3 to experience.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: jfood

                                  Thanks, but chicken and tuna? What kind of vegetarian do you think I am?
                                  Sorry that came out sounding more cruel than I intended it to be.

                                  1. re: corneggs

                                    Just find someone around you that enjoys pumpernickel bread (lots do) or throw it out. I think you are being silly trying to eat something that you dislike so much.

                                    1. re: pescatarian

                                      Yeah, if you don't like the flavour, it is a pretty strong flavour, I'm not sure you can learn to like it in one loaf. And I don't think "real" pumpernickel is going to help the issue if you don't like fake pumpernickel - the real stuff only tastes stronger. That said, I think cream cheese *might* help if you happen to have some.

                                    2. re: corneggs

                                      None taken. Not being a veg and having people over the years tell me "I'm a vegetarian" I have noticed that they range from no beef to nothing that breathed (let's call fish a breather). Did not know where you fit into the spectrum and obviously you are more the latter than the former.

                                      If you ever move closer to the former, re-read my post. For those of us who are not veg, chicken and tuna salad on pump is really good.

                                      By your not mentioning egg salad, is that on or off the list. Just trying to learn more about differing opinions.

                                      Thanks and good luck with the pump.

                                      1. re: jfood

                                        It's on the 'on' list. I eat eggs, cheese, milk, etc. but no 'fleshy' stuff. Basically, I'm a lacto-ovo vegetarian.

                                        The meat-eaters you describe are deemed to be either Flexitarians or half-vegetarians or part-time vegetarians.

                                        1. re: corneggs

                                          So, like, I'm a vegetarian? But only on Tuesdays.

                                  2. Nothing better then a pumpernickel and Limburger cheese sandwich along with some raw onions. Try this meal right at bedtime and then face your mate for the nights sleep.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Big Sausage

                                      No, no, now Single person. Lose the onions and toast a thin slice the bread and let the heat work on your cheese. God, I wish I were single again.

                                    2. How I really like pumpernickle: as slightly burnt toast, with butter. Regular, or lightly toasted won't do - must be burned on the edges, and crisp, almost brittle.
                                      Idiosyncrasy... maybe how my mother made it?

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: nincyh

                                        I like it like that too. I also like same with honey, love the sweet/sour effect.

                                      2. Okay, so I tried it toasted (until it curled up at the edges) with huge dollops of peanut butter and it tastes okay. Well, in actuality, it tastes like peanut butter but the texture is good.

                                        I guess I'm not buying this pre-packaged kind again. I'll try the freshly loaves next time. Yes, I am adventurous.

                                        By the way, before the peanut butter experiment I was about to go out and get some cottage cheese to use as a dip on this infamous bread. Do you think that would've worked well?

                                        Also, what do you think of pre-packaged (dark) rye bread? Would it taste any different?

                                        1. why dont you try a hot spinach dip?

                                          1. I agree that a good pumpernickel from a bakery is much, much better than the commercial variety - it's like night and day.

                                            From my NYC days I remember Moishe's Bakery on Second Avenue and 7th Street and another place on the Upper East Side (Orwashers? Orshwaser? - I couldn't google it) that had the best pumpernickel.

                                            3 Replies
                                              1. re: Putney

                                                Could you describe this good bakery pumpernickel? I'm wondering whether it is better quality and 'fresher', or just a different type. For example is the bakery version basically a fine rye bread with dark coloring, or is it the more traditional version that requires 16 hours of slow baking?

                                                Note that Orwashers describes theirs a Russian style. In fact a web search on 'russian pumpernickel' turns up quite a few entries. This may be the main style of pumpernickel produced or sold by NY delies and bakeries.

                                                A glance at pumpernickel recipes on 'Astray Recipes' shows a wide range of wheat to rye proportions (from 3:1 to 1:1), different colorings (molasses, chocolate, coffee), inclusion of potatoes, use of whole or cracked grains, flavorings like caraway, use of yeast v sourdough.


                                                1. re: paulj

                                                  Yes, I'd like to know that too.

                                              2. does it taste a bit sour to you? why didn't you like it?

                                                Personally, I love it -- we eat it toasted til it's quite stiff (just a bit less done than nincyh). then spread with hummous or sundried tomato tapenade and cut into four squares. It's also delicious drowned in butter, but then, what isn't?

                                                I also eat it with a thick coating of marmite (though my husband refuses this one).

                                                toasting brings out the sweetness ,but if you really don't like it, pitch it.

                                                5 Replies
                                                1. re: orangewasabi

                                                  It's not sour as much as it is bitter. Are you sure you're talking about my kind of pumpernickel? The one like this:

                                                  I think the problem here is that there are just too many types of very different bread all under the name 'pumpernickel'.

                                                  1. re: corneggs

                                                    It is fun to read the google translation of this ciao.de review of this Harry Pumpernickel

                                                    (search for Harry Pumpernickel with google, and ask for the translated version).

                                                    It sounds like a good version of the more traditional, slow steamed German pumpernickel. I am guessing from this review that it has a very strong rye taste. I'm not sure that I've had a pumpernickel that comes close to this, but it has to be quite different from the NY Russian bakery pumpernickel that other posters love.


                                                    1. re: corneggs

                                                      yes, that's the kind I mean -- not that exact brand, but that type (in the air sealed containers).

                                                      my dh thinks it is bitter, I call it sour -- toasted, the weirdness, whatever you want to call it, seems to disappear.

                                                      1. re: orangewasabi

                                                        Weirdness--that's a funny euphemism for it. Yes, when it's toasted it's pretty normal.

                                                        1. re: corneggs

                                                          I just bought a package of 'European style' whole grain bread from Trade Joes. It's a lighter version with hazel nuts and cranberries. But the top 2 ingredients are cracked wheat and cracked rye. There still is that undercurrent of strong rye flavor. It has a lingering bitter aftertaste, similar to that of coffee, dark chocolate and dark beer.


                                                  2. How about making croutons from it and adding it to soups or salads? I like strongly flavored croutons on top of Caesar salad or a good mushroom soup.

                                                    1. Toast is the answer, to a great many questions.

                                                      1. When I first read thru this thread I thought, why didn't you return it for a refund, maybe the pumpernickel was bad, spoiled...but if that was not the case and you enjoy hot open faced sandwiches like hot roast beef, hot turkey, etc. this bread is a good base.

                                                        1. When I worked at a bakery/sandwich shop, I'd spread pumpernickel bread with chive cream cheese, then put on some thinly sliced ham and grill it on our panini grill. Of course, no ham. You could grill anything on a sandwich, though.

                                                          1. This is how my parents used to eat it, limburger cheese and raw onion on pumpernickel.... probably why they didn't have a lot of kids!

                                                            1. I don't have a specific recipe, but supposedly in far northern Italy they make gnocchi with rye bread. Cut it up, dry it out and knead it with some eggs and milk...or something.

                                                              I'll have to consult a book.

                                                              1. I've made bread pudding with it before... you just have to kind of "mash" it to get it to soak up the bread.

                                                                1. Strange but good:
                                                                  Pumpernickel topped with swiss cheese, Russian dressing, mustard and sauerkraut, then grilled.
                                                                  A corned beefless reuben.

                                                                  1. Pumpernickel is DELICIOUS. REAL pumpernickel that is. Try it in germany - get the 'vollkorn' type. Sadly what we get in north america is more like just a rye bread mixed with sourdough with caramel coloring added. But real pumpenickel can't really absorb liquid - it's just a matrix of nuts and grains - nor can it be toasted... you can BURN it however... not recommended though. it's fantastic with just a little butter and will give you excellent fiber in your diet!

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: juanathan

                                                                      You're just about 7 years late with your reply.

                                                                      Other than that -- I wholeheartedly agree.

                                                                      1. re: linguafood

                                                                        I am another user who got sucked in by the recent posting (hangs head).

                                                                        What really piqued my curiosity though was the OP's use of the word "crave". I actually went to look up the definition on dictionary.com.

                                                                        I would still say "I CRAVE" my (late) grandmother's roasted corn on the cob from time to time. I "want to try" (very very much!) Thomas Keller's/The French Laundry's "Artichoke Picatta".


                                                                        1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                          Happens to the best (and worst) of us '-)

                                                                          As a German, I'm probably more used to this kind of dense, moist, and lightly sweet/sour bread. I like it best with smoked salmon & capers. You gotta kinda counteract the sweetness of the 'nickel.

                                                                      1. If the OP was so repulsed by pumpernickel, why the hell was s/he gonna plow through the remainder anyway? Did she spend her last nickel on that pumpernickel? Strange, to say the very least.

                                                                        1. It would be good with an herbed cream cheese. If you eat fish you could top that with some smoked salmon.

                                                                          1. Maybe a grilled reuben, sans the meat? Just load up on the cheese, kraut, and thousand island dressing then cook it like a grilled cheese sandwich?

                                                                            Perhaps make some croutons with it?

                                                                            1. throw it out.
                                                                              eat what you LIKE or what you LOVE.
                                                                              don't waste calories on food that is sub par, ESPECIALLY relatively inexpensive food that is sub par.

                                                                              sometimes if i know i'm going into a "bad" part of town, i pack up such failed experiments and distribute them to the homeless people i pass.

                                                                              1 Reply