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Jan 4, 2010 01:29 PM

ISO pumpernickel raisin bread (similar to Wildfire Restaurant)

Does anyone have a recipe for pumpernickel raisin similar to what they serve at Wildfire Restaurant? This is part of the Lettuce Entertain You chain.

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    1. re: HillJ

      Coincidentally, that's the one I found and had considered suggesting. Just wasn't sure how close it came to the "Wildfire" experience. Illinois is a long way from my house. I agree that it's a great recipe. I'm going to try and make it this week.

      1. re: todao

        I have used this recipe several times and enjoyed this bread at the restaurant and the recipe comes very close.

        As to the question regarding flours and flavorings in pumpernickel bread, it's a baker's preference w/ or w/out pumper. flours. Pumpernickel flour is the rye equivalent of whole wheat flour and since whole wheat flour is called for in this recipe, the recipe need not add both. You could sub pumpernickel for whole wheat and see if you like it.

        1. re: HillJ

          Well that makes sense and I will be giving substituting a try, for this recipe.
          Mahalo !

          1. re: HillJ

            "garding flours and flavorings in pumpernickel bread, it's a baker's preference w/ or w/out pumper. flours. Pumpernickel flour is the rye equivalent of whole wheat flour and since whole wheat flour is called for in this recipe, the recipe need not add both. You could sub pumpernickel for whole wheat and see if you like it."

            Just so I'm clear sub for WW not the Rye ?

            1. re: saraugie

              correct, for the WW you still want the rye for the rye texture and body.

            2. re: HillJ

              <<Pumpernickel flour is the rye equivalent of whole wheat flour and since whole wheat flour is called for in this recipe, the recipe need not add both.>>

              This is a bit confusing and I'd like to clarify:

              There's really not pumpernickel flour. It's just a coarser grind of rye flour, sometimes called rye meal.

              You can certainly sub pumpernickel/rye flour (of any grind) for the whole wheat flour. They are two different grains, and if you use do substitute, the bread will taste more like authentic pumpernickel, which is made from all rye flour. But I like to follow any recipe exactly the first time I make it, and then substitute or improvise after I've made the recipe as stated.

              The Wildlfire recipe is for American pumpernickel, which uses cocoa and coffee to create the dark color and to add aromatics and additional flavors.

              But German pumpernickel uses only the two different grinds of rye flour -- coarse and regular -- and always uses a sourdough starter, where most of its flavor is developed. It's baked for a very long time, which darkens the color. The coffee and chocolate flavors and aromatics occur naturally (just like various flavors found in wine) and are not added in any form.

              If you're at all interested in making German pumpernickel, it's great fun to make a starter with rye flour -- there's so much of the starter bacteria and yeast on the rye itself so the starter really takes off. (Whenever I make sourdough starter, even if I'm making white bread, I begin the starter with rye berries. You can also use rye flour.)

              To get really good rye flour, go to a good natural foods store and buy rye berries and grind them yourself. I get mine from Whole Foods. Then you'll get really close to the real deal.

              Whenever a recipe calls for pumpernickel flour, you can substitute rye flour even though it will be more finely ground than "pumpernickel" flour.

              Good luck to you.

              1. re: maria lorraine


                King Arthur pump flour and description if that is more helpful.

                1. re: maria lorraine

                  We were talking about sub'ing the whole wheat, not the rye called for in this specific recipe and not changing the use of cocoa (didn't discuss coffee) so now you've confused me. German versions weren't discussed. So to claify your post, what are your recommendations for just this recipe above?

                  1. re: HillJ

                    Yes, understood. In this case, the OP wishes to duplicate a bread that s/he likes, and your recipe appears to do that.

                    So my recommendation is to make the recipe as is, and see if it comes close to the Wildfire bread that the OP likes.

                    However, when making this bread the second time or thereafter, it would be fine to substitute rye flour or "pumpernickel" flour (coarse grind, whole grain rye) for the whole wheat flour, even though rye flour is already called for in the recipe. The risk is the bread may not taste as close to the Wildfire bread as the original recipe. Or it may be even closer in flavor.

                    There is no standardization among flours labeled pumpernickel, so it's a good idea to research individual brands. Sometimes they are light and almost like regular grind rye flour (Bob's Red Mill), and at other times they're dark, more coarsely ground, and ground from the entire rye berry (King Arthur).

                    German vs. American pumpernickel: Not everyone knows there is a difference, and that the flavors of cocoa and coffee (added as ingredients in the American recipe) occur naturally in the German bread. For more information, you can research pumpernickel, German pumpernickel, Westphalian pumpernickel, and black bread.

                    1. re: maria lorraine

                      Thank you m.l. very helpful! If you have a German version (recipe) I would welcome it as well.

                  2. re: maria lorraine

                    Maria, got a recipe for real German pumpernickel bread you'd like to share ?

                    1. re: saraugie

                      I'm a "pumpernickel" student, so to speak, and I like all kinds of pumpernickel -- the American versions like the "Wildfire" recipe with raisins, what's called Jewish rye in this country (often has caraway seeds), and then authentic pumpernickel originally from Germany.

                      Authentic pumpernickel is made from rye flour only, always uses a sourdough starter, is naturally sweet without the addition of any sweetener, and is quite dark from an exceptionally long steam bake, 16 hours minimum in Germany. It has no coffee, chocolate or cocoa, or regular yeast added.

                      It's made in four steps, and it sounds complicated. It isn't, but it does take time. You make a rye sourdough starter (and I'm of the opinion that all sourdough starters should begin with rye), and that will take a few days to get bubbly enough to use, but then you can use it for pancakes, coffee cake or any kind of bread. Another component of pumpernickel is coarsely ground rye berries that have been allowed to soak to create something like a gruel. Yet another component of pumpernickel is old rye bread that has been crumbled and soaked also. Finally, you make the dough, and to it add the sourdough starter, the soaked rye berries and old bread.

                      During the long 16-hour bake with a water bath, the bread gets darker and darker because of a combo of Mailliard and caramelization reactions. The dough becomes sweeter via a complicated rye bread amylase chemistry thing (starches change to sugar). The flavors become complex, deep and distinctive.

                      One of the best recipes for German pumpernickel is Horst Brandel's Black Pumpernickel from Jeffrey Hamelman's book "Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes." The recipe is copied here:

                      Don't be put off by all the stages -- they're simple, but they each need to be done.

                      There are some hybrid recipes between the German and American versions that are quite good. Here's a good place to begin reading -- scroll down to look at the list of the pumpernickel recipes:

                      I'm in love with Peter Reinhart and his latest book "Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads." He seems to understand the differences in rye flour more than most bakers, and what coaxes flavor out of this flour (and other flours). He's also a genius in terms of making and developing sourdough. Here is his hybrid recipe:

                      Good luck.

                      1. re: maria lorraine

                        Thanks Maria, one day, I will give the 16 hour bread a go.
                        And by tomorrow, I will accept that there is not such thing as pumpernickel flour :>) thanks for explaining it.

                        1. re: maria lorraine

                          "I'm in love with Peter Reinhart and his latest book "Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads."

                          I'm on page 31. I love it too, in fact I jumped ahead and made the 100% Whole Wheat Hearth yesterday. Even though I used KA white WW flour, it still developed a real nice taste.

                2. re: HillJ

                  I've always wondered why a recipe for pumpernickel bread, does have pumpernickel flower as an ingredient?
                  The country living recipe is just one of many that do not.
                  Can anyone explain ?

                  I make a pumpernickel bread from KAF recipe that is dynamite, with pumpernickel as the main flour used .
                  BTW, they also have a recipe or another 'pumpernickel' bread that has similar as the country living one, but again I don't get it ?

                  1. re: saraugie

                    See above. Pumpernickel flour is just a coarse grind of rye flour. American pumpernickel attempts to fake the German pumpernickel flavor and color by adding coffee and cocoa to the dough. It's still good bread though.

                  2. re: HillJ

                    Thanks so much for this recipe and thanks so much to shorty for bringing it up.

                    This is the food that is iconic to my life in college in the late 60s. And at the moment, I'm homebound with a broken kneecap so I'll have time to work on it. Since I can't drive i had to order my medium rye flour from KA. As soon as it arrives I'm all over this and I *know* I'm going to just love experiencing it again!

                    When I was in college we used to get *huge* loaves of this stuff and take them on what we called "supermarket picnics". Everyone would disperse to various stores and get the most delicious or unusual or provacative thing they found and bottles of wine (anyone remember Blue Nun?) and we'd assemble again in the woods somewhere with all our purchases and blankets. After we used the pumpernickle for some touch football we'd feast on all our strange foods and handfuls of the bread. It's how I met my husband.

                    As soon as I have a presentable loaf of this stuff I'm sending it and the recipe off to one of my friends from that era. I know it will bring back memories for her too. ;>

                    1. re: rainey

                      rainey, what great memories you have thanks for sharing them. When I was in college I had two gf's that would meet me for a "brain salad" - we thought we were so orginal, ha- but we would get a large wooden bowl and fill it with splurges we saved for like artichoke hearts and pickled olives, made this fab salad.enjoy some wine and giggle until our belly's hurt. Even then, great crusts, homemade bread was always around the apartment and quite often the affordable part of our younger chowish ways.

                      When my dh & I travel, good bread is always a part of the food hunt. I've been baking bread and experiment with flours, sours and techs. for decades beginning under the instruction of my Great Grandmother, an outstanding baker in her day.

                    2. re: HillJ

                      Can I use Scharffen Berger unsweetened cocoa powder instead of Dutch processed cocoa powder? Also, is there a lot of difference between all-purpose flour and bread flour?

                      1. re: shorty68

                        If your aim is to follow the recipe, I'd say yes to the unsweetened cocoa powder and no to the sub of all purpose flour for quality results.

                        1. re: HillJ

                          Yes to the cocoa sub in bread recipes, but remember to not sub SB [natural process] cocoa for Dutch process cocoa in cake, brownie or cookie recipes because of issues with leavening.

                          As to the bread flour, in this recipe it's only a cup. I'd use bread flour -- you can buy just a small amount of it from the Whole Foods bulk bins -- but since it's only a cup, you can probably get by AP. Be sure to knead properly, though, to develop the gluten.

                          1. re: maria lorraine

                            That is what I said above, maria lorraine but your detailed reasoning for using AP would change the texture and result of a recipe the OP was (I believe) looking to replicate. Yes?

                            1. re: HillJ

                              I think it's better to use bread flour, as I've stated. But I'm not sure a substitute of ONE cup of AP for bread flour will make a huge difference. The difference in protein content and its effect on gluten development is the only issue, hence the admonition to knead properly to develop the gluten structure.

                              Moreover, the protein content of AP and bread flours differs greatly according to manufacturer, and varies by individual batch of flour as much as 2%. Since the difference in protein content between AP and bread flour is often only 2%, that can mean no difference or a minute difference in protein content.

                              Shirley Corriher, the food scientist, in her book "Cookwise," lists the protein content of many different flours. She lists unbleached AP brands as 10-12% protein, and bread flour as 11.5-12.5. Depending on the brand you use, the bread flour could actually have less protein than the AP, or the difference could be as little as 0.5% or as much as 2.5%.

                              King Arthur flour (a great brand) has very little variation batch to batch, but the difference in protein content between the AP flour and the bread flour is only 1%. The King Arthur AP is 11.7% protein, and their bread flour is 12.7%.

                              Read more here:

                              So while I'd recommend bread flour, one cup of AP flour subbed for bread flour is not going to make a huge difference, especially if one is careful to develop the gluten. And if the OP is purchasing rye flour, especially if buying it from bulk bins (like at Whole Foods), there's a good chance the store also sells bread flour and the OP can purchase a small quantity. But if AP is all the OP has, go with the AP.

                              Here's the exception, though: The reason for the addition of bread flour to this recipe is the low protein content of the rye flour (5 to 7%). If one were to substitute rye flour for the whole wheat flour as discussed -- increasing the proportion of rye flour in the recipe -- then it really does become important to use bread flour as stated in the recipe to boost the protein content. In that case, a high gluten flour -- 14% -- would be preferable.

                              1. re: maria lorraine

                                Another tip if using more rye flour -- the dough will be wetter, will need only one rise, and will require using a loaf pan. You'll probably have to bake it longer, at a lower temperature.

                            2. re: maria lorraine

                              Thanks for the tip about getting the bread flour from Whole Foods. I did not know that they carried that.

                          2. re: shorty68

                            The big difference between all-purpose and bread flour is that bread flour has a higher protein content. The reason that would be important is that when working with rye flour -- and even more a medium, which is to say, coarser grind -- is that rye breaks down into hard and abrasive pieces that actually cut through strands of gluten making rise much more challenging. When the gluten network gets compromised, the gasses escape rather than inflate.

                            If you decide to use all-purpose flour, I'd definitely give it the boost of some additional gluten.

                          3. re: HillJ

                            Do you actually use spring water for this? I am not sure why spring water would be different from filtered water.

                            1. re: shorty68

                              Personally, I never baby yeast doughs but I DO use either spring water (if I happen to have it) or water that I allow to sit in an open container for at least 24 hours. Filtered water might be OK but the issue is chlorine and I'm not sure if filtration eliminates chlorine.

                              The concept is you're teasing a colony of tiny microbes called yeast into a vigorous breeding community. Chlorine, OTOH, is about "sanitizing" microbes out of our water.

                              I suppose people get good yeast action using municipal tap water I just prefer not to add that complication. Not when the chlorine evaporates over a 24 hour period. I'd be even more concerned where that abrasive rye flour is also going to be challenging the gluten formation.

                              1. re: rainey

                                Thanks a lot for the reply. It was very informative. I don't think there should be a chlorine issue since I am using well water.

                                Maybe I should just use spring water to be safe.

                                There is a dough button on my Cuisinart food processor. I need to figure out how to use this to knead the dough.

                                1. re: shorty68

                                  Happy to be able to help.

                                  I hope you're going to try the recipe. I was extremely happy with the results.

                          4. My rye flour arrived from King Arthur yesterday so I gave the recipe a whirl. I made a marbled loaf as that's one way I remember the bread from the 60s.

                            Here is a little photo essay of the marble version:

                            The bread has lovely flavor both as rye and as the darker pumpernickel. It would be great for a deli turkey sandwich or pastrami for that matter. Sounds like lunch to me! ;>

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: rainey

                              Good for you, rainey! Your marble rye looks delicious.

                              1. re: rainey

                                Wow! That's very impressive! Great photos. Thanks.


                                With your investment in rye flour, next time give this lovely loaf a go!

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: HillJ

                                  Can I cut the loaf in half and freeze half of it (wrapped in saran wrap and aluminum foil? I assume that it will only last for around 3 days in the fridge since there are no preservatives.

                                  1. re: shorty68

                                    Sure can! But unless you have concerns about leaving fresh baked bread out on your kitchen counter, this bread mellows with each day and room temp is preferable over chilled to really maximize the spices.

                                    1. re: HillJ

                                      How long does the bread last at room temperature? (e.g. 70 degrees).

                                      1. re: shorty68

                                        3-5 days will mellow the flavors. Most homemade bread should be consumed in a week.