101 in 1001 {III}: 006 bake pumpernickel bread from scratch [completed 06.15.12]

the pumpernickeling: it begins

summer fridays! they're referenced on twitter, and one hears of them in passing on saturdays and sundays, but never were they mine until last monday, when it was announced that my office would be closed at the end of the week, motherfuckers. with baking time on my hands, i found myself a recipe, hit the whole foods at columbus circle like an eastern army with a continent-sized campaign on its map, and settled down to make some pumpernickel.

the tricky part of bringing this bread into being was, oddly, the shopping (o, how the russians fetishize shopping): deb of smitten kitchen's russian black bread calls for seventeen ingredients, including a fresh shallot, unsweetened chocolate, three kinds of flour, a decommissioned tank, and four severed alliances. the combination of those things resulted in the peculiar cat-food smell that is the signature of good pumpernickel, though, so i figured i was on the right track.

ye risen dough

as my go-to bread procedure has always been jim lahey's no-knead recipe, spending quality time with a dough was new and a little frightening. how much abuse did it want? what does springy feel like, anyway? was i supposed to fold and punch, to stretch and wheedle, to fling and exclaim? i spoke a little russian to the gluten as it developed ("i am studying international relations at stanford university, i am not a spy! what time is it? meat salad!").

ye loaf

black bread and eggs

the bread, to make a long story short, was quite horrorshow; i think i would be a bit more liberal with the caraway seeds, toss in a bit of sauteed onion, and perhaps tinker with the flour ratios a bit next time (for the pumpernickel flavor was just a bit subdued), but on the whole i was exceedingly pleased. my two loaves rose dutifully, and they were right tasty sliced and toasted with scrambled eggs and cracked pepper.

summer fridays are not merely for making bread, o my brothers; i have also been addressing the 101 in 1001 list with new-to-me shakespeare (as you like it in central park on thursday night) and kubrick (full metal jacket as i pumpernickeled). as you like it was one of the better comedies i've seen in recent years; lily rabe's rosalind was sharp and charming, a katharine hepburn for arden, and the bluegrass steve martin composed for the show paired well with the cast's high spirits. i teared up as i do every year; it is so fine, this city of mine with its plush june air and whirling moths and poetry all over the place. full metal jacket, in turn, was...passable? i liked the head-shaving opening sequence very much (can you really shave a head that quickly?), and vincent d'onofrio was as scary as he always is, but the pacing was weird, and joker's final voice-over was disappointing. i have higher hopes for barry lyndon and dr. strangelove.

imaginary reading group discussion questions

01 what would you do with a suddenly-spare friday?
02 are you a baker of bread? have you any kneading secrets?
03 how many of shakespeare's plays have you seen (live)?
04 do you ever cry at plays?
05 am i the only one who didn't know 2 live crew sampled full metal jacket?
06 have you seen prometheus? was that first scene on earth?


rachel (heart of light) said...

You are knocking them out! 

01. I ended up with one last Friday (technically, I was working at home). I ran 4 miles, donated blood, baked several dozen cookies for a Saturday wedding and made digital layouts for photo albums. Did not do any actual work, though. 

02. I would recommend reading the Tassajara bread book intro. You may skip the poorly written poetry if it offends your senses, but they give good tips on bread handling. If you use a stand mixer with a bread hook, the actual kneading is only about 10 minutes long, unless you have pent up aggression in which case you can go longer. 

03. Only 3 or 4, I think. And now I'm struggling to remember which ones, besides MoV (unforgettable, because I saw it at the Globe). I'm sadly remiss with play going. I have watched more film versios of Hamlet than I even care to remember. 

Amanda Moo said...

01 Read the books, pickle the peas, walk long and breezily
02 I am; yes, but they are *secrets*
03 May I count the 2,372.7 times I watched Twelfth Night rehearsals in high school?
04 Nearly always
05 No
06 No

Amanda Moo said...

"...the experienced breadmaker can soon judge for himself, and if there is a little less or a little more kneading done than required, it does not matter. I have used the electric mixer a great deal, but never for the entire kneading procedure. I rather enjoy taking the dough from the mixer and finishing it off by hand. It seems to me that it gives the bread a better texture, but this may be my imagination. I have many friends who would not dream of kneading by hand any longer now that they have a dough hook. The choice is up to you." James Beard, Beard on Bread (among my most treasured gifts from MDF)

Lisa said...

I know nothing and have no free Fridays but clearly yours lead to all sorts of refulgence. May you have more Freedays soon.

_M_D_F_ said...

01: Coup. 03: Fewer than ten; including film, fewer than twenty; including Hamlet 2, twenty. 04: Nearly at a production of Samuel D. Hunter's The Whale which might've been the best theatrical experience I've ever had. Well done theater makes me really happy (and the set design was unbelievable- I'd've sworn the stage was actually my friend's crummy apartment). The Whale took itself to NY and is playing at Playwrights Horizons later this year, incidentally. 05: Stunning admission coming from someone I think once referenced "The Fuck Shop" somewhere and yet how would you know? I'm probably oblivious to at least several dozen movie samples at the beginning of metal songs myself. 06: All I know is that a really good Slate article summarizing all the feminist-theory-related criticism of Alien ended with the author pondering whether Noomi Rapace in her underwear in Prometheus was "an image of post-feminist empowerment... or just another space honey to delight the male gaze..." "Space honey." Silly but nice, and perfect-sounding.

kidchamp said...

03 i will find this whale.
05 i reference "the fuck shop" whenever i can get away with it, really. in vaguely related news, i was really excited when i learned the "don't leave us in the dark" sample at the end of morrisey's "billy budd" was from oliver twist.
06 i will find that slate article and i will read that slate article. i skipped over the "space honey" question and simply had a little dance-off in my head between that outfit and leeloo's from the fifth element (leeloo still wins). note that google imaging "leeloo" opens a pandora's box of terrifying photos from burning man. fucking burning man.

kidchamp said...

that is super-dirty. (can one even have a dough hook if one doesn't have an electric mixer?)

kidchamp said...

the ways in which our hobbies overlap continue to be a source of great amusement to me. i keep thinking i should upload a photo of my little handmade running chart for your amusement, but given that you are actually genuinely organized, it might be a little horrifying. we shall see, we shall see.

and i do have pent-up aggression! i'm feeling better about this bread thing. 

kidchamp said...

ETA: ye slate article.

Melissa said...

I have a recipe somewhere for french ciabatta bread that requires no mixer.  You dump flour, yeast, and water into a large (huge) bowl and fold it on top of its self every fifteen minutes.  You do this about five times.  Let it rise in the fridge for a few nights, then bake off.  Its my favorite bread to make.  I'll have to find the recipe now.

bigBANG said...

Re. Prometheus, in my head that scene was not shot on earth, but in Iceland. This fact has not been verified out of sheer stubbornness on my part. I am quite attached to the idea that I will actually see that gorge come mid-August. I will report back. 

Hannah said...

Oh, is that pumpernickel not smashing?  I taught a friend to bake bread right before I left SF, and the recipes we used were a modified version of the no-knead, and the Smitten Kitchen pumpernickel.  I figure the absurd simplicity of the one and the preposterous complexity of the other nicely bookend the spectrum of breadmaking, if breadmaking can be considered as a spectrum, and not as some kind of multidimensional gradient with other extremes at baguettes, babka, and chapatis.

(Also, my breadmaking student is a robotics engineer.  I figured the pumpernickel would be the robotics engineering of bread.)