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This recipe is from Sunset Breads, Step by Step Techniques (Lane Publishing, 1984). It is my bread making Bible. Most of my favorite bread recipes are found here. I’ve made this Molasses Pumpernickel Bread many times throughout the years. One lasting memory is when I pulled these loaves from the oven and then a couple friends stopped by. They started picking at one of the loaves and by the time they left, nearly a whole loaf was gone! I like to serve this bread with soup or German-style foods.

Molasses Pumpernickel Bread

2 Tbsp. butter

2 cups milk

1-1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup molasses

1/2 cup warm water (about 110 degrees F)

2 pkgs (4-1/2 tsp) active dry yeast

1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1-1/2 cups whole bran cereal (All-Bran)

3 cups rye flour

About 4-1/2 cups bread flour

1 egg yolk beaten with 1 Tbsp. water

Warm milk with butter until butter just melts. Stir in walk and molasses. Set aside.

In a large bowl (or mixing bowl with dough hook) combine water, yeast, and brown sugar. Stir until dissolved. Let stand until bubbly (about 15 minutes). Then add milk mixture, bran cereal, rye flour, and 2 cups bread flour. Beat until well-blended. Using mixer, let it go about 5-8 minutes medium speed. Stir in about 1-1/2 cups more bread flour. Continue kneading or mixing until smooth and satiny, adding flour to prevent sticking.

Place dough in a greased bowl; turn over to grease top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about 1-1/2 hours).

Punch dough down, divide into two equal portions, and knead each portion briefly to release air. Then shape each into a smooth ball; flatten slightly.

Place each loaf on a baking sheet at least 10 x 15″, which has been greased and sprinkled with corn meal to prevent sticking. Cover and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled (about 40 minutes).

With a razor blad or sharp floured knife, make 1/2″ deep slashed on tops of loaves, forming a ticktacktoe design. Brush tops and sides with egg yolk mixture.

Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes or until bread is richly browned and sounds hollow when tapped. Transfer to racks and let cool. Makes 2 round loaves.

Today I am baking Swedish Limpa. The recipe is based upon a recipe found in one of my two favorite bread cookbooks: Electric Bread by the late Suzan Nightingale. Electric Bread is a cookbook for using a bread machine. I gave away my bread machine several years ago when my daughter talked her dad into buying me a Kitchen Aid mixer with the dough hook attachment for Christmas. I like having more control over the process of bead making, but the variety of recipes in Electric Bread is amazing so I’ve tweaked them for use in my mixer.

One of the things I’ve learned about making yeast breads in a mixer is that the best kneading takes place before the dough gets stiff, before adding that last cup or two of flour. That’s when you let the machine go for five minutes or so. Then add the final flour to make a stiff dough that’s not too sticky.

Swedish Limpa

3 tsp. active dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water

1/4 cup warm milk

1 Tbsp. honey

1 Tbsp. molasses

2 Tbsp. soft butter

1 Tbsp. orange zest

1/2 tsp. anise seed

1/2 tsp. cardamom

3/4 cup flat dark beer (stir an open beer until the bubbles disperse)

1/2 cup rye flour

1-1/2 tsp. salt

2-1/2 cups bread flour (approximate)

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add all ingredients except bread flour, start with 1-1/2 cups. Mix and knead very well. Gradually add bread flour until the dough is stiff and not sticky. Cover and let rise until double. Punch down and form into a loaf. Place in greased 9×5″ loaf pan. Cover and let rise until double. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Let cool on rack.

This makes a great ham sandwich or toast in the morning for breakfast. I’ll bet a grilled cheese sandwich would be memorable as well.

What kind?