Monday, March 21, 2016

Pumpernickel Bread with Caraway, Anise and Orange - Faster, Easier, Precisier

Yeah, I know that "precisier" isn't a word, but I'm still trying to see what magic my new gadget, the Precise Heat Bowl, can perform.

To be perfectly clear, I paid my very own money for this thing. Well, okay, I might have had an Amazon gift card burning a hole in my virtual wallet. But still, this is not a sponsored post.

After messing around with ice cream, lemon curd, and yogurt, I decided to turn my attention to bread. I made corned beef in my pressure cooker (an Instant Pot, if you must know) and I wanted corned beef sandwiches on rye bread. That's how I roll. So I figured that I'd use the bowl for my bread dough. It's pretty cool in my house this time of year, so it just made sense.

For the liquid in this bread, I used leftover whey from making strained yogurt, but water is perfectly fine.

Pumpernickel Bread with Caraway, Anise, and Orange

1 cup whey (leftover from making strained yogurt) or water
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup (4 1/2 ounces) pumpernickel flour (or any rye flour you have)
2 cups (9 ounces) bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoon anise seeds

Plug in the Precise Heat Bowl and set it for 110 degrees. Add the whey (or water) and orange juice and wait for it to come up to temperature. Add the sugar and yeast. Stir to combine. If you're not sure your yeast is viable or if you're using a brand other than Red Star (my preferred; it has small grains so you don't need to let it soften before continuing) let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes. You should see bubbles.

Turn the heat down to 100 degrees. Add the flours, salt, and olive oil.

Attach the bowl to your stand mixer and attach the dough hook. Knead until the mixture begins to be smoother and less shaggy. Add the caraway and anise seeds and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and stretchy.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and place the cover on the bowl. Set the timer for 45 minutes. Check the dough when the time is up. It should have at least doubled in size. It will feel warm to the touch.

Sprinkle cornmeal on a baking sheet and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Remove the dough from the bowl and gently form it into a round or oval. You don't want to knead or smash it, just gently form it. Place it on the baking sheet seam-side down. Cover with plastic wrap.

Put a cup or two of water in the bowl and place the baking sheet on top of the cooker. This will help keep the bread warm and speed the rise. Check the dough after 15 minutes. You're looking for it to double in size, and if you gently poke the bread with a fingertip, the dent should stay or fill in slowly. If it hasn't risen fully, give it more time, as needed.

When it has risen, remove the plastic wrap and slash the top of the dough. You can spray the dough with water before baking, if desired. Bake at 375 degrees until nicely browned, about 40 minutes.

Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool completely on a rack before slicing.