Embrace The Goo

A couple of astute readers out there noticed something about the black bread (pumpernickel) recipe. Specifically that after the initial “soaking” step, no more liquid is added. Can that be right? Indeed it is, and for that you can thank the goo. The pentosan gums, in other words.

Rye-intensive breads can be very tricky from a mixing standpoint. Once pentosans start absorbing water they get gooier and gooier — even without added moisture. The longer you mix, the gummier and stickier the dough gets. That natural reaction is to just throw in a little more flour. Problem solved. Only where rye is concerned that’s like trying to put out a flaming hanky with lighter fluid. The more flour (and gum) that goes in the wetter the dough seems to get until it’s all but overflowing the mixing bowl. So when your pumpernickel dough gets to the sticky point — and it will — just remember that the dough isn’t over-hydrated, it’s just replete with goop. Dust your hands and surfaces with extra flour and carry on.

4 thoughts on “Embrace The Goo”

  1. How do you shape this dough? My first attempt is in the oven in loaf pans. It smells delicious– can’t wait to see how it tastes (in two days).

    1. Love the ‘tude in your blog, Hillary!

      You can shape it however you wish. A loaf pan works just fine. You can do a sort of free-form log also. Just don’t make it too massive or it won’t bake all the way through! Let me know how how it turns out!

      – Joe

  2. It’s wonderful! Though the loaves are only an inch tall. (Loaf pans are 4 x 7 inches at the bottom.) I think I’ll bake it in one loaf pan next time to better make open face sandwiches… I’m fully in board with your suggestion of lox and cream cheese!

    Any idea how long this takes to get stale, or does it not last long enough in your house?

    1. Hey Hillary!

      It takes a lot longer to stale than normal bread because of all the pentosan gum. It’s good for probably a week well wrapped before you start noticing a change in texture. But I’d refrigerate it after a few days since it can mold easily.

      Glad it worked so well!


      – Joe

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