Pumpernickel bread is usually very dark brown, so dark that it can be mistaken for black. It is heavy, very dense, and has almost no crust. You can compare it to rye bread if you need to make a comparison. The American adaptation of the pumpernickel bread is made with rye flour and wheat flour and artificial coloring.
The real pumpernickel gets its dark coloring from the rye flour. It is made with at least 90 percent of rye flour and the rest is wheat flour. The addition of sweeter or coloring is not allowed. It takes at least 16 hours to bake pumpernickel bread. It is so dense that it has to be cut into very thin slices so you can eat it.
What does pumpernickel bread taste like? Pumpernickel bread has a tangy taste due to the sourdough starters used when making it, but it could also be sweet like molasses. If there is caraway in the pumpernickel bread you are having, it will have that herbal feel that rye bread gives. But without caraway, it doesn’t have that.
Pumpernickel is dense and heavy, unlike the soft and fluffy rye bread. The American pumpernickel is nothing like the real deal and is just made to look like it. People that have been having the American pumpernickel bread might take the original pumpernickel for something else.
Nutritional Benefits of Pumpernickel Bread
All around the world, people are becoming concerned about their health and are taking measures to keep the body in tip-top shape, and the first is to watch what they eat.
So, if you have to eat pumpernickel, is it healthy? What good will it benefit your body? Questions like this can be easily answered because pumpernickel falls into the category of healthy food items.
Here’s one fact I bet you don’t know, the most healthy part of your bread is the crust. According to a German study, bread crusts may provide a better health benefit than the rest of the bread. Pumpernickel plays host to vitamins and antioxidants. The sourdough starters used in the preparation of the bread produce antioxidants when the bread is being baked.
Antioxidants reduce oxidative stress and protect cells in the body from radical damage. The same German study was carried out on pumpernickel and it found that the antioxidant pronyl-lysine in the crust was eight times more than the amount in the bread itself.
Pumpernickel has a low glycemic index. This means that it is low in carbohydrates and rich in fiber. Food items like this can help to regulate or reduce blood sugar levels. For people with diabetes, it would be a great addition to their diet. Pumpernickel’s high fiber content can be attributed to the percentage of rye in its make-up.
It also turns out that pumpernickel would make a perfect inclusion into a weight loss diet. A slice of white bread has a calorie count of 83 and contains carbohydrates that are well over 15 grams. A slice of pumpernickel bread contains less. You have 63 calories and just over 12 grams of carbohydrates.
The rich fiber content would also keep you satiated for a long while. These properties would mean that you can eat more than you eat normal bread and not have to worry about your waistline. Also being full for longer would mean that you will eat less. In a weight loss diet, all of these are vital.
Culinary Uses of Pumpernickel Bread
There are a lot of ways you can use bread. There are so many that you can probably write a small book about it. If you are inventive or adventurous enough, you will find much use for pumpernickel bread. The slices of pumpernickel bread can be too fragile to make sandwiches from instead, you can make open-faced sandwiches and enjoy them as you like. You can also cut them into fours and use them for hors d’oeuvres.
Pumpernickel pairs well with tangy cheese, aged cheese, caviar, smoked salmon, smoked meats, smoked fish, pickles, or capers. You can use pumpernickel bread in the place of crackers and with olives, dips, and crudites.
What is the History of Pumpernickel Bread? How to Procure It?
The word pumpernickel is drawn out of the Bavarian term for hard. This might be due to the amount of effort put into grinding the grain for the flour or the density of the bread itself.
There are also claims that the word pumpernickel has its origin in Germanic vernacular and translates into farting devil or devil’s fart. But the Bavarian derivation is very much acceptable. Farting devil has got nothing to do with bread.
Dictionaries like Merriam Webster and American Heritage however take the devil’s fart account as their etymology. They attribute it to the bread being so hard to digest. Oxford dictionary does better and marks the origin of the etymology to be uncertain.
Pumpernickel originates from the Westphalia region of Germany. The first reference to pumpernickel on paper was in the year 1450. The bread may have been around long before that. The traditional German pumpernickel doesn’t need coloring. It relies on the Mailliard reaction to give it that deep brown color.
Pumpernickel is sold in slices in small packs in stores and shops. However, getting your hands on the real pumpernickel, not an imitation, can be a chore.
Is Pumpernickel Bread Better for You?
The sourdough starter used in pumpernickel and the soluble fibers present in it are what make it better than bread made with wheat flour. With pumpernickel, you consume fewer calories and carbohydrates.
Facts You Didn’t Know About Pumpernickel Bread
- Pumpernickel bread has no artificial preservative so it is vulnerable to mold. Once you have a pack opened you should refrigerate it so it doesn’t go bad.
- Pumpernickel bagels sold in New York, United States are another imitation of the German pumpernickel bread.