Quick and Easy Eastern European Pumpernickel Bread





  • Combine the hot tap water and the cold coffee. Check temperature of water. Should be lukewarm. Whisk together the yeast, salt, caraway seeds, molasses and cocoa powder along with the water in a 5-quart bowl or a lidded (not airtight) food storage container.
  • Combine the liquid ingredients with the dry ingredients without kneading, using a spoon, Danish dough whisk, a 14-cup food processor with dough attachment or a heavy duty stand mixer with paddle.You may need to use your hands to combine the last of the dry with the wet if not using a machine.
  • Cover (not airtight) and allow the dough to rest at room temperature until it rises and collapses, approximately 2 hours.
  • Refrigerate it for at least 2 hours before using. The dough can be stored and used over the next 8 days, or store the dough in the freezer for up to two weeks in an airtight container. Freeze it in 1 lb portions. When using frozen dough, thaw it in the refrigerator for 24 hours before use, then allow the usual rest/rise times.
  • On baking day, cut off a 1-pound (grapefruit-size) piece of dough. Using wet hands (don't use flour), quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter turn as you go. Then form an oval shaped loaf. Allow to rest and rise on a cornmeal covered pizza peel for 40 minutes.
  • Twenty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, with a rack in the middle of the oven where your baking stone should sit. Place an empty metal broiler pan on a lower shelf.
  • Using a pastry brush, paint the entire loaf with the cornstarch wash and sprinkle with caraway seeds, if desired. Slash the loaf with deep parallel cuts using a serrated bread knife.
  • Slide the bread directly onto the hot stone. Pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the broiler pan and quickly close the oven door. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until firm. Allow to cool before slicing.