Canapé Pumpernickel Bread: fancy that!

Does this remind you of a 1960s cocktail party, or what?

Do you remember being in your pajamas, peering through the banister at the top of the stairs down into your living room, at people smoking and drinking and eating weird fancy stuff your mom had made that afternoon and stashed in the fridge and warned you NOT to touch – or else?

And then the next morning, while Mom and Dad were still in bed, and the TV was showing its bulls-eye test pattern, do you recall sneaking into the living room, combining the contents of all the half-empty glasses, and taking a cautious sip… which you promptly spat out, spluttering and wondering HOW anyone could drink anything so horrible?

No? I do. And, while these parties never inspired in me a taste for alcohol, I did develop a certain fascination with finger food.

In fact I remember, at a VERY young age, carefully spreading Ritz crackers with Cheez Whiz, adding slices of stuffed olive, arranging everything on a tray, and proudly serving “canapés” to my puzzled family one night before supper.

Yes, I was bitten by the food bug long ago. Especially appetizers, a.k.a. canapés.

Check out what the 1962 edition of the The Joy of Cooking has to say on the subject:

“Hors d’oeuvres and canapés are appetizers served with drinks. The canapé sits on its own little couch of crouton or pastry tidbit, while the hors d’oeuvre is independent and ready to meet up with whatever bread or cracker is presented separately….

“The very name ‘hors d’oeuvre,’ literally interpreted, means ‘outside the main works…’ Allow about 6 or 8 hors d’oeuvres per person. Serve imaginative combinations, but remember that, unlike in the overture to an opera, it is unwise to forecast in this course any of the joys that are to follow in the meal.”

Well, we don’t write cookbooks like Irma did, that’s for sure. I just happened to have a 1964 edition of Joy, and the above-quoted intro to the hors d’oeuvre chapter was nearly identical – right down to the cautionary note about the opera.

Anyway, shaped bread – “canapé bread” – was a staple back then. And though these days it may have fallen from favor, fashion-wise, this thin-sliced bread, often rye or pumpernickel, still makes a tasty “little couch” for spreads and toppings of all kinds.

Let’s make Canapé Pumpernickel Bread.

Looking for that deep-dark cocoa color that typically shouts pumpernickel bread? Well, you surely won’t get it with rye flour alone. And you won’t get it with brewed coffee. And you’d have to use WAAAY too much espresso powder to achieve it.

And how about cocoa powder? Again, you’d have to use so much the texture/flavor of the bread would start to change.

The professional baker’s solution?

Dry caramel color, caramelized corn syrup that’s dried and ground to a fine powder. Just a couple of tablespoons yields DARK pumpernickel color.

Here’s another ingredient in this recipe, one you might be unfamiliar with: rye chops, pictured at left, above.

And what, pray tell, are rye chops? The rye equivalent of cracked wheat (pictured next to the chops). Both are simply grain berries that have been coarsely chopped – or cracked.

Here’s our final key ingredient: pumpernickel flour, the rye equivalent of whole wheat flour.

So, have you got all that straight?

Let’s take our caramel color, chops, pumpernickel, and some other tasty ingredients and make bread.

Place the following in a mixing bowl:

1 1/2 cups (5 5/8 ounces) pumpernickel flour
1 1/2 cups(6 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup (4 ounces) King Arthur 100% White Whole Wheat Flour or Premium Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 cup (2 1/4 ounces) rye chops or cracked wheat
2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten, optional — for stronger rise
1 1/2 teaspoons Deli Rye Flavor, optional — for flavor
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons caramel color, optional — for color
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds, optional

Add 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water.

Mix until the dough comes together…

Then knead, using the dough hook, until the dough is fairly smooth – about 7 minutes.

It’ll still be pretty sticky; that’s the nature of rye.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl or 8-cup measure, cover, and let it rise until it’s almost doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Let’s see, we’ve gone from 3 1/2 cups to nearly 7 cups – I’d say that’s just about doubled.

This dough rises surprisingly well for rye dough – the vital wheat gluten helps.

Divide the dough into three pieces; a scale helps. 936 divided by 3 =…

…310? Close enough.

Shape each piece into a rough log.

To make shaped canapé loaves, we’re going to use canapé bread tubes, 9″ long capped tubes that shape dough as it rises and bakes.

Shape the dough into 8″ logs; this leaves about 1/2″ at each end for expansion.

Place the logs in the lightly greased tubes. Attach the caps to the ends.

No tubes? Just shape 8″ logs and place in a lightly greased 9″ x 13″ pan, or onto a baking sheet.

Speaking of 9″ x 13″ pans, that’s the perfect size to hold the tubes; the pan keeps them from rolling around.

While the loaves are rising, preheat the oven to 375°F.

Let the loaves rise until they’ve filled the tubes 3/4 full, about 30 minutes. You’ll have to remove the caps to check; the bread should have expanded to the ends of the tubes. Remember to replace the caps before baking.

Bake the bread for 35 to 40 minutes.

If you’re baking loaves without the tubes, bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

When you look inside the tubes, the bread’s crust will be an even deeper brown than before it was baked; and its internal temperature will register at least 190°F.

Looks like these are done.

Carefully slip off the end caps, turn the bread out, and cool on a rack.

Now, is that the color you were looking for, or what?

Nice shapes, too.

Definitely an hors (d’oeuvre) of a different color.

Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for Canapé Pumpernickel Bread.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!


    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Jeanne, pumpernickel bread is the whole wheat version of rye, so yes go ahead! The flavors will be similar but more pronounced. Happy snacking! Kye@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Cracked Rye is more like steel cut oats. They are very hard and need a hot soak to hydrate. And rye chops are finer but still coarse but easier to hydrate (similar to a very coarse pumpernickel). You could try Bob’s Red Mill. Good luck! Elisabeth@KAF

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