Food & Drink

So, Pumpernickel Bread Was Named After A Farting Devil

This is not a joke.

You've probably eaten pumpernickel bread many times before, but do you have any idea what it actually is? It's dark and hearty, and kind of tastes like rye bread, but beyond that, do you know anything about pumpernickel? Always up for posing those somewhat embarrassing questions that you don't really want to ask out loud -- like what the hell are capers and where does vanilla really come from? -- we've decided to investigate this common bread.

Pumpernickel is a type of rye bread that is originally from Germany. The origin of the word is pretty entertaining: It's a German word that comes from pumpern, which means to to break wind and Nickel, a take on the name Nicholas, which is associated with goblins or devilish characters. The word comes from the bread's "reputed indigestibility." So, the bread can be translated as the devil's fart, or something like that.

Now that we've got that covered, let's investigate how this devil's fart bread is actually made. Pumpernickel is made with pumpernickel flour, which is made from whole rye berries that have been coarsely ground.

According to The Kitchn, pumpernickel differs from regular rye bread because while the former is made from the whole rye berry, the latter is made from the endosperm of the rye berry. Light rye is made with the "white rye flour ground from the center endosperm of the rye berry." Dark rye might be made the same way and then dyed to darker colors with the addition of the same ingredients that make American-style pumpernickel dark. It might also be made with more of "the outer endosperm, which contains more of the coloring pigments from the rye berry."

The German style of pumpernickel combines a sourdough starter and sometimes yeast with the flour. The dough then cooks in loaf tins at a low temperature for up to 24 hours. The long cooking time browns the bread significantly, bestowing it with its iconically dark color. The American style often forgoes the sourdough starter and the long cooking time. It achieves its dark color with the addition of ingredients like coffee, molasses or chocolate.

Whether you're getting the authentic German style or the American version, next time you're eating pumpernickel, you can remind your friends that you're eating something that was named after a farting devil.

Want to read more from HuffPost Taste? Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr.

1
Whole Wheat Graham Cracker Banana Bread
Half Baked Harvest
Get the Whole Wheat Graham Cracker Banana Bread recipe from Half Baked Harvest
2
Millet Muffins
Alexandra Cooks
Get the Millet Muffins recipe from Alexandra Cooks
3
Whole Wheat Coconut Banana Bread With Coconut Streusel
How Sweet It Is
4
Blueberry Oatmeal Bread
Foodie Crush
Get the Blueberry Oatmeal Bread recipe from Foodie Crush
5
Nutella Stuffed Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Banana And Zucchini Muffins
Half Baked Harvest
6
Quinoa And Oat Cranberry Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Eating Bird Food
7
Whole Grain Dinner Muffins
Texanerin
Get the Whole Grain Dinner Muffins recipe from Texanerin
8
Whole Wheat Maple Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread
Eating Bird Food
9
Quick Spelt Buttermilk Bread
The Healthy Foodie
Get the Quick Spelt Buttermilk Bread recipe from The Healthy Foodie
10
Sweet Potato, Quinoa And Dark Chocolate Coconut Crumble Crunch Muffins
Half Baked Harvest
11
Apple And Cheddar Buckwheat Breads
The Healthy Foodie
Get the Apple and Cheddar Buckwheat Breads recipe from The Healthy Foodie
12
Whole Wheat Oat Date And Walnut Bread
The Healthy Foodie
Get the Whole Wheat Oat Date And Walnut Bread recipe from The Healthy Foodie