Pumpernickel bread in America means something different to everyone. To me, it was my childhood bane-the bagel that was DEFINITELY NOT CHOCOLATE. To someone with more sophisticated taste, it is a dark dark rye bread with a slightly sweet taste. But to many Americans, it is the dark bread in a plastic bag with food coloring, and extra goodies like coffee, cocoa powder and molasses for palatability.
Originally from Germany, traditional pumpernickel is a 100% rye bread, and is baked for up to 24 hours in a steam oven at a very low temperature. This long bake gives the bread its characteristic coloring. The low gluten content of rye is responsible for the bread's density. The digestibility of the bread is questionable, hence the name, which translates to "devil's farts."