Pumpernickel Bread


Bake pumpernickel bread! It’s easy, it’s fun, and it’s a Grandmother Bread recipe–so you know it’s good.

Pumpernickel is a combination of rye and wheat, and, often, all-purpose flour (for a lighter pumpernickel), with coloring and flavoring including molasses, chocolate or cocoa, and sometimes even coffee. My Grandmother Bread pumpernickel includes molasses, cocoa, and enough all-purpose flour–but not too much–to keep it both light and sturdy. It’s a great dinner bread as well as perfect for sandwiches. Try it, you’ll like it.

You’re in your comfort zone here. Start with the standard one-loaf version of Grandmother Bread–1 1/2 cups of water, 1 teaspoon yeast, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. You’re going to use a bit less sugar (and you can use brown sugar instead of white, if you choose), then the pumpernickel add-ons, which are the molasses, cocoa, rye and wheat flours, and caraway seeds (optional).

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How to make Pumpernickel Bread:

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white or brown sugar
1/3 cup molasses
1/3 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon caraway seeds (optional)
3 tablespoons homemade dough enhancer (recommended)
1 cup rye flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups (approximately) all-purpose flour
cornmeal for dusting

In a large bowl, combine water, yeast, salt, sugar, and molasses.

Let rest five minutes, then add the cocoa.

Add the caraway seeds. (You can leave the caraways seeds out if you prefer, though you will lose a bit of the traditional pumpernickel flavor.)

Add three tablespoons homemade dough enhancer (or a store-bought dough enhancer). I highly recommend using dough enhancer for breads using whole grains. It makes a huge difference in the lightness and rise of the loaf.

I just made a new batch yesterday.

Stir in rye and wheat flours. You’ll need approximately 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour, but go easy! Add 1/2 cup at a time, using a strong spoon, until dough becomes too stiff to continue stirring easily. Add a little more flour and begin kneading. Continue adding all-purpose flour and kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic. (This IS a sturdy dough. It should be pliable but not sticky.) Let dough rise in a greased, covered bowl until doubled. (About an hour.)

Uncover bowl; sprinkle in a little more flour and knead again. With floured hands, shape into a loaf.

Pumpernickel is often traditionally shaped as a free form loaf, usually round with a slashed top. You can also bake it in a loaf pan, or even as rolls. Here, I’m going to be baking a free form pumpernickel loaf on a flat cast iron pan. (A baking sheet is also fine.)

I sprayed the pan with oil then dusted it liberally with cornmeal.

Use a knife to slash the top.

I’m making a sort of “tic-tac-toe” design on the top.

Often I don’t even give free form loaves a second rise, preferring to put them straight into the oven (with no preheating) to let them rise as the oven heats up then quickly bake. This helps many types of free form loaves retain shape. However, pumpernickel is a sturdy dough–sturdy enough to take a second rise in free form and also sturdy enough to need a second rise to prevent heaviness. Cover loaf and let rise 30-60 minutes.

Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 30-35 minutes.

You can also make Pumpernickel Raisin, which is a fabulous toasted breakfast bread!

To make Pumpernickel Raisin: Be sure to use brown sugar instead of white. Omit caraway seeds. Add 1 cup of raisins to the water/yeast mixture and follow remaining instructions in regular pumpernickel recipe.

See this recipe at Farm Bell Recipes and save it to your recipe box.

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  1. Robin G. says:

    That looks so good that I’m almost tempted — even though I don’t like pumpernickel.

  2. heidiannie says:

    Cocoa- that is very interesting! Did you add that by inspiration or is it traditionally an ingredient of pumpernickle bread? I have made a lot of dark rye breads but never any pumpernickel- and now the cocoa intrigues me. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  3. Suzanne McMinn says:

    heidiannie, I noticed when researching pumpernickel recipes that most recipes used coffee, cocoa (or melted semi-sweet chocolate), and molasses for the coloring and flavoring. This is along the lines of the Americanized-style of traditional German pumpernickel (which is way more complicated to make!). I went with the Americanized-style (which is what is often sold as Jewish pumpernickel, too, I think) in creating my recipe to suit Grandmother Bread. (And I thought melting the chocolate seemed a bit much if cocoa would work, and I think it does.)

  4. jayedee says:

    lovely lovely stuff! i can’t wait to try your recipe!

    btw, i have a spring seed giveaway going over at my blog-


    stop by and check it out, if you’d like!

  5. Donna says:

    Ohhhh, there’s my Coco!!!!! I missed that giant puppy!!!!!

    YUM, Pumpernickel bread…you are so talented Suzanne and creative and have so much energy!!!!! :mrgreen:

  6. catslady says:

    I want to eat at your house :mrgreen:

  7. Leah says:

    I have always liked pumernickle bread, but never really knew what it was made of. I want to make the Grandmother bread this wkend, will be my second time. I think practice makes perfect…for me anyway. :thumbsup:

  8. Debbie in Memphis says:

    The 2009 Bloggie nominations have started. Let’s all go to https://2009.bloggies.com to nominate Chickens in the Road. We love you, Suzanne!! and Coco, Sparticus and all the chickens, Nutmeg, Clover and Honey!!

  9. Susan says:

    The bread looks yummy!

    I think Coco is trying to learn how Clover gets you to give her cookies!

  10. Brandy says:

    I’m not a fan of pumpernickel, but I appreciate that you cover all the bases in bread making. Are you going to do biscotti sometime? *G*

  11. Kacey says:

    Must. Make. Dough. Enhancer. I’m so all over this recipe. It looks wonderful!

  12. Liz says:

    YUM~~~~~I have never had Raisin Pumpernickel.
    That sounds really delicious TOASTED!

    Liz in PA :heart:

  13. Pete says:

    This recipe really IS fantabulous!!! Just had my first piece, errr, two pieces if you count the heel as a piece. Straight out of the oven (what’s the point of making bread at home if you can’t dig into it right out of the oven?) and dripping with butter.
    Used home ground whole wheat flour, ground just before being included in the bread. Forgot to add salt (we rarely add salt to anything, and I ususally add salt well after proofing the yeast), but I cannot imagine it being a bit better with the salt!
    Next time we will try raisin pumpernickel. Yeah, that’s what we will do, after I lick the butter off my elbow…

  14. Debnfla3 says:

    I have this dough rising in a bowl as I type!
    David loves pumpernickel so won’t he be surprised to come home to TWO loaves of his favorite.
    I love making bread…so soothing to the soul.


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