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Pumpernickel Bread Recipe


Pumpernickel Bread

Pumpernickel Bread

Recipe and Photo: Diana Rattray


This is a hearty, great tasting pumpernickel bread with a wonderful chewy crust. This recipe will make a little more than 4 pounds of dough, enough for two standard loaves or free form boule loaves. Or, make one loaf and several sandwich rolls.

Prep Time: 35 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Fermentation/Proofing: 6 hours, 30 minutes

Total Time: 7 hours, 35 minutes

Yield: Makes 4 1/4 Pounds of Dough


  • First Fermentation
  • 4 1/2 cups bread flour,  20 ounces
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons water, room temperature (70 ° F to 75° F), 13 ounces
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon bread flour
  • Dough
  • 1 1/2 cups water, room temperature (70 ° F to 75° F), 12 ounces
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 3 cups bread flour,  13 1/2 ounces, plus more, as needed, for kneading 
  • 1/2 cup dark rye flour, 2 ounces
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 2 1/4 ounces
  • 1/3 cup cornmeal, 1 1/2 ounces
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, not alkalinized (such as Hershey's)
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • egg wash with whole egg or egg white and 2 teaspoons of water, optional


 In a large mixing bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer (with dough hook), combine 4 1/2 cups of bread flour, 2 teaspoons of instant yeast, 13 ounces of water, and 2 teaspoons of salt. Mix by hand or with stand mixer and dough hook until a dough is formed. Knead by hand or with the dough hook, adding more flour if needed, until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.  Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of flour over the dough and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let stand to ferment for 4 hours. If not making bread right away, refrigerate for up to 2 days.

To the first dough add the remaining ingredients: 1 1/2 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of molasses, 3  cups bread flour, 1/2 cup dark rye flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 1/3 cup cornmeal, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast, and 2 teaspoons of salt. Slowly blend with the first fermentation until dough is formed. Knead by heavy duty stand mixer with dough hook or by hand until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Add more flour, as needed, to keep the dough from sticking to hands and surfaces.

Oil a large bowl with vegetable  oil.

With floured hands, gather the dough  and fold over a few more times. Form a nice smooth ball. Put the dough ball in the oiled bowl. Turn to grease all sides of the dough ball. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the dough has doubled.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and punch down. You'll have a little more than 4 pounds of dough, enough for 2 standard size loaves. Shape into free form loaves or rolls or shape to fit loaf pans.

Cover the pan(s) loosely with a lightweight kitchen tea towel. Let rise for about 45 minutes to an hour. Or, cover and refrigerate overnight. I like to do this for the great bubbly crust it seems to produce. 

Heat the oven to 425° F. Score the loaves (use a baker's lame or other similar razor blade tool), taking care not to deflate the bread.  If desired, brush lightly with an egg wash (1 egg or egg white whisked with a few teaspoons of water). An egg wash will give you a shiny crust.

When you first put the bread in to bake, mist the oven floor with a little water to create some steam. Do this several times over the first few minutes of baking time. Bake the bread for 25 to 35 minutes, or until it registers 185° F to 190° F on an instant read thermometer inserted (through the side) into the center of a loaf. For buns or rolls check around 20 minutes. The tops of loaves will be a warm golden brown. 

Another way to test for doneness is to rap on the bottom of a loaf. It should sound hollow when done.

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