Pumpernickel Bread

Easy pumpernickel bread

The Spruce

Prep: 18 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Proofing Time: 2 hrs 30 mins
Total: 3 hrs 23 mins
Servings: 16 servings
Yields: 2 small loaves
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
108 Calories
4g Fat
18g Carbs
2g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 108
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 5%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 814mg 35%
Total Carbohydrate 18g 6%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Protein 2g
Calcium 57mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Pumpernickel bread is easy to make you'll save money if you make it at home. What’s more, home-baked bread tastes better and is healthier for you. There are no preservatives or additional ingredients—you'll know exactly what went into your homemade pumpernickel bread. This version is an uncomplicated combination of rye and bread flours, along with molasses for extra color and sweetness.

Pumpernickel bread makes wonderful sandwiches, and stands up well to stronger ingredients such as aged cheeses, onion, mustard, and sauerkraut. The bread is also an excellent choice to serve with soup, beans, and chili.

This recipe makes two small, round loaves of pumpernickel bread. You can also use this recipe to make braided rolls.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups water (warm)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 2 tablespoons caraway seed
  • 2 3/4 cups rye flour
  • 3 cups bread flour (approximately)​
  • Optional: cornmeal for baking sheet

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Pumpernickel Bread recipe ingredients
    ​The Spruce 
  2. In a large bowl, add the warm water and yeast. Stir the mixture until the yeast is dissolved.

    Water and yeast in a bowl
     The Spruce
  3. Stir in the molasses, salt, shortening, caraway seed, and rye flour.

    Molasses, salt, shortening, caraway seed, and rye flour mixed in a bowl
     The Spruce
  4. Mix in 2 cups of bread flour. Slowly add the remaining bread flour until you have a dough that can be kneaded. You may or may not use the full amount of bread flour that is called for, depending on your ingredients and the weather.

    Pumpernickel Bread dough in a bowl
     The Spruce
  5. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead for about 5 minutes. If the dough is too sticky, knead in more bread flour, a tablespoon at a time.

    Pumpernickel Bread dough in a loaf
     The Spruce
  6. Place the dough in a greased bowl. Flip the dough over so the top is also lightly greased.

    Pumpernickel Bread dough in a bowl
     The Spruce
  7. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place for about an hour or until it has doubled in size.

    Pumpernickel Bread dough rising in a bowl
     The Spruce
  8. Punch down the dough.

    Pumpernickel Bread dough in a bowl punched down
     The Spruce
  9. Cover it again and let it rise for another 45 minutes.

    Pumpernickel Bread dough rising in a bowl
     The Spruce
  10. Punch down the dough a second time. Turn out onto a lightly floured board or surface and knead the dough briefly.

    Kneaded pumpernickel bread dough loaf
     The Spruce
  11. Grease a baking sheet. Sprinkle the sheet with cornmeal (optional).

  12. Cut the dough in half. Shape each half into a small, round loaf. Place both round loaves on the baking sheet.

    2 pumpernickel bread dough loafs
     The Spruce
  13. Cover and let the dough rise for about 45 minutes or until doubled in size.

    Pumpernickel Bread dough loafs rising
     The Spruce
  14. Bake loaves at 375 F for 35 minutes or until the bread sounds hollow when tapped on.

    Pumpernickel Bread loafs on a baking sheet
     The Spruce
  15. Remove the loaves from the oven and let them cool on a rack.

  16. Once cooled, store your loaves in a plastic bag to keep the bread soft.

  17. The loaves can be wrapped in plastic and frozen.

  18. When ready to serve, you can toast the bread lightly and pair with butter or jam for breakfast, or as a side with your dinner.

    Pumpernickel Bread loaf and slices
     The Spruce
  19. Enjoy!

How to Store and Freeze

  • Hard, crusty loaves, once sliced, should be stored in paper bags. Soft-crust loaves should be stored at room temperature in airtight plastic storage bags or a plastic wrap and foil wrapping. The refrigerator causes bread to dry out more quickly and is not recommended unless the weather is warm and humid. Homemade bread will last for 2 to 3 days when stored in a cool, dry place.
  • To store bread in the freezer, slice it and then wrap it in plastic wrap or foil. Place the wrapped bread in a zip-close storage bag and freeze. Use frozen bread within 6 to 8 weeks for best flavor and quality.

Is My Yeast Active?

If you aren't sure if your yeast is fresh, it's easy to test. Put about 1/2 cup of warm water—around 100 F—into a 1-cup or 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Add 2 1/4 teaspoons of room temperature yeast (either instant or active dry) and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Stir for a few seconds and then let it stand for 10 minutes. It should begin to foam and form bubbles. If no bubbles form, the yeast may be dead. If you don't use yeast frequently or buy it in bulk, store it in the freezer.

Why is Bread Scored?

Scoring helps to prevent the bread from expanding unevenly or bursting out in spots as the loaf bakes. Score loaves with a very sharp knife just before they go into the oven. Make several shallow cuts evenly across the loaf or in a criss-cross pattern.

Tips

  • Keep yeast stored in an airtight container and in the refrigerator. Heat, moisture, and air kills the yeast and prevents bread dough from rising.
  • Use bottled water instead of tap water to make your breads. The yeast can be killed by too much chlorine as may be found in some tap water, which will keep your dough from rising. You can also boil and cool tap water to eliminate most of the chlorine.
  • To prevent the molasses from sticking to your measuring spoon, coat the spoon in a tiny amount of cooking oil.