Homemade Pumpernickel Bread

Homemade pumpernickel bread

The Spruce / Teena Agnel

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Total: 65 mins
Servings: 32 servings
Yield: 2 loaves
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
141 Calories
1g Fat
28g Carbs
5g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 32
Amount per serving
Calories 141
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 6mg 2%
Sodium 269mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 28g 10%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 11mg 1%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 80mg 2%
*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.)

This delicious pumpernickel bread is hearty and crusty, and it's a recipe you'll use again and again. The bread is prepared in two steps, and that's what gives it such great flavor. Though it takes extra rising time, it takes no more hands-on time than a typical yeast bread. This bread is guaranteed to get rave reviews from your family.

The recipe will make a little more than 4 pounds of dough, enough for two large standard loaves or free-form boule loaves. Or, make one loaf and several sandwich rolls.


For the Starter:

  • 4 1/2 cups (20 ounces) plus 1 tablespoon bread flour, divided

  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast

  • 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (13 ounces) room temperature water (70 F to 75 F)

  • 2 teaspoons salt

For the Remaining Dough:

  • 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) water, at room temperature, 70 F to 75 F)

  • 2 tablespoons molasses

  • 3 cups (13 1/2 ounces) bread flour, plus more as needed

  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) dark rye flour

  • 1/2 cup (2 1/4 ounces) whole-wheat flour

  • 1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) cornmeal

  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (nonalkalinized, such as Hershey's)

  • 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 large egg, or egg white

  • 1 to 2 teaspoons water

Steps to Make It

Make the Starter

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for starter
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  2. In a large mixing bowl or 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.

    Add dry ingredients to a mixer
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  3. Knead by hand or with the dough hook, adding more flour if needed, until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. 

    Knead by hand
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  4. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of flour over the dough and cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

    Cover dough
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  5. Let stand to ferment for 4 hours. If not making bread right away, refrigerate for up to two days.

    Let stand
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel

Make the Pumpernickel Bread

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for pumpernickel bread
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  2. To the starter dough, add the remaining ingredients except the egg and 1 to 2 teaspoons of water. Slowly blend until dough is formed.

    Ingredients in bowl
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  3. 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.

    Knead with mixer
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  4. Oil a large bowl with vegetable oil.

    Oil a bowl
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  5. With floured hands, gather the dough and fold over a few more times.

    Gather dough
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  6. Form a nice smooth ball and put the dough ball in the oiled bowl. Turn to grease all sides of the dough ball.

    Form a ball
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  7. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the dough has doubled.

    Cover bowl
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  8. 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 two standard size loaves.

    Turn dough out
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  9. Shape into free-form loaves or rolls or shape to fit loaf pans.

    Shape into loaves
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  10. Cover the pan(s) loosely with a lightweight kitchen tea towel. Let the dough rise for about 45 minutes to an hour. Or, cover and refrigerate overnight. We like to do this for the beautiful bubbly crust it produces. 

    Cover the pans
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  11. When ready to bake, heat the oven to 425 F.

    Bake bread
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  12. Score the loaves (use a baker's lame or other similar razor blade tool), taking care not to deflate the bread. 

    Score the loaves
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  13. If desired, brush lightly with egg wash (1 egg or egg white whisked with a few teaspoons of water). An egg wash will give you a shiny crust.

    Brush lightly with egg wash
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  14. When you first put the bread in the oven 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.

  15. 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. 

    Bake bread
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  16. Another way to test for doneness is to rap on the bottom of a loaf. It should sound hollow when the bread is done.

    Homemade pumpernickel
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel