The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pumpernickel recipe

HappyHighwayman's picture

Pumpernickel recipe

Anyone have a good pumpernickle recipe for me? Sourdough starter based or otherwise?


Antilope's picture

Mary Moore's Pumpernickel Bread

Mary Moore was a Canadian newspaper food editor who's column appeared in Canadian newspapers for 50 years, from 1928 through 1978. She was born in 1903 and died shortly after her cookbook, "The Mary Moore Cookbook", was printed in 1978. It's a rare book and used copies sell for $ 75 to $ 100.

Makes 3 loaves

2 packages granular yeast (or 4 1/2 teaspoons)
1 cup lukewarm water
2 teaspoons sugar
3 1/4 cups lukewarm water (second amount)
2 squares (2 oz) unsweetened chocolate
1/4 cup molasses
1 Tablespoon margarine
2 cups unseasoned hot mashed potatoes (about 4 potatoes - see below)
3/4 cup corn meal
2 Tablespoons salt
2 Tablespoons caraway seeds (optional)
3 cups unsifted rye flour (usually dark)
1 cup whole bran cereal or all bran
about 9 3/4 cups unsifted white flour - all-purpose

Scrub and trim blemishes from four medium-sized potatoes; boil covered, immersed in water until tender. Drain, peel and mash until there are no lumps. Measure two cups.

In a very large mixing bowl or clean dishpan, soak the yeast and sugar in the one cup lukewarm water for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile heat together, in large pan until lukewarm, the 3 1/4 cups lukewarm water, chocolate, molasses and margarine.

Remove from heat and mix in mashed potatoes, corn meal, salt and caraway seeds. Mix well and stir into risen yeast liquid.

Add rye flour and bran and beat for 5-minutes.

Add three cups white flour and beat until you have a soft dough -- at least 5 minutes. Now add four more cups white flour, mixing in well, scrape down sides of bowl, cover and let rise at least one hour.

Sprinkle kneading board with one cup of the leftover flour. Turn dough out on it.
Sprinkle top with 1/2 cup of remaining flour and begin kneading surplus flour into dough until it is not sticky.

Flour your hands with the remaining measured flour, liberally, to make kneading possible. As soon as it will hold its shape (you will need all of this flour) and is uniformly kneaded, shape into roll, cut into three pieces.

Shape them into small footballs and place in buttered standard loaf pans.
Pyrex loaf pans will give a lovely outside crust.

Let rise one hour or until risen one-inch above rims of pans.

Bake at 350 degrees F (approximate 55 to 60 minutes or until when rapped with knuckles, it sounds hollow). Do not underbake rye bread. Switch and turn pans in oven at halftime.

Carefully turn out on racks to cool -- but while loaf is still warm, slice off a crust, butter and eat it on the spot.

Note: If desired glaze top by brushing with slightly beaten egg white, while warm.

Source: Mary Moore cooking column Leader-Post newspaper, Jan 14, 1970.

ananda's picture


It depends what "Pumpernickel" you are looking, but the one I make is sourdough and uses only grain, flakes, flour and "altus".   It has a small amount of Molasses, but none of the other  colouring additives used in other recipe variations.   The recipe assumes you maintain a rye sour culture which is hydrated at 167%; you can adapt the formula if you maintain a similar culture at different hydration.   My apologies, there are 2 tables pasted in below; the second one is pretty clear.   However, because the lines are not shown, the top table for the rye refreshment schedule is less than clear.   You should refresh the rye sour twice before using, and aim for 18 hours fermentation between each refreshment, and before final use.

Black Pumpernickel Bread [Germany]

Rye Sour Refreshment:



Sour [g]

Dark Rye [g]

Water [g]


Temp °C


















Formula [% of “flour”]

Recipe [grams]

1a. Rye Sour Dough



Dark Rye Flour












1b. “Altus”



Old Rye Bread



Hot Water



Blackstrap Molasses









1c. Soaked, Cooked Rye Berries



Whole Rye Berries












2. “Sponge”



Rye Sourdough [from 1a]



“Altus” [from 1b]



Soaked, Cooked Rye Berries









3. Final Paste



Sponge [from 2]






Rye Flakes



Light Rye









% pre-fermented flour



% overall hydration



% wholegrain

75 [+ 25]

[Light Rye 997]






  • Build the sour according to the schedule.   For the “altus”, dissolve the molasses in the hot water, then soak the bread in the liquor overnight.   Soak the whole rye grain overnight in cold water.   Wash the grain through, then simmer for 45 minutes.   The cooked grain should have no residual liquid, and it should double in weight from original weighing.
  • To make the “sponge”, combine sourdough, altus and cooked grains and store, covered, for 4 hours at 35°C.
  • To make the final paste, add salt, light rye flour and chopped rye grains to the sponge.
  • Bulk ferment at 32 - 35°C for 1 hour.
  • Scale and divide into large Pullman Pans and attach lids.
  • Final proof for 1 hour at 35°C, then bake.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 280°C.   Load the pan, apply steam, and turn the oven down to 110°C.   Keep a supply of steam in the oven and bake for a total of 4½ - 6 hours.
  • Cool on wires; wrap in linen and leave 24 hours before cutting into the bread


Best wishes


Elagins's picture

Have a look at this one:

You can also find links to other rye recipes at

Stan Ginsberg

dabrownman's picture

old German Pumpernickel.

Oddly, the name "pumpernickel" comes from Pumpen is the Anglo Saxon word for flatulence, and Nickel refers to Satan. So the translation is Satan’s Farts


Makes 2, heavy loaves

Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 16 hours

Total Time: 17 hours, 30 minutes


  • Sourdough Starter
  • 2 5/8 c. whole rye flour (270 g.)
  • 1 1/4 c. water (270 g.)
  • 1 T. refreshed sourdough culture
  • Rye Soaker
  • 1 c. rye berries (180 g.)
  • Water to cover
  • Old Bread "Altus" Soaker
  • 3 3/4 c. old bread (180 g.)
  • Hot water to cover
  • Final Dough
  • All of the Sourdough Starter
  • All of the prepared and drained rye berries
  • All of the soaked and squeezed old bread
  • 1 3/4 c. bread flour (224 g.)
  • 1 3/4 c. cracked rye (224 g.)
  • 1 T. salt (17 g.)
  • 2 tsp. instant yeast (6 g.)
  • 1 1/2 T. dark molasses (36 g.)
  • Water or flour as needed for adjustments


Prepare Sourdough Starter and Rye Berry Soaker the Day Before

If you have not refreshed the starter in the refrigerator for awhile, do so two days before you plan on baking. A rye sour is best

Set up your sourdough starter by mixing the whole rye flour, water and a spoonful of starter in a bowl until all the flour is moistened. Cover the batter tightly so it cannot dry out and leave it at room temperature for16 to 18 hours. This sourdough should develop some sour smell.

Place rye berries in a pan, cover with two inches of water and leave at room temperature overnight. The next day, bring the contents of the pan to a boil and simmer until berries are soft, 30 minutes to 1 hour. Drain well.

Baking Day for Pumpernickel

Cook the rye berries (add water as necessary) on the stovetop until soft. Drain and set aside.

Pour boiling water over the old bread, including crusts and leave for several minutes or longer. If it is soft bread, it will fall apart quickly, if it is old pumpernickel, it may take longer to soften.

Squeeze the water out of the bread (it will resemble bread pudding or clay) and set aside.

Place all the ingredients for the Final Dough in a large mixing bowl and mix on the lowest speed with a dough hook for 10 minutes. If you cannot find cracked rye, you can chop whole rye in an old coffee mill or grain mill. The coffee mill does an OK job.

Add water or flour as needed to create a dough ball that is only slightly sticky. The amount will vary, depending on how much water was in the soaked bread and berries.

Knead on the counter for a couple of minutes to make final adjustments. Form into a ball and let it rest in a warm spot for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F, preferably with a baking stone or other form of heat retention.

Oil and flour 2 or more bread pans or Pullman pans (with a lid, also "pain de mie").

Divide as needed to fit your bread forms. Form the dough into loaves and place in the pans. Dust with flour Cover and let rise for 30 minutes in a warm spot.

Cover the loaf pans with oiled aluminum foil, wrapping tightly.

You want to bake this with an oven with falling temperature over many hours. Baking schedule was as follows:

  1. Place the pans in the oven and bake at 350°F for 1 hour.
  2. Turn oven down to 325°Fand bake for 30 minutes.
  3. Turn oven down to 300°F and bake for 1 hour.
  4. Turn oven down to 275°F and bake for 2 hours.
  5. Turn oven down to 260°F and bake for 2 hours.
  6. Turn oven down to 225°F and bake for 1 1/2 hours.
  7. Turn oven down to 200°F and bake for 1 1/2 hours.
  8. Turn oven off at 11 pm and leave pans in oven until morning (oven was still warm).

Bread was in the oven a total of 17 hours.

Leave for 24 hours wrapped in cotton or linen before slicing. OK, leave at least one of the loaves uncut as an experiment.