The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Pumpernickel Bread

Tristan91107's picture

Pumpernickel Bread

Hi Everyone,

I'm new to the site.  Whenever I use the search function here, it bounces me out of the website, either to my cable company or to an Asian website (looks like Chinese to me.). Therefore, I haven't been able to find threads about pumpernickel bread.

A friend asked me to bake him a loaf of pumpernickel.  I've searched the web and the recipes are all over the place.  From taking 12 - 14 hours to bake, to getting it done in an afternoon.  From including mashed potatoes and sprouted rye to coffee and chocolate.  

Pumpernickel is supposed to be Schwarzbrot.  But my German recipes are far afield from the American ones.  He told me he wants something more on the molasses side and less on the rye side.  

Here's where I'd like feedback:

1. I'd like to use a combination of starter and yeast.  Any recommendations for ratios given the flour mixture of rye, bread and APF?

2. I'd like to have the dough under go two ferment cycles, then shape and retard it in the refrigerator for overnight.  Does this make sense given this type of bread?  I generally find this improves flavor.

3. Some recipes bake en cloche and others in a bread form.  I'd like to try en cloche again, but my last and first time was a disaster.  I am using a round cast iron dutch oven with a tight fitting lid.  All recipes have you heat both the lid and pot in a hot oven, then transfer the proofed loaf over to the hot lid, cover it and off you go.  Has anyone experimented with proofing it on the lid and then placing that in the oven with the hot "bell?"  That would eliminate the danger of a disasterous transfer.

Thanks for reading.  I look forward to comments.



idaveindy's picture

Welcome to TFL.


Try this:

  • sign out of TFL.
  • clear your browser cache and cookies.
  • fully exit/close your browser.
  • Restart your browser.
  • Search again.


Another way.  Try this:

Or go to whatever search engine you like and put in these terms: pumpernickel molasses


There's been a lot of good rye bakes here on TFL over the past 2 years.


Two inexpensive rye bread ebook/Kindle cookbooks:

Greenstein, $4.99:

Ginsberg: $2.99:
Be sure to get the errata sheet at:

(Those amazon links are coded to give the TFL webmaster a few pennies commission.)


In addition to TFL, a good website with free rye formulas is Stan Ginsberg's own:


More free rye recipes at Ginsberg's commercial site:

Tristan91107's picture

Thank you.  I'll check out these resources, all of them are new to me, too.

bigcrusty's picture



Hammelman's Horst Bandel Dark German Pumpernickel is the best pumpernickel I've ever tasted and here is the recipe.

This bread must be baked in pans.  If you cover with foil until you shut the oven off.  It will remain nice and moist.  When I don't my wife complains its too crusty.

Happy Baking!


Big Crusty


Horst Bandel's Black Pumpernickel  
Hammelman p 222Ounces1X             GMS2x          3x       GMS4x        gms
Rye Meal9.62725458171090
Mature Sourdough Culture0.514284357
Rye Berry Soaker     
Rye Berries6.4182363545726
Wateras needed    
Old-Bread Soaker     
Old Bread6.4182363545726
Wateras needed    
Final Dough     
High Gluten Flour8227454681908
Rye Chops 8227454681908
Water 12.836372610901453
Rye Berry Soaker (not including absorbed water)6.4182363545726
Old Bread Soaker (not including absorbed water)6.4182363545726
Total 62.91785.13570.15355.27140.3
Prepare the sourdough and ripen it for 14 - 16 hours at 70 F.  Substitute whole rye flour or pupernickel if rye meal is unavailable.
Soak whole rye berries overnight.  The next day, boil them in about 3 times their volume fo water until they are soft and pliable, about an hour or so.  Once the berries are soft and pliable, strain them and set aside.  Discard any remaining cooking liquid.
Using either a protion of the previous pumpernickel bake, or some other type of leftover bread (preferably a strong dark bread) soak the bread, crusts and all, in hot water and let stand for at least 4 hours.  Squeeze out as much moisture as possible and reserve the water for use as needed in the final dough.  For deeper flavor in the final bread, slice the old bread, lay it on sheet pans, bake again until dry and dark and use in the old bread soaker
Mixing - Add all the ingedients to the bowl, including the sourdough and both of the soakers. But do not add any of the final dough water reserved from squeezing the liquid from the old bread soaker.  The rye berries and old bread soaker absorb varying amounts of water during their cooking and soaking, so wait until the dough comes together before adding the additional liquid.  It is quite possible that no additional dough water will be required.  The dough should we of medium consistency but not wet, and it will be slightly sticky.  Add high-gluten flour as needed if the mix is on the wet side.  Mix on first speed only, for 10 minutes.  Desired dough temperature - 82 - 84F 
Bulk Fermentation - 30 minutes
Dividing and Shaping - Divide the dough into pieces and place in pullman pans that have been lightly oiled and then coated with rye meal or whole rye flour.  This prvents the bread from sticking to the pan during the long bake.  Slide the lids onto the tops of the pans.
Final Fermentation 50 - 60 minutes at 82 F
Baking When the dough is risen 3/4 inch from the top of the pan, it is sufficiently risen. Since the bread bakes for 12 -16 hours, it is of vital importance that the oven temperature gradully recedes throughout the  bake.  The speed at which it recedes wil partially determine the length of the bake.  In any event the bread should be loaded into an oven that is in the 350 - 375 F range. Wet the top before loadiing into oven Ideally it will stay in that range for upwards of an hour, then egin to decrease.  I hte home oven try lowering the oven temperature to 275 F after an hour, and then turning the overn off 2 or 3 hours later.
Since there are som many variations in oven design experimentation may be nexessary until you find the baking method most suitable for your oven.  You will know when your bread is baked.  The aroma will fill the entire room.  Due to the lenghty bake, a great amount of natural sugars in the dough will have caramelized, and thise will contribute greatly, not only to the aroma, but also to the deep, almost black, color of the baked bread.  Remove the bread from the pans and let it cool completely.  Resist any temptation to slice it; it should rest for a minimum of 24 hours, wrapped in baker's linen, before cutting.
Tristan91107's picture

Wow, thanks for this.  It will take me a while to digest it all.  Appreciate the quick reply.



alcophile's picture


Welcome to the site!

I second @idaveindy's recommendation of Stanley Ginsberg's recipes. I have Inside the Jewish Bakery and also his The Rye Baker:

You will find several Schwarzbrot/pumpernickel recipes in this book. Many of the more "authentic" German recipes may not contain much molasses, though.

Another recipe that I like is the Russian Black Bread on King Arthur Baking's website:

The bread is really good with the fennel seed, but caraway seed (or none) would work, too. I used Dutch process cocoa as a substitute for the black cocoa; whole rye also works in the recipe in place of the medium rye. I have also tried it with more rye and some whole wheat (40% rye of total flour and 14% whole wheat).

Tristan91107's picture

These sound like great suggestions.  Personally, I'd like a loaf without molasses, but my friend's request is giving me a good challenge to find the optimal "American" style Schwarzbrot.  After getting this down, I'd like to spend time pursuing a more authentic and heavily rye version.  Appreciate the response.