Pumpernickel Rye Bread

It was bound to happen. My laziness finally got the best of me and I managed to kill both of my sourdough starters, yes, both of them. I forgot to put them back in the fridge during the last feeding and after a week went by, there was a lovely surprise of a little layer of mold. Boo! Now I’m back to square one, but on the bright side I finally get the chance to document it and write up a post sometime down the road. In the meantime, I’m just going to have to suffer through and use regular dried yeast.

It’s been way to long since I’ve made any bread, so I flipped through the course material I was given during the bread making class I did back in July and found the recipe we had made for pumpernickel rye. I know a lot of people don’t like rye breads, but I love them. Love. Them. Besides for the class, and considering the unnecessary amount of rye flour I’ve got in my ingredient room (yes, I have an entire room…I’m weird like that), I’ve never actually tried making rye bread on my own before. I didn’t get the chance to try the stuff we made in class, as it was not particularly vegan but man am I glad I decided to give it a go on my own. The flavours created by the addition of molasses, cocoa and espresso are delicious, with just the right amount of sweetness. Of course, if you’d like it less sweet feel free to use blackstrap molasses in place of the fancy. Same goes for the caraway seeds, if you’re not a fan just leave them out.

Pumpernickel Rye Bread
Make 2 large loaves

Starter Ingredients:

  • 156 g bread flour
  • 142 g dark rye flour
  • 5 g (1 1/2 teaspoons) instant yeast
  • 8 g (1 tablespoon) caraway seeds
  • 560 g warm water
  • 30 g apple cider vinegar
  • 20 g (2 tablespoons) agave syrup
  • 44 g (2 tablespoons) fancy molasses


In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside while you prepare the flour mixture.

Flour Mixture Ingredients:

  • 460 g bread flour
  • 140 g dark rye flour
  • 4 g (1 teaspoon) instant yeast
  • 40 g vital wheat gluten
  • 24 g (1/4 cup) cocoa powder
  • 26 g (2 tablespoons) granulated sugar
  • 3 g (1 1/2 teaspoons) espresso powder
  • 14 g (1 tablespoon) olive oil
  • 26 g (4 teaspoons) salt


Mix all of the flour ingredients together, besides for the olive oil and sprinkle over the starter ingredients. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let rest for 3-4 hours.

Add the oil to the mixture and mix with a dough hook until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl (about 5 minutes on medium speed). Alternatively, you can mix the mixture by hand. The dough should be slightly tacky, but not so sticky that it clings to your fingers. Adjust water or flour as needed.

Lightly spray a large bowl with oil, place the dough in, cover and let rise until doubled in size (1 to 2 hours).

Deflate the dough and divide in two. Shape each piece of dough into a batard or boule, place on a parchment lined baking sheet, spray lightly with oil and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to double in size, about 30-60 minutes.

Place a pizza stone on the bottom rack and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Sprinkle bread with flour, or glaze as desired and slash the bread.

Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees, then remove baking sheet and parchment paper and bake for 20 to 30 minutes more at 375 degrees F. The internal temperature of the loafs should register at 190 F and when you knock on the bottom of the finished loaves, they should sound hollow.

Now when we were in class, the instructor told us that when you bake with rye you should let it sit overnight before eating, as the gluten can be hard on the tummy. As eager as you might be to dig into that warm loaf of bread, your patience will definitely reward you…in more ways then one. Just think of it as giving yourself plenty of time to decide what you’re going to put on your first sandwich. I got carried away with Tofurky slices and piled up the lettuce, hummus, mustard, mayo and tomato…so worth the wait. Nom!


6 thoughts on “Pumpernickel Rye Bread

  1. Stephanie says:

    That’s a beautiful looking loaf!!! I love rye bread too and mine always has to have caraway seeds in it.

    I am a notorious sour-dough starter killer. Things will be going great for a few months.. then I murder it with forgetfulness 😦

  2. Ashley says:

    Gorgeous gorgeous bread!! I got a sourdough started from someone then didn’t use it, then got scared it would kill me haha. I think I’m too paranoid a person to have a sourdough starter.

  3. Mihl says:

    I am in the same boat, I killed my starter, too. I was able to keep it alive for so long, but then I wad a baby. (One day I can tell her this…well, no.)

    It’s really interesting how different US pumpernickel is from German pumpernickel. It looks like the person who came up with the recipe also came up with a lot of shortcuts. They make a lot of sense though. I have to try your version. It looks really gorgeous!

    P.S. I think that the “hard on your tummy” think is a myth. But leaving rye bread sit over night definitely improves its flavour!

    • Maggie Muggins says:

      They may have created a bunch of shortcuts so that we could have it ready in one class, I’m really not sure. I thought it was really strange that the sponge only needed to rest for a few hours instead of overnight. I’ll have to check out one of the recipes you have posted so that I can compare the differences. Time only makes bread better, so I’m sure the German version tastes amazing!
      I had a feeling that might not be true, I did a quick search online and couldn’t really find much info. Ah well, it kept me from eating the whole loaf right before going to bed (totally would have regretted that move).

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