Pumpernickel Bread

3.8 from 5 reviews

Homemade black bread, often called Pumpernickel,  is so hearty and rich in flavor, with different notes and flavors coming through the crunchy crust. The texture is dense but not heavy, just perfect to enjoy with a bowl of soup or a smoked salmon sandwich.


  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (105110 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 3/4 Tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon molasses
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee or espresso powder
  • 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground caraway seeds
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup rye flour
  • 1 3/4 cups bread flour or all purpose flour
  • cornmeal, to sprinkle on the bottom of the parchment paper


  1. In a large bowl or a large measuring cup, combine the water, yeast, salt, molasses, instant coffee, cocoa powder, caraway seeds until everything is evenly mixed.
  2. In another large bowl, combine the whole wheat, rye and all purpose flours. Mix to combine. Pour in the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and use a wooden spoon to mix all the ingredients until they come together.
  3. You can use your hands to mix the dough or use a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. You don’t need to knead the dough very long at all, just enough so that the flour is all well incorporated into the dough. The dough will stick slightly to your hands; that is normal. Don’t add too much flour, or the bread will be very dense. After the dough rises and then chills, it will be much easier to handle and won’t stick to your hands as much.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean towel. Set aside to rise at room temperature for 2 hours.
  5. After the dough has risen for 2 hours, place it in the refrigerator overnight. 
  6. The next day, take the dough out of the refrigerator. It will slowly continue fermenting and rising in the refrigerator and will before tender and fluffy.
  7. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a pizza stone in the oven to heat up while the oven is preheating. If you don’t have a pizza stone, place a large baking sheet upside down into the oven instead.
  8. Use a large cutting board or a baking sheet and top it with parchment paper. Sprinkle some cornmeal in the center of the parchment paper, so that there is cornmeal area a bit bigger than the bread loaf will be.
  9. With damp hand, take the dough out of the bowl and knead it very slightly, folding the dough underneath itself until you have an even ball, then shape it into an oval loaf.
  10. Place the bread loaf on top of the cornmeal. Set the bread loaf aside to rise at room temperature for about 40-50 minutes, or better yet, in a warm room. I actually put the bread in our hot Floridian garage to rise, which makes the rising time faster and more effective.
  11. Slash the top of the bread with diagonal or straight cuts across the surface of the risen bread.
  12. Use the parchment paper to pull the bread from the cutting board or baking sheet and transfer to the hot pizza stone in the preheated oven. Place some sort of rimmed baking pan underneath the pizza stone. Pour in 1 1/2 – 2 cups of hot water into the baking pan. This will created steam in the oven as the bread is baking and will create a nice crust on the outside of the bread as it’s baking.
  13. Bake the bread in the preheated oven for 40-50 minutes, until browned and firm.
  14. Take the bread out of the oven and let cool on a cooling rack before slicing.
  15. Store the bread at room temperature, covered or in a bag or container, for a few days, then store in the refrigerator.

Keywords: pumpernickel bread, black bread, Russian black bread, how to make pumpernickel bread, how to make homemade black bread