4.9 from 13 reviews
Dark Pumpernickel Rye Bread
Warm up a cold winter's night with this hearty, dark bread and a good bowl of hot soup.
Yield: 1 loaf
Small (1 lb. bread machine)
  • 1¼ cups bread flour
  • ⅔ cups medium rye flour
  • 4 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • 1½ tsp RED STAR Active Dry Yeast
  • ½ cup, plus 1 Tbsp brewed coffee (cooled to 120-130°F, warm but not too hot to touch)
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp dark molasses
Medium (1½ lb. bread machine)
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup medium rye flour
  • 5 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1½ tsp sugar
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp onion powder
  • 1 package (2¼ tsp, ¼oz, 7g) RED STAR Active Dry Yeast
  • ¾ cup, plus 2 Tbsp brewed coffee (cooled to 120-130°F, warm but not too hot to touch)
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp dark molasses
Large (2 lb. bread machine)
  • 2⅔ cups bread flour
  • 1⅓ cups medium rye flour
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp RED STAR Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 cup, plus 1 Tbsp brewed coffee (cooled to 120-130°F, warm but not too hot to touch)
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 Tbsp dark molasses
Bread Machine Method
  1. Have all ingredients at room temperature. Place ingredients in a pan in the order recommended by manufacturer. Select BASIC or White Bread cycle and MEDIUM or NORMAL crust. Check dough consistency after 5 minutes of kneading. The dough should be in a soft, tacky ball. If it is dry and stiff, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time. If it is too wet and sticky, add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time. See our Bread Machine section for more helpful tips and information.
Mixer Methods
  1. Using ingredient amounts listed for medium loaf, combine 1 cup bread flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, onion powder, and yeast (called DRY MIXTURE). (Reserve I cup bread flour and all of the rye four.) Combine liquid ingredients.

  2. Hand-Held Mixer Method: Combine dry mixture and liquid ingredients in mixing bowl on low speed. Beat 2 to 3 minutes on medium speed. By hand, stir in rye flour and enough of the remaining bread flour to make a firm dough. Knead on floured surface 5 to 7 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Use additional bread flour if necessary.

  3. Stand Mixer Method: Combine dry mixture and liquid ingredients in mixing bowl with paddle or beaters for 4 minutes on medium speed. Gradually add rye flour and enough of the remaining bread flour to form a firm dough. Knead with dough hook(s) 5 to 7 minutes until smooth and elastic.

  4. Food Processor Method: Put dry mixture in processing bowl with steel blade. While the motor is running, add liquid ingredients. Process until mixed. Continue processing, gradually adding rye flour and enough of the remaining bread flour until dough forms a ball, and dough is smooth and elastic.
Rising, Shaping and Baking
  1. Place dough in lightly oiled bowl and turn to grease top. Cover; let rise until dough tests ripe, about 1 hour. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; punch down to remove air bubbles. On lightly floured surface, shape dough into a round loaf. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet or in 8-inch layer cake pan. Cover; let rise in warm place until indentation remains after touching (about 30 minutes). Bake in preheated 400°F oven for 30 to 35 minutes. Optional: Combine ¼ cup water and ½ teaspoon cornstarch; heat to boiling. Five minutes before the loaf is finished baking, remove from oven and brush top with cornstarch glaze. Sprinkle with caraway seeds, if desired. Return to oven and bake approximately five more minutes until glaze is glossy and loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from pan; cool before slicing.

  2. *You can substitute Instant (fast-rising) yeast in place of Active Dry Yeast. When using Instant Yeast, expect your dough to rise faster. Always let your dough rise until ripe. Traditional methods: use equal amounts; Bread Machine: use ½ tsp Instant Yeast OR ¾ tsp Active Dry Yeast per cup of flour in your recipe. Visit our Lessons in Yeast & Baking for more information.

  3. Recipe featured at Food Wanderings.

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  1. Excellent rye bread. The crumb is tight, soft, tender and a bit chewy. It’s great for sandwiches or toast. The dough came together effortlessly in my stand mixer and seems to be forgiving. I overproofed it slightly and part of the loaf had collapsed by the time it went into the oven. However, it rose beautifully and filled out as it baked. I used a dutch oven instead of a baking sheet The crust was thin and crisp when the bread came out of the oven but softened as it cooled.

  2. Can the 1-1/2 lb. recipe be baked in a loaf pan? If so, which size? I can’t wait to make this.

    • Hi Jill,
      Yes, use a 9×5-inch pan unless you have a 1 1/2-lb loaf pan. The bake time may vary, so check for doneness by baking to an internal temperature of 200-205 degrees F.

      Happy baking!

  3. What is the difference between all purpose flour and bread flour ?

  4. Can I change the cocoa powder for carob powder?

  5. The first time I made it, it was too crumbly. I reduced the bread flour slightly and that fixed it. My kids said it tasted just like the ones from the store and they asked me to make another loaf. It was very easy to make. I used the stand mixer method. I never been satisfied with pumpernickel recipes before because they were never dark enough. This one is perfect.

  6. hhhhmmm…..now i’m wonderin what could happen IF the cocoa was decreased ? I never even tried to make pumpernickel as well-

  7. I made this tonight in the food processor (1 lb. loaf). I can’t believe how easy it was! I put all the dry ingredients in and mixed it and then added the wet ingredients while motor going ( I put the oil and molasses in with the brewed coffee, mixed it up and just poured it all in at once). I let it mix until it formed a ball and that was it. This bread was so delicious (and easy) that this will be my go to pumpernickel bread recipe. Thank you!

  8. What is the difference between medium rye flour and dark rye flour? Can I substitute dark rye flour for medium flour? Thank you.

    • Hi Kathy,
      Dark rye flour is a ‘whole wheat’ flour (contains all of the bran and germ). You can substitute dark rye for medium rye, just keep an eye on the dough as you mix it – the dark rye is more absorbent, and may need a bit more water.
      Happy baking!

  9. The Food Processor method does not seem to require any kneading, unlike the stand mixer method. Is that correct?

    • Hi Christine,
      The dough is kneaded while the processor is running. Process until dough is smooth and elastic.
      Let us know if you make it!
      Happy baking!

  10. I tried making this a couple times. The first round the dough hardly rose. I was not sure about it so I threw it away and made another batch. This one didn’t rise much either. Should this dough rise like a traditional dough and double in size? It is a pretty dense dough. I am doing the second rise and will bake it off to see what happens. I followed instructions to the ‘T’. Appreciate anyones feedback. Thanks!

    • Hi Derek,
      How did your bread turn out? Rye flour will yield a more dense loaf (not like a typical bread made with 100% bread flour). It won’t quite double in size, but it you should get a noticeable rise. Make sure to use bread flour (not all-purpose flour) in this recipe along with the rye flour to make a stronger dough that will be able to hold the leavening produced by the yeast.
      Happy baking!

  11. I made the 1lb. loaf in my bread machine and needed to add 2 tlbs. of water. Came out perfect. Clumpy at first. Tasting tomorrow.

  12. What a great, great, great recipe! I made little changes to increase whole grains: I used 1 1/3 cups rye flour, 1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour and then 2/3 cup white flour. Then I threw in 2 teaspoons each of caraway and dill seed. Half the mix went into a bread tube, the other half into a loaf pan.

    Mixed it all up in the Kitchen Aid – the dough didn’t even stick to the bowl. What a treat! Baked it in a convection oven at 400 degrees for 28 minutes, at which time it seemed to be getting a little too dark. It didn’t taste burned although it looked like it here and there but it was baked to perfection inside. My husband thought it looked just fine and devoured most of one loaf in a day. That works for me!

    Thank you for this recipe. It’s a keeper!!!!

  13. This breads is delicious and not heavy, and we loved it.
    Thank you for an excellent recipe!!!

  14. I’m not able to eat wheat flour or corn products at all. No corn starch for me if I want to breath. So, I use spelt flour and rice starch instead.

    Spelt doesn’t like to be over worked, so I skip punching it down and just let it rise once. I get good breads and pie crusts without ever using what or corn products.

    When is Red Star going to stay publishing recipes for what and corn intolerant people?

  15. This was an amazing loaf. I had never made a pumpernickel before.

    I made the 1.5 pound loaf; making the dough in the bread machine. The second rise was in my 3.5 qt. dutch oven. I then baked the loaf in the dutch oven — 25 minutes with the lid on and 10 minutes with the lid off.

    The resulting loaf was beautifully risen, with a slightly chewy crust. The perfect accompaniment to Garlic Potato Soup.

    Planning on making this one again and again.

  16. Wow…bread rose nicely and I was quite impressed with the taste. This recipe’s definitely a keeper!

    • Perfect Pumpernickel!!!

      This was truly a lovely, fragrant and delicious loaf of dark bread. Pumpernickel is one of our favorite flavors, but I was always so intimidated to make it from scratch. My past loaves were made with a very good mix (expensive), but with shortages recently, baking supplies have been a challenge to find. Pleasantly surprised to see that I had all of the ingredients in my pantry, I decided to give it a go and I put my bread machine to work.
      It came out perfect!
      One little flavor addition that I couldn’t be without in this loaf was caraway seeds ~ which I ground about a tablespoon and added to the dry ingredients to mix with the dough. All of the flavors were complex, slightly nutty, and “caramel-y”, as a good pumpernickel should be. From now on, this recipe will be my new “go-to” and will definitely be a staple for sandwiches, rolls, and bread bowls. Delish!!!

  17. I made this bread once and it turned out perfect. Great texture, taste and color. The dough was easy to work with also.

  18. This bread is perfection!

    This is one of those recipes that will stay with me for good. I love the complex, dark flavors that meld to become something so well rounded it tastes simple and flawless.

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