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Dark Pumpernickel Rye Bread

Dark Pumpernickel Rye Bread
Warm up a cold winter's night with this hearty, dark rye bread and a good bowl of hot soup.
Yield 1 loaf



  • 2 cups bread flour, divided
  • 5 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 (0.25oz) package (7g) or 2 1/4 teaspoons Red Star Active Dry Yeast
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons brewed coffee (cooled to 120-130°F, warm but not too hot to touch)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons dark molasses
  • 1 cup medium rye flour


  • Add 1 cup bread flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, onion powder, and yeast to stand mixer bowl; whisk to combine. Add coffee, oil and molasses to flour mixture. Mix with paddle attachment for 4 minutes on medium speed.
  • Switch to dough hook attachment. Gradually add rye flour and enough of the remaining bread flour to form a firm dough. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 to 7 minutes.
    (NOTE: For hand mixing: following above steps, mix ingredients in large mixing bowl using a wooden spoon or dough whisk. Knead on floured surface until smooth and elastic.)
  • Place dough in lightly oiled bowl and turn to grease top. Cover; let rise until indentation remains after poking dough with finger down to second knuckle, about an 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).
  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from pan; cool before slicing.
    (Optional: Combine 1/4 cup water and 1/2 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.)


Get Bread Machine Method here.

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Review & Comments

Donna J Baran | Reply

Can I substitute esppresso powder and warm water for the brewed coffee?

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Donna – Yes, use the same amount of water (3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water) to replace the coffee.
Happy baking!

Cyndi | Reply

Can I use fast rising yeast? Thanks

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Cyndi – Yes, substitute our Quick Rise or Platinum Yeast 1-for-1. Keep an eye on the dough, rise times may vary.
Happy baking!

Patricia M Shaniuk | Reply

Is this recipe a 1 lb. load or 1 1/2 lb.

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Patricia – This makes a 1 1/2-lb. loaf. If you’re looking for the bread machine directions, you can find them here:
Happy baking!

JaniceJ | Reply

Hi…can this be baked in my Emile Henry large rectangular baker? Or would I have to double the recipe?

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Janice – Yes, you can use the EH baker in place of a baking sheet.
Happy baking!

Dan Shores | Reply

Can you recommend a substitute for rye flour, such as whole wheat, and if so, will it change the flavor dramatically? Just don’t have rye readily available, can get it, just curious

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Dan – I would suggest trying a non-rye bread recipe instead. Search our Breads or Whole Grain categories for recipe ideas.
Happy baking!

Cindy | Reply

Can I use self rising yeast for this recipe, and how do I double it or can I? I want make this recipe for St. Patty’s day

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Cindy – I’m not sure what you mean by self-rising yeast. Do you mean self-rising flour? I would suggest looking on Google for a recipe that was developed using self-rising flour.
Happy baking!

holly pinkley | Reply

What can i use instead of coffee, which I don’t drink & is this a bread I can use in my marble bread that I want to make?? I already have a great rye bread recipe. I will be making this bread as soon as I know a sub for the coffee! Thank you!

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Holly – you can substitute water for the coffee. We do have a marbled rye bread recipe too, if you’d like to try it.
Happy baking!

Ken | Reply

What is the purpose of the onion powder? Can I omit the onion powder without degrading the recipe?

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Ken – The onion powder adds flavor, but can be omitted without any adjustment.
Happy baking!

Lois | Reply

Don’t care for the bitterness of coffee, what could I substitute?

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Lois,
You can substitute with water.
Happy baking!

Sandy | Reply

Don’t know what I did wrong. Loaf was beautiful but had a strong bitter taste. Could my coffee have been too strong.

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Sandy,
The coffee may be a reason for the bitter taste. Another suggestion is to make sure the flour, molasses or oil is fresh/not expired. Let us know if you give it another try!
Happy baking!

Sadie | Reply

5 stars
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.

Jill S | Reply

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

Red Star Yeast | Reply

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!

Pumpernickel Bread | Missy's Recipes | Reply

[…] I thought the flavor of this wasn’t exactly right (I could taste the individual components, etc.) but I thought I did a nice job on the texture here. […]

FS | Reply

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

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi FS,
The main difference is amount of protein (gluten) in the flour. More information on flour can be found here:
Happy baking!

Gina | Reply

You can fix the difference by adding 1-2 Tbsp of Gluten flour/powder to your all purpose flour.

Mandi Phillips | Reply

Can I change the cocoa powder for carob powder?

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Mandi,
I don’t see why not!

Happy baking!

Patti | Reply

5 stars
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.

selena | Reply

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

Sheila | Reply

5 stars
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!

Kathy Man | Reply

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

Red Star Yeast | Reply

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!

Red Star Yeast | Reply

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!

Derek Crawford | Reply

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!

Red Star Yeast | Reply

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!

Cathy | Reply

What if you can’t get bread flour? I’m in the Caribbean and sometimes they have bread flour but often they don’t and if I order it, it will take weeks to reach me. I read your response to Derek and if the only option I have is AP, how will it turn out? I made a loaf of pumpernickle a long time ago with that and it was good. It was a very different recipe and I would love to make this.

Red Star Yeast |

Hi Cathy – Bread flour is recommended, however you can certainly give it a try with AP flour and see how it goes.
Happy baking!

Cathy | Reply

5 stars
I did make this with AP flour and like Derek, I thought the dough looked awful, but I went ahead a baked it. The flavor was fantastic and my husband still says it’s the best tasting bread I’ve made. I now have bread flour, so I am going to try this again and may ad some wheat gluten to see if it rises a little better in our humidity.

Elie | Reply

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.

Mary | Reply

5 stars
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!!!!

EF | Reply

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

Canning and Cooking - Iowa Style - Pumpernickel Bread and Chicken & Gnocchi Soup | Reply

[…] and I’ve also included the steps to bake the loaves in the oven. This recipe comes from Red Star Yeast, and it’s a good […]

Chutney | Reply

4 stars
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?

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Chutney,
Have you tried any of our gluten-free recipes?

We also recommend using our regular Active Dry Yeast in the strips of three 0.25 oz packets, if you are corn intolerant. This product contains just yeast, no additional ingredients.

Happy baking!

Mark Schwartz | Reply

What type of Molasses do you recommend?

Kris | Reply

5 stars
The cornstarch glaze/wash was optional – I didn’t do that & the loaf turned out lovely.

Carol M | Reply

5 stars
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.

Kathy Z | Reply

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

Lisa | Reply

5 stars
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!!!

sandy | Reply

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

Ashley M | Reply

5 stars
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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