Another pumpernickel as cool weather baking yields to Spring


As the cool-weather baking season starts to wind down (in Minnesota, I should add the word “mercifully”), I thought I’d reprise one of my favorite hearty cool-weather breads– pumpernickel.

The “black and white” pumpernickel/rye braid is a New York specialty that brings back fond memories for me. Mark Luinenburg’s photo above is downright savory; you can almost hear the caraway seeds crunching in your mouth.  Pumpernickel is a kind of rye, and we included a whole grain version in Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, which also has a rustic Bavarian-Style pumpernickel based on the same dough.  Let’s throw together the recipe for this healthy and hearty dough…It’s simple to mix the dough for whole grain pumpernickel, just like all our doughs, same exact method as the Master Whole Grain Recipe, but with these ingredients:

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

2 3/4 cups whole grain rye flour (most supermarket rye is whole grain)

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon kosher salt (increase or decrease to taste)

1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (or 2 packets)

1 tablespoons caramel color powder or 1/4 cup homemade liquid caramel color

1/4 cup vital wheat gluten

1 tablespoon caraway seeds

2 tablespoons molasses

4 cups lukewarm water

As I said, mixing instructions are in the link for the Master Recipe

After mixing, it sits on the counter for about 2 hours, then into the fridge for use over the next 7 days.  Tear off a piece as you need it, shape it, and then rest on the counter, covered loosely with plastic wrap, for 90 minutes.

The Bavarian style would be to rise it in a banneton (aka brotform in German) click to purchase at Amazon; instructions on using a banneton are in this link in our webite.  The result looks like this (in glorious black and white, again by Mark Luinenburg):


If you want the black and white braid, you’ll also need some plain rye dough.  One easy plain rye is our white-flour Master Recipe from the first book, but replace 1 cup of unbleached all-purpose with 1 cup of rye flour.

Make three dough strands of the same length, two rye and one pumpernickel, but make the pumpernickel strand twice as thick.  Braid them together (see the challah post for braiding instructions).  Then 90 minutes on the counter under plastic wrap.  Brush with water and sprinkle with caraway seeds if you like, then into a preheated 450 degree oven for about 30 minutes with steam (dump a cup of water into a preheated broiler tray, or just bake under an aluminum foil lasagne pan for the first 2/3’s of baking.  Loaves are done when firm and very brown.

Voila!  Let it cool completely before cutting, or it will seem underdone.

About the FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) tab: We continue to personally answer reader questions in the “Comments” sections of our website.  But we wanted a place to put the questions that we hear over and over.  It’s the “tab” located near the top of the website, right under the picture of the books.

49 thoughts to “Another pumpernickel as cool weather baking yields to Spring”

  1. I had a similar inspiration yesterday. I used leftover 10 grain dough and leftover Master Recipe dough from AB in 5 and ended up with a beautiful marble bread with flax seed sprinkles. Yum! I’m loving every minute of my baking adventures using your books as a jumping off point. Thanks so much.

  2. Hi, love the breads! I often get away with not brushing with water by using a wrung-out, very damp (but not dripping) tea towel to cover the proofing dough rather than plastic wrap. Sometimes the dough needs to be brushed with water anyway, but this method is greener, so I stick with it.

  3. It says above to refrigerate and use over the next 7 days…in the Master Recipe it says to use over the next 14 days. Is there a reason this recipe can only be kept 7 days?

  4. Love the recipes! I am enjoying the fresh baked bread, but am wondering if I can mix the dough in my KA mixer and then transfer the dough to another container for rising and storage??? I appreciate your insight!

  5. Jeff…
    Thanks for responding…I have both books and looking forward to the 3rd to come out in the fall…please keep us posted as the time draws near.

  6. Zoe & Jeff:
    Thanks for all your awesome work!!
    Our church minister is also a gourmet chef who’s led our catering team for the past 17 years. In late January, he introduced your first book to us, making fresh bread for a dinner for about 60 people. All the way through the making, baking and serving, he kept saying, ‘Look at it!! It’s gorgeous!! All these years, I trusted Julia Child’s [long, arduous, 3-day] methods and she didn’t have a clue! She lied – bread’s SOOOO easy!!!!’ Since then, he’s taught pitas, bagels and pretzels to a study group, and there’s at least a dozen of us who now have ABi5 of our own. My first batch, for a Soup Sunday about a month ago, led to requests that I make the bread for the next 3 Soup Sundays, and for Tuesday Breakfasts, and for folks to take home …! I’m an ‘everything-but-the-kitchen-sink’ kind of cook, so I make large batches (13 cups of flour), substituting a cup of ground flax and another of oatmeal for 2 cups of the flour, and using half w/wh and half unbl.a/p for the rest. Herbs went into the first batch (very popular), less salt into another (ditto), more flax, more oatmeal, extra gluten flour, different herbs, etc., etc. – you know how it goes! I’d never learned to make bread before now, cos it was … well … complicated, to say the least. And now, here I am, having just heard myself volunteer to make the sweet bread for part of the Easter celebrations. They’re starting to call me The Bread Machine LOL! Many thanks, once again.

    1. Hi Cherril,

      What an absolutely wonderful note, thank you so much for sharing your story! Please send our gratitude to your minister for teaching you to bake! 🙂

      Cheers, Zoë

  7. What is it about the whole grain rye bread in hbin5 that it is only good for 7 days? It does not seem to be enriched.
    I tried the master recipe and it made good bread.

  8. Sorry. I missed the post above and the details in the book. Thank you for replying to the other person who asked.

  9. After reading about pizza stones, I decided that it wasn’t worth the hassle and eventual breakage. So I used my cast iron skillet. However, at 450 degrees this old and very seasoned pan had quite an unpleasant off-gassing problem. (I scrubbed it clean before I used it again.) My solution that I am very happy with: I bought a CAST IRON griddle to dedicate to bread/pizza baking. I keep it in my oven so it’s always ready. I use parchment paper for everything so no cleaning is needed. I use it constantly and highly recommend it. It costs less to purchase and won’t crack!

  10. I loved your book Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day from the moment I opened the cover and have since shared your technique with family and friends on a variety of occasions. This year I am going to be a cook at a summer camp that emphasizes fresh, from scratch cooking. They have traditionally made almost all their own bread, but the departure of the long-time head cook means we are looking for ways to streamline recipes. I think your technique would be perfect. My question, however, is do you think I could make a large enough batch of dough (about 15-20 loaves worth) without compromising quality? Would the recipe need to be adjusted in any way?
    Thank you so much for your advice, and keep the fabulous, easy ideas coming!

    1. Meredith: The only time I’ve trouble mass-producing this stuff is the time I made a seven-pound loaf– it just overwhelmed my oven’s ability to bake through to the center and it was gummy.

      So you should be fine making quintuple recipe (could consider using weights instead of volumes; do you have the 2nd book with the weight table?). Keep your loaf size the same or a little bigger (I’ve successfully made 4-pounders many times). Jeff

  11. Hi Jeff, I’m waiting anxiously for the delayed shipment of your books! After reading on your blog that the UK version had a few recipes deleted due to scarcity of ingredients, I got the 2 US versions since imperial measurements are so easy.

    1. Katherine: You mean from Amazon?

      The stuff our UK pulled out were things that were quintessentially American: Anadama Bread (a Native American recipe), Southwestern-Mexican references, etc.

      Curious how you find all this… Jeff

  12. Can the braided loaf be made with the pumpernickel recipe from ABin5 instead of the HBin5 version? And if so, what is the real difference in terms of taste and texture (i’m assuming the HBin5 version is well…healthier).

    Good luck with the pizza book, love a good pizza.

    1. Hi Scott,

      The dough from ABin5 can also be braided and it will have a slightly lighter texture. The flavor is similar, but the whole grains in HBin5 make them a bit heartier.

      Thanks, Zoë

  13. I have a question. From Healthy Bread in Five minutes a Day. Page 177. Sweet Potato and Spelt Bread. I made Sweet potato spelt rolls yesterday. They were very wet on the inside yet crusty on the outside. the dough seemed very wet to me also and I’m assuming it was because i added the grated sweet potato which naturally has water in it. Should I bake the rolls longer than 20 minutes? Should I add more flour to the dough?

  14. Thanks for your book… I am on my 7th batch and have just been making Boules, Baguettes, Epi and dinner rolls and I’m more than pleased. Really, for the most part everything has turned out much better than i ever imagined. I have never baked bread i my life and by my second batch my Boules were as good as anything i have had…. for the most part.

    I am having one issue. I find the crust on the bottom to thick and hard. Im cooking on a pizza stone with a terra cotta pot over the top for the fires 15 min (for boule) then i remove it… i add no water at the beginning, just let it steam under the pot.. This has made for lots of oven spring and a perfect crust on top, but the bottom is fairly hard and tough. Not to bad but harder than from the local bakery. The top of the loaf is identical to the best ‘artesian’ loafs from any number of bakeries here in Seattle ..only the bottom is thicker, harder and tougher. It cracks rather than bends if flexed.

    Any ideas on what might be causing it?… fixes?… Its not really a complaint but more of a preference. This is the basic dough recipe.

    On a side note, i now have a super peel and don’t know how i ever lived without it.
    Might this be part of the problem?… only a thin layer of flower between the dough and the stone?… Too hot maybe? 470 degrees is were I’m at with a thermometer.

    Any help would be most appreciated…

    1. Bill: Hmm, this is a mystery. For a softer crust, you could try for a little more protection from the stone– like a sheet of parchment paper, or even a silicone mat like

      Any you could try turning down the heat so inside temp measures 450 rather than 470, but I doubt that’s it.

      Another option is to manipulate the resting time. If you’re doing the short rest (40 min), consider a 60 to 90 minute rest instead and see if that changes anything. Which recipes is this happening with (page number, which book?)? Jeff

  15. Thanks for the response Jeff…

    Im using ” Artisan bread in 5 min a day”.. Im using the ‘master recipe ‘ for the ‘artisan freeform loaf’ but + 1/2-1/3 cup extra water depending on flour.

    I have used parchment but i would rather have the crust off the stone than parchment. I have never tried a silicone mat…

    That temp should have been 475 and not 470 but i don’t think that really matters. Im going to try 450 and maybe a shorter pre heat.

    If anything the bread might need to bake a touch longer as its done but quit moist. I like it like that but my girlfriend thinks its a just touch under done. Maybe the 450 and a little extra time is in order.

    Maybe 475 and my thick terra cotta cover is a little to intense….. we shall see. Ether way. If i can’t sort it out I’m still more than satisfied in what i have been baking.

    Thanks for your help and doubly thanks for the book!… It has turned me into a baker!…kinda.. 🙂


  16. Thanks for answering my question about making a quintuple recipe of the dough. You mentioned using volumes of flour and water. However I don’t have your most recent book. Any suggestions on volumes of flour and water for just a single batch of your master recipe? I can use a conversion chart too, but I wonder if the ratio will change when making a much larger batch…
    Anyways, I really appreciate your help. I will be keeping an eye out for your soon-to be-realeased book on flatbreads and pizzas. These are some of my favorite things to bake 🙂

    1. Hi Meredith,

      The master recipe for ABin5 has 2 pounds of flour. This will make it very easy to increase the batch.

      Enjoy, Zoë

  17. Hello I just purchased your Five Minute book and wanted to know if I can use sprouted flour and grains in place of recommended ones and will I have to make any changes to the baking time. Thank you Stephen

    1. Hi Stephen,

      Neither of us has tried making the dough with sprouted wheat. It is on my list of things to try, but just haven’t gotten there yet. Please do let us know if you try it!

      Thanks, Zoë

  18. Hi Zoe Will let you know when I get around to using the sprouted grains. Another question

    My lady friend has a gluten issue. Can I use Spelt flour in place of the regular flour?

    Thanks Zoe

    1. Hi Stephen,

      Are you using Artisan Bread in Five or Healthy Bread in Five? My answer will be different depending on the book. There is a chapter on Gluten-Free breads in HBin5, but if she can eat spelt, she isn’t entirely gluten-free, correct?

      Thanks, Zoë

  19. Hi Zoe I will be using 5 minute book as soon as I get all my supplies. You’re right about Spelt/gluten however when ever she eats Spelt bread she doesn’t get any side effects. She does have issues when she eats anything with wheat.

    Have a very happy Easter.


  20. For health reasons I would rather use less (or no) gluten in the HBin5 recipes.

    I add lecithin, ascorbic acid, ginger, garlic, malted barley powder, etc. to regular bread recipes. Could I do this with HBin5 recipes so I get a good rise? Any suggestions are welcome.

    1. Steve: We found that the only way high whole grain dough would be store-able was to add vital wheat gluten. Without it, the result was much too dense for our taste after just a few days. I don’t think those other additives are going to make enough difference to do without gluten. Plus the water ratio will be way off (you’ll need to decrease the water if you leave out the vital wheat gluten (1/2 cup? More?).

      If you adjust the recipes, just plan on freezing the dough rather than refrigerating it. Or just make enough to use in a day or two. Jeff

  21. Your bread looks beautiful! I am wondering whether you are aware of the bounty of inspiration that comes from the grains discarded by beermakers. My husband is one, and I have made the darkest and most flavorful breads with grains from a batch of Imperial Stout. These grains impart a new, grainy taste that most conventional dark breads do not have. the Imperial Stout grains actually have a slightly smoky, and faint chocolatey taste as well as the classical ‘whole grain’ taste. I usually use 1 cup of grains with 4 cups of bread flour. I am going to work on your recipe, but include some beer grains. It is funny-I have made your bread recipe, and I have made my spent grain recipes, but never thought to combine them. Hmmmmmm……….. Grains from IPA, produce what looks like a light rye loaf. One of them produces a white loaf. I have to remember the name. All are very fibrous, flavorful and healthy for you.

    Great inspiration!!

    1. Love it! Brewing used to be another hobby of mine. Anyone with access to these spent grains could try these suggestions. Jeff

  22. I would like to make Buckwheat Bread today from your HBin5 book, but I do not have the Buckwheat Groats. How would I make up for leaving that ingredient out – or is it not recommended?
    Love your books and recipes – life changing! and thank you for all the personal answers to my questions over the past few years!

    1. Hi Dianne,

      That is a tricky question, you can leave them out if you adjust the water. But, I’ve not tried it, so it would require some experimenting. If you give it a try, please let us know how it comes out and what you did.

      Thanks, Zoë

  23. I want to thank you folks for making available the information for me to make my own pumpernickel. I do not live in an area like New York with lots of little independent bakeries. I have to depend on the monstrous corporate giant grocers for most of my food. Well, today I was informed that Safeway, in their infinite corporate stupidity, has discontinued fresh baked pumpernickel from their in-store bakeries “because the sales are not high enough” to please The Masters.

    Well, Safeway, you will find me a much less frequent shopper at your stores. If I cannot get some of the things I want from you, I will see just how much of what I want/need I can get from anyone else but you !

    By the way, that discontinuation apparently includes other sorts of rye breads, but I was too upset to ask for details politely. I do not blame the local worker. He was very friendly and willing to share what info he had. My anger is directed at the Stooopid Corporate Masters, may their bank balances plummet.

  24. Hi Jeff and Zoe:

    After making a killer rye loaf from your HBin5, I was trying to make a marbled rye, by rolling the a bit of rye dough and the pumpernickel dough together. Instead of using the caramel color that you have for your pumpernickel recipe, I used cocoa powder (in equal volume), which is what I have seen in other pumpernickel recipes. Unfortunately it turned out ever so barely darker than the rye bread. (The taste was a disaster, but that’s only because I mixed up cumin seeds for caraway seeds-Lesson: don’t mix up experimental dough late at night.)

    Any thoughts on volume of cocoa as a replacement to get a good dark color?


    1. Meg: In ABin5 (on amazon at, our pumpernickel used 1.5 tablespoons cocoa in a four-pound batch, but that was in addition to some molasses, instant coffee powder, and 1.5 tablespoons of caramel coloring (the powder). Haven’t published that full recipe here on the web…

      Short answer, I don’t think cocoa’s going to work alone.

      1. Thanks, Jeff. I did add the molasses in too (non-blackstrap)-perhaps I’ll just up it a bit. The coffee is an excellent idea!

  25. I made the pumpernickel from Artisan bread in 5. I gave a loaf to friends. They both called me and said it was the best Pumpernickel they ever tasted. Love your books. Bought two for family members.

  26. Long time reader … first time poser …

    I haven’t tried this recipe, but I’m exited to give it a go. I want to make a 2lb loaf. I didn’t quite see how to make this in the book. I have a big enough banneton and prefer a bigger loaf. Is that viable or is it more trouble than its worth?

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