Gorgeous, deep color sets this loaf apart from the beginning. The sweet but earthy flavor of this bread is perfectly balanced with a dense, tender crumb to make it everything you want in a homemade Sourdough Pumpernickel Bread recipe.
Very little kneading is required when you make this delicious bread for your family. Unlike anything you can buy in a store, it’s an easy, crowd-pleasing loaf that will remind you why you love baking bread at home.
Why You’ll Love This Sourdough Pumpernickel Bread Recipe
- Easy to Make. This recipe isn’t what you think of when you hear “sourdough.” We do start with a bubbly starter, but it’s used to make a sponge the night before we bake the bread. This bread is less work than our traditional Rye Sourdough recipe. There’s no folding and only one rise.
- Rich Flavor. While there’s very little kneading in this recipe, you still get the beautiful complex flavor and dark color of pumpernickel. It’s tender but denser bread with a slightly sweet, earthy flavor from the coffee and rich molasses, that goes perfectly with a bowl of hearty soup.
Ingredients you’ll need for this recipe
Sponge Ingredients (Night Before)
- Sourdough starter. Fed and bubbly.
- Black Coffee. It will need to be at room temperature. Strong freshly brewed or Instant.
- Pumpernickel Flour. It may also be labeled “dark rye or “whole grain rye flour”. If you cannot find this flour at your local grocery store, it can be found in specialty markets, such as Whole Foods, or through online ordering.
- Vegetable Oil. Your neutral oil of choice.
- Molasses. The added flavor of this sweetener is essential to the recipe and contributes to its rich color.
- Bleached or Unbleached All-Purpose Flour. As needed.
- Warm Water. As needed. Tap water for filtered water warmed to 98ºF or “bath water” temperature.
How To Make Sourdough Pumpernickel Bread
Please note, that the printable recipe card has ingredient quantities, complete instructions, and nutritional information. The following is a quick overview of the recipe.
Day 1: Sponge
Step One. Make the Sourdough Sponge.
The night before baking, prepare your sponge. Make sure your sourdough starter is nice and bubbly. Measure your sourdough starter and put it into a bowl. Add in coffee and mix gently. Carefully mix in pumpernickel flour. Cover with a breathable cloth and leave somewhere warm overnight (I like to leave mine on the top of my refrigerator).
Day 2: Mix and Bake
Step Two. Mix the remaining ingredients to your Sourdough Pumpernickel.
Add the oil, salt, and molasses to the sponge. Then, add the flour in one cup at a time. If the dough is sticky, add more flour. If it is dry and doesn’t want to shape into a cohesive ball, add water a little bit at a time.
Step Three. Knead the dough lightly and let it rise.
Once you have a ball of dough, knead it a few times. Place it in an oiled bowl or a proofing basket (lightly sprinkled with flour). Cover with a tea towel, and let the dough rise in a warm place.
Step Four. Prepare your oven.
An hour before you plan to bake your bread, place a covered Dutch oven on the lower third rack and remove any racks above it. Preheat your oven to 425 °F.
Step Five. Bake Your Bread.
Remove your dough from its container and place it on parchment paper. Score it on top. Put it into the Dutch oven and replace the lid. Bake your sourdough pumpernickel bread. You will need to remove the lid partway through the baking process. Cool completely before serving.
How to Serve Pumpernickel Sourdough Bread
This bread practically begs for a hearty bowl of soup and makes the perfect corned beef sandwich. It’s the perfect side to Corned Beef at your St. Patty’s meal. It will also work for a traditional Reuben sandwich or any time you want a fresh, richly-flavored loaf of homemade bread.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is dark rye flour the same as pumpernickel?
Pumpernickel flour is a variety of rye flour also called “whole rye flour” that contains all of the bran, germ, and endosperm of the rye kernel. There are many types of rye flour classifications, usually dependent on how the rye kernel is milled. King Arthur does a good deep dive into this question. Pumpernickel flour is coarser than white or medium rye and bakes up denser than bread baked with other rye flour varieties. We don’t recommend exchanging them unless your recipe states you can.
We use a mix of pumpernickel flour and all-purpose flour in our American-style pumpernickel bread to make it manageable and to shorten baking time. Traditional German pumpernickel is a very dense bread that uses all dark rye flour and bakes much longer at a lower temperature.
Does Sourdough Rye Bread require a Rye Starter?
Does Sourdough Pumpernickel Rye Bread need scoring?
We recommend that you score (or slash) sourdough bread right before it’s baked. While it’s normal to see tears across the top of the baked loaf, it will help the loaf from tearing along the sides as steam expands the loaf while baking. And, while this dark rye bread doesn’t have the oven spring of sourdough white bread, the slashes ensure an upward rise.
Can I make sourdough pumpernickel bread in a loaf tin or bread pan?
The best tool to bake sourdough bread is a Dutch oven with a lid. It traps in the steam as the bread bakes and improves the bread’s texture, crumb, and crust. It also gives the bread its traditional shape. Our Dutch oven is enameled cast iron. Traditional cast iron will also work.
How To Store Sourdough Pumpernickel Bread
Keep your completely cooled sourdough bread in a bread bag or wrapped in plastic wrap, at room temperature. It will keep for up to a week.
Can I freeze Sourdough?
Yes, you can freeze a whole loaf or individual slices. Thaw at room temperature uncovered which will keep the crust from becoming soggy.
Tips for Perfect Sourdough Pumpernickel Bread
- I don’t recommend using an electric mixer to make this recipe. The dough is thick and is best mixed by hand.
- You need to make a sponge the night before baking the bread, so give yourself time to do so.
- This dough is stiff and can be harder to work with. You’d never expect a loaf that’s tender and delicious with such deep flavor. Don’t be afraid of it!
Color. For a darker rye bread, add 2 tablespoons of unsweetened dark or black cocoa powder.
Seeds. Caraway seeds or fennel seeds are our favorite addition to rye bread. 1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons total can be mixed in when you mix the remaining ingredients on day 2.
Sourdough Recipes You Will Enjoy
- Simple Sourdough Focaccia Bread Recipe (No Knead)
- Fluffy Sourdough Pancakes Recipe (with Discard)
- Cranberry Walnut Sourdough Bread Recipe
- Sourdough Multigrain Wheat Bread Recipe
- Homemade Sourdough Bread (with All-Purpose Flour)
I hope you enjoyed this delicious recipe as much as we do. Drop me a comment below, and don’t forget to give it a star rating. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐. Your comments and ratings help others decide if this recipe is for them too.
Still looking for St. Patrick’s Bread Recipes?
We love a great St. Patrick’s Day dinner, and with a 100% Irish Mother-in-Law, bread is a must! Our Irish Brown Bread makes an easy loaf with no yeast or rise time. If you like rolls, our Sourdough Cloverleaf Rolls, Molasses Brown Bread Rolls, and Waterford Blaa Rolls are perfect. And, don’t forget Soda Bread, it’s one of our favorites!
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