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slices of pumpernickel bread with the loaf

Overnight Pumpernickel Bread

  • Author: Emma
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 11 hours 35 minutes
  • Yield: 1 small loaf 1x


This easy homemade bread can be started the night before so you can enjoy fresh pumpernickel bread tomorrow.  It’s a vegan bread that’s perfect for appetizers or a healthy breakfast.  No machine is needed for this simple bread recipe!


  • 2 cups whole-grain rye flour, plus more for sprinkling (300g)
  • 1 2/3 cups bread flour (200g)
  • 4 1/4 teaspoons fast-action yeast (14g)
  • 2 teaspoons salt (10g)
  • 3 tablespoons caraway seeds (24g)
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted (7g)
  • 3 tablespoons molasses (65g)
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (350 ml)


Day #1: Making the Dough (30 min + 8 hrs proving )

  1. Place the rye and bread flours in a large mixing bowl.  Add the salt and yeast on opposite sides of the bowl, stirring in each one with a finger.
  2. Sift in the cocoa powder and dump in the caraway seeds.  Stir everything together until mixed.
  3. Add the molasses and about half of the water.  Start mixing the dough by hand, gradually adding more water until all the flour is picked up and a soft, slightly sticky dough is formed.  You may not need all of the water, depending upon the humidity and the brands of flours you are using.
  4. Turn out the dough onto a work surface dusted with bread flour.  Knead for about 5-10 minutes until the dough is smooth and no longer so sticky.  Since rye flour contains no gluten, the dough will not be stretchy like a traditional white dough.
  5. Shape into a ball, place in a lightly buttered bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let the dough prove in the fridge overnight, or at least 8 hours.  The dough will about double in size.

Day#2: Proving the Dough (2 hrs)

  1. Take the dough out of the fridge and place it in an unheated oven.  Put a metal pan of boiling water in the oven to create steam and warm the dough.  Let it rest in the steamy oven for about 1 hour, changing out the water as needed.
  2. Dust an 11x17-inch rimmed cookie sheet with rye flour.  Gently turn out the risen loaf onto the prepared tray, taking great care not to knock out the gas trapped in the dough.  Gently rub some rye flour onto the top of the loaf and cover with plastic wrap.
  3. Let the loaf prove in the steamy oven for 1 hour.  Remove the loaf and the pan of water from the oven and let it prove on the countertop while the oven preheats to 425 F.  Stack the loaf tray on top of another cookie sheet to insulate the bottom, preventing it from burning in the oven.

Day #2: Baking the Loaf (1 hr baking + 2-4 hrs cooling)

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F.  Empty the metal pan and put it on the lowest rack of the oven to preheat.
  2. Once the oven has preheated, score the loaf in a diamond pattern with a bread lame or sharp knife.  Place the loaf in the oven, quickly pour some water into the preheated dish to create steam, and immediately shut the oven door.
  3. Bake at 425 F for 30 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350 F and bake for another 30 minutes.  The loaf is done when it is crusty and has an internal temperature of 200 F.
  4. Let the loaf cool for at least 2-4 hours before serving to allow the loaf to finish cooking through.  To serve, slice thinly and spread with butter or desired toppings.


  • Use both rye flour and bread flour to keep the bread from being too dense and heavy.
  • The dough will rise very slowly.  This is totally normal, and is why I recommend starting this the day before.
  • Ensure a crispy crust by baking the loaf first at a high temperature, then at a lower temp to finish cooking it through.
  • You'll need a thermometer to tell if the bread is cooked in the middle.  Rye doesn't darken much in the oven, so you can't eyeball it.
  • Let the pumpernickel cool completely before slicing and serving, as it's very dense and needs this time to finish cooking in the middle.
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: German

Keywords: pumpernickel bread, pumpernickel bread recipe, healthy pumpernickel bread