dense pumpernickel bread

Sliced thin and toasted, this dense pumpernickel bread is perfect for appetizers or open face sandwiches. It’s also great with soup.

Several slices of pumpernickel bread on a wooden board. The slices are long ovalsand a dark chocolate brown. The bread has a grainy texture. One slice is laying flat on the board at a 45 degree angle from the bottom right corner almost to the upper left corner. The other slices are upright on the board in the upper right corner of the photograph.

My sons love pumpernickel bread. The bakery at our local grocery store makes a soft pumpernickel bread that is wonderful for sandwiches or with some butter or just by itself.  When my sons were young, I’d have to hide a few slices from the loaf because they’d eat it in one sitting.

Last week I saw some pumpernickel meal in the grocery store. Specialty flours are rare here and I’ve not seen pumpernickel bread anywhere. So I bought the flour.

The small loaf of pumpernickel bread sits on a wood board. The loaf is oblong and has three diagonal slashes across the top. The loaf is a dark chocolaty brown and is grainy in appearance.

Unfortunately, I left my recipe for soft pumpernickel bread at home. I have a recipe book I’ve been writing in since high school. It’s got a cloth cover with strawberries on it. I only put my favorite recipes in that book.

Everyone liked it but I think we all agreed two slices of this to make a sandwich would be too much.  The dense grainy texture works better for an open face sandwich. Slice it thin, toast it and top it with a little horseradish and thinly sliced roast beef for a holiday appetizer. Or, top the thin toasted slices with a little mayonnaise, smoked salmon and dill and you have a knock out appetizer.

Four slices of pumpernickel bread are arranged vertically on a wooden board so the cut side faces the viewer. The slices are narrow and oblong. The bread is dark chocolate brown and has a grainy texture.

Got soup? A thick slice of this dense pumpernickel bread is also a hearty accompaniment for soups.

I used black cocoa to give this bread it’s dark color but you can use regular cocoa. It will just be a bit lighter in color.

dense pumpernickel bread


  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (110 - 114°F)
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 1/2 cup corn meal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup black cocoa
  • 3 cups pumpernickel flour (meal)
  • 3 cups all purpose flour, divided
  • 1 cup cooked mashed potato


  1. Mix hot water, yeast, butter and molasses together until yeast is dissolved. Let stand 10 minutes while you measure other ingredients.
  2. Put the rest of the ingredients except 1 cup of the all purpose flour in a mixing bowl. You'll knead the last cup of flour into the dough.
  3. Add the molasses mixture to the dry ingredients.
  4. Knead in the rest of the flour and knead for about 10 minutes. This makes a REALLY moist, sticky dough so, if you have a heavy duty mixer with a dough hook, use that to knead the dough.
  5. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a bowl (I use the mixing bowl that I made the dough in). Sprinkle some flour over the top and then cover with a damp cloth. Let rise for 90 minutes until almost doubled. The top will crack and the flour on top will show the cracks.
  6. Punch down and knead lightly. Form two loaves and place them on parchment paper on a baking sheet. Use a sharp knife to slice the tops of the loaves to make a pattern. I made three diagonal slices. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise for 1 hour.
  7. Bake in a preheated 375°F oven for 30 minutes. The internal temperature should be 200°F (you can use a meat thermometer to test).

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 296Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 540mgCarbohydrates: 58gFiber: 5gSugar: 5gProtein: 9g

Nutrition information is provided as a guide only. Please consult a dietician for specific dietary needs

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