Pumpernickel from Lower-Saxony

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Pumpernickel from Lower-Saxony

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Adjust Servings:
7 oz rye berries
12 1/2 oz dark rye flour
3 cups lukewarm water
3 tbsp fed sourdough starter
12 1/2 oz dark rye pumpernickel meal
12 1/2 oz cracked rye
1 tbsp Salt
3 1/2 oz golden syrup
5 1/2 oz roasted sunflower seeds
  • 16 h
  • Serves 5
  • Medium




Pumpernickel is a traditional wholemeal bread that characterized by its dark brown colour and nutty, zesty flavour. Pumpernickle is nutrient dense and has a long shelf life, making it an excellent bread for the Lower Saxony region – where it is believed to have originiated in Osnabrück, a German town near the Dutch border in the western region of Lower-Saxony in 1450.


  1. Put the berries in a small saucepan and pour boiling water over them, covering by at least 1 inch (2.5 cm). Cover and set aside to soak overnight.
  2. Mix the rye flour, water, and sourdough starter in a small bowl until well combined. Cover and let it rest overnight in a warm place.
  3. The next day, add enough water to the soaked rye berries so that there is about three times as much water as berries. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for about 1 hour, or until the berries are soft. Drain the cooked berries and set them aside to cool.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the dark rye pumpernickel meal, cracked rye, and salt. Add the levain (starter) and 1⅓ cups (300 ml) water. Mix until well combined and no traces of flour remain.
  5. Add the cooked berries, syrup, and sunflower seeds. Knead the dough using the dough hook of an electric mixer or your hands and add the rest of the water during kneading, as needed, until the dough starts to come off the sides of the bowl. Dust with rye flour and cover. Let rest in a warm place for 30 minutes.
  6. Grease 5 (16 oz/450 ml) straight-sided baking pans or 2 loaf tins.
  7. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface to remove any excess air. The dough should be slightly sticky. Divide the dough into equal portions and place it into your baking pans. Leave about 1 inch (2.5 cm) headspace in the pans to allow for the bread to rise.
  8. Only fill the pans to two-thirds to make smaller loaves. Grease small pieces of aluminum foil and cover the baking pans, greased side down. Let rest in a warm place for 2 to 3 hours.
  9. Preheat the oven to 300° F/150° C. Remove the aluminum foil from the baking pans and lightly spray the surface of the dough with water. Place the aluminum foil back on the baking pans, greased side down.
  10. Adjust the oven rack to the lowest setting. Place the baking pans in a casserole and place them on the oven rack. Pour about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of hot water into the casserole then cover.
  11. Bake for 1 hour at 300° F/150° C. Reduce the heat to 212° F/100° C, and bake for 13 more hours. Add hot water to the casserole every few hours to maintain the water level.
  12. At the end of the baking time, turn off the oven and leave the casserole in the oven for 1 hour. Then take the casserole and baking pans out of the oven and let everything cool on the counter for another 30 minutes, or until cool enough to handle. Gently turn out the bread and place them in the warm oven for a couple of hours to dry.
  13. Remove the bread from the oven. Let them cool completely, then wrap them in wax paper or parchment paper and either place them in freezer bags right away or let the bread sit in a cool place for another two days before cutting it.

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