Pumpernickel Rolls


Pumpernickel. What a fabulous word. It just rolls off the tongue with such ease, doesn’t it? Pumpernickel!

As a child, I was absolutely intrigued by this word. This inquisitiveness expanded  beyond  the word, to this edible substance called “pumpernickel.” Until I tasted a caraway seed. Ick. Gross. Nevermind. After wiping off my tongue, I decided that it was too grown up tasting for me.  I was back to only caring for potato bread, despite its lack of exoticism.


Pumpernickel. Just fascinating sounding. Like Nicholas Nickelby…. Nebuchadnezzar.... Rachmaninoff…. Nevertheless…. or Rasputin. Loved saying his name and musing over Rasputin in my youth. Bizarre, I know.


I like sifting. It makes me feel as if I know what I am doing.

When I come up with recipes, I often write them out on the back of an important letter or another paper of note. So it is quite often that my recipes become misplaced. With this recipe, it was such an occasion. After much searching, it was recovered in the piano bench.

Not really sure why it was in there. Perhaps it was Rasputin.


Pumpernickel Rolls
Yields: 12 rolls
Time: 10 minute prep, 1 hour + 10 minute rise, 25 minute bake

2 TBS yeast
1 cup of brewed coffee, warm (about 110 degrees)
2 TBS water
5 TBS unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup rye flour
1 TBS molasses
1 TBS cocoa powder
Caraway seeds



1. In a bowl, combine the yeast, sugar, coffee, water, and molasses. Set aside for a few minutes, until the mixture is bubbly!

2. Add the butter and egg to the  yeast mixture.

3. Sift together the all-purpose flour, rye flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Whisk in the brown sugar.

4. Add the yeast mixture into the flour mixture.

5. Knead for 3 to 5 minutes, until the dough becomes together. Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to rise for 1 hour.

6. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

7. Divide the dough into 12 pieces and form into round balls. Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or a Silpat!).

8. Brush the tops of the dough balls with water. Slash the tops once with a serrated knife. Sprinkle on some caraway seeds. Let them stand for 10 minutes.

9. Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown.

10. Cool on a baking rack for 10-15 minutes before digging in!



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