Pretzel Madness continues! The family was so happy with the beer flavored homemade pretzels, that I created a new flavor – Soft Pumpernickel Pretzels.
I used the same basic ratios in this recipe, but incorporated a blend of flours, some molasses, cocoa powder, brown sugar and caraway seeds. I also halved the recipe to yield 5 large pumpernickel pretzels instead of 10.
Soft Pumpernickel Pretzels Dough
As with the other recipe, the dough is extremely easy to work with and doesn’t snap back too much when you form the 24 inch strands. This may be due to less gluten in the AP flour, rye and wheat. While I typically love using bread flour for things, it seems to make pretzel dough too “snappy” and hard to work with. This dough is easy, and the pretzels still bake up nice and chewy. Don’t skip the baking soda boil!
Where Does the Name Pumpernickel Come From?
I was reading this and it occurred to me I’d never looked up the origin of the word pumpernickel. It turns out it comes from an old Bavarian word meaning “hard”. That’s funny since I named these Soft Pumpernickel Pretzels.
Soft Pumpernickel Pretzels
- 1 cup all-purpose flour 5 oz
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons rye flour 3 oz
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour 3 oz
- 1 1/8 teaspoon quick rising yeast 1/2 packet
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder such as Hershey’s Dark
- 1/2 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
- 1/2 tablespoon caraway seeds plus more for garnishing
- 2/3 to 3/4 cups water warmed to 130 degrees F.
- 1/3 cup baking soda
- 5 cups water
- 1 egg yolk mixed with a tablespoons of water
- Some coarse salt
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all 3 flours (11 oz weight total), yeast, salt, cocoa powder, sugar, molasses, butter and caraway seeds.
- Add the hot water gradually, stirring until well blended. Dough should not be too sticky.
- Attach the dough hook, put the bowl on the stand and knead for about 8 minutes. If dough is too dry as it kneads, add a tiny bit of water. If it is too wet, add a little flour. Dough should feel pretty firm, smooth, and elastic once kneaded.
- Transfer dough to a oiled bowl and turn so that dough is lightly coated with oil. Cover and let rise for one hour.
- After dough has risen, divide it into 5 chunks.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Have a parchment lined heavy duty baking sheet ready to go.
- Bring the water and baking soda to a boil in a large saucepan.
- Shape each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope and form into a pretzel shape.
- Working one piece at a time, put the shaped pretzels in the boiling water for 30 seconds, then lift it out with a slotted spatula and put on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- When all pretzels are formed, brush with the egg yolk mixture and sprinkle with coarse salt OR caraway seeds
- Bake for about 12-14 minutes at 450 degrees F. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool or serve warm.
Hi! I’ve never actually made crunchy pretzels before, but I want to try it. I guess you’d shape them into rods, then bake them at a slow low heat like 250 or 300 for a longer time? Sounds like a fun experiment.
Do you have any recommendations to make this a crunchy pretzel rod recipe with the pumpernickel?
Jennifer, you can try it but you might end up having to use too much flour to prevent sticking. A stand mixer get the dough to the smooth and elastic stage quicker without so much sticking, therefore you can use less flour.
Can these be made without a stand mixer? Please advise. Thank you!
Celeste, thanks so much for trying the recipe! I haven’t ever increased the yeast, but maybe I’ll try and see if I can make them a bit fluffier.
Thank you so much for posting this recipe!!! I love it so much, though when I do it I like to proof the yeast with the water and sugar before I add it to the wet ingredients… But I made these pretzels for my 100 person co-op and it was a hit! I’ve been baking a different rye bread every week this semester and the tangy-ness that the pretzel process creates is such a nice compliment to pumpernickel!!! Have you tried this with more yeast? I’m curious if you can get them puffier that way…
I’m so glad you liked them! Thanks for the tip to brush with milk. I’ll try it.
Thank you for the recipe, we made them last week and they were terrific. So terrific, I am making them today. I ate mine with a sharp German mustard….absolutely delicious. I don’t care for using egg washes, so I brushed them with milk before baking.