Homemade Gluten Free Pumpernickel Bread Recipe- Sugar Free, Including Vegan Option

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Mock pumpernickel with Nordic style fixings
After seeing a friend of mine post a recipe for homemade gravlax (a Nordic cured salmon dish) I really wanted to try it out, so decided that for my birthday I'd treat myself to a small piece of salmon and make gravlax.
In researching how to make it (I don't think I'll be posting a recipe, since it's not exactly a cheap dish, and I only did it once and didn't measure it out, and don't plan on making it any time in the near future), I read that it's often eaten with pumpernickel or rye bread, cream cheese, and dilly cucumbers, and therefore decided to serve a similar style dish.
Only I didn't know how I'd make a gluten free pumpernickel or rye bread. I researched how to make pumpernickel bread, and recipes called for the addition of molasses, carraway seeds, and some cocoa powder, so I decided to try playing around with my gluten free vegan French bread recipe, adding those three, and seeing how it came out.
The results were very yummy. I can't say it tastes exactly like pumpernickel bread, since its been years since I had any, but it was great! There was something about it that reminded me of rye bread also. Either way, it's a great recipe, and tasted terrific topped with my homemade tofu based cream cheese, cucumber slices, gravlax, and dill...

Homemade Gluten Free Pumpernickel Bread Recipe- Sugar Free, Including Vegan Option

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
3/4 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cold water
1 tablespoon xanthan gum
2 tablespoons yeast
1 teaspoon vinegar (white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, kombucha vinegar, or white wine vinegar)
2 tablespoons oil (I used palm oil, but any should be fine)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups gourmet gluten free all purpose flour mix
2 large eggs or 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds and 5 tablespoons boiling water
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1-2 tablespoons caraway seeds

1. Mix the molasses with the boiling water until it is all dissolved. Add the cold water, then xanthan gum and yeast, and if using flax seeds instead of eggs, add the ground flax seeds and boiling water as well. Whisk well to ensure no clumps. It should be somewhat thick because of the xanthan gum.

2. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes and fluff up.

3. Add oil, salt, vinegar, eggs (if you didn't already add the flax), and cocoa powder. Whisk well to combine well.

4. Add the flour and caraway seeds and mix well until there are no flour clumps left.

5. Let rise in a warm place, ideally overnight. I first let it rise for half an hour in the bowl, then transferred it to my loaf pan/baking sheet to rise overnight... Or you can just have them rise in their final shape/pan from the start.  (This will make it sour a bit, which gives it more of that sourdough taste that rye and pumpernickel breads have.) This amount should make 2 smaller loaf pans or 1 loaf pan and 2 round smaller loaves.

6. Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes, or until it is browning (darker than it was already) and gives a more hollow sound when tapped.

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7. Let cool for 5 minutes, and then slice.

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Are you a fan of pumpernickel bread? What is your favorite way to eat it?
If you've made (non gluten free) pumpernickel bread, what do you do to give it its taste and color? I'm trying to figure out why mine simply didn't get as dark as typical pumpernickel, but just looks like a "whole wheat" loaf... Taste is still good, just color wasn't really what I was expecting...
If you're gluten free, have you ever made a gluten free "pumpernickel" type bread? What was in it? Does this look like a recipe you'd try?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. Penny, try adding some instant coffee or brewed coffee in place of the water) to your recipe to darken it. I made a loaf of pumpernickel last week and that's one thing it called for.

  2. Unfortunately this won't work for GF, but whole rye flour darkens mine up without using coffee or cocoa powder. (Some recipes call for as much as a cup of cocoa powder.) I add a T of Steen's syrup.

    Are there any dark GF grains or seeds?

  3. Oh, I had a thought! (Ouch.)

    What about roasting the grains before you grind them? When I make sprouted grain flour, I dry the soaked and sprouted grains in the oven. (Two hours, 200 degrees.) they come out brownish. I bet that would give you your color change. I've roasted/dried brown rice, lentils, millet and barley. Delicious, and brown. Worth a try anyway!

  4. I used your recipe to meet the needs of someone eating pumpernickel along with people that are not gluten-free. It turned out the exact same color as the gluten pumpernickel. What I did differently was let it sit in a bowl from 5-5:30 pm., then transferred it to a glass oaf pan for about 9 hours. Then, overnight and through the morning, it lay in that loaf pan in an oven ranging from 135 degrees to no degrees; no degrees the last half. Then, I let it sit out in a "cool" place in that loaf pan for about 45 minutes. Then I followed your directions for baking. It came out super-dark! And delish. I also added close to 2 Tbsp. caraway and used the flax. Used the expensive palm oil (no other choice) and white vinegar. It really should come out dark...! I also used your flour mix. But maybe my flour mix brand yields darker results...or it might be the climate...anyway, keep experimenting. :)

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