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Welcome to day 5 of the #7days7breads challenge. The focaccia was heaven on earth yesterday and I loved all your amazing results on social media. Today we are going to attempt a traditional recipe only that I have managed to transform it and make it gluten free. Remember, I will be there every day to guide you through the recipes, share my tips and hints and at the end you can share your results on social media using #7days7breads to win amazing prizes. I am also on Facebook every day live to show you how to master each recipe and technique at home with hardly any effort. All recipes are designed to be easy to follow and at the end you can enjoy a freshly baked loaf at home.

Gluten Free pumpernickel sounds totally impossible right? Wrong! For those of you who have always wanted to get this awesome taste of rye but have been unfortunate to be gluten free or intolerant to gluten, this is a real saviour of a recipe. I find the taste is so strikingly close you won’t believe it’s a gluten free pumpernickel. To get this effect we are going to use all the original spices and unsweetened cocoa powder for the colour. That’s all it takes to make the perfect pumpernickel at home.

I have kept it a little simple today because I know the next two days are going to be a little more intense when I am basically giving you a crash course in sourdough baking so enjoy the calmness white it lasts. Today we are not only going to make a gluten free loaf but we are also preparing our sourdough starter for use on Day 6. We are not going to really bake much on Day 6 because we are preparing the doughs for Day 7 and actually we will be baking two loaves on Day 7 instead so get ready for some bakery style work.

What you will learn:

  • How to make a dark loaf without gluten
  • How to use different types of tins for baking bread
  • How to prepare sourdough starter for use

Day 5: Gluten Free Pumpernickel

Usually when you are making pumpernickel at home it requires you to mill quite a few grains to different consistencies and mix with quite a few different seeds and spices but with a gluten free version it’s a lot less complicated. Because we don’t really have the liberty of adding any grains we are going achieve that lovely dark colour and flavour by combining molasses (or black treacle) with balsamic vinegar and unsweetened cocoa powder for a genius effect that I would call pretty close to the original.

The baking method is also different to the usual pumpernickel loaf you might know and rather than steaming we are actually baking our loaf because with gluten free flour it wouldn’t work in the same way. I quite like that because it means I don’t have to stand there for hours waiting for my loaf to dry in the oven and I can enjoy it much faster.

Top Tips for better results

  1. Add dried fruit such as raisins or currants to vary the taste a little. You could add just 50g raisins to the mixture to lighten the mixture up a little and make it a fruity pumpernickel loaf.
  2. Divide the mixture between a muffin tin to get pumpernickel bread rolls. Instead of using a traditional loaf tin you can mix up the whole thing a little and simply use a muffin tin instead. It makes great, portion sized bread rolls that cook much faster and are super easy to bake.
  3. Use leftover pumpernickel to make a delicious dark gravy. Leftover pumpernickel works really well in making dark gravy and helps not only bind the mixture but also gives it a beautiful flavour. Simply grind the dried loaf into small crumbs and mix it into the sauce instead of flour to bind it while cooking.

An extra task

Apart from learning how to make yeasted bread, we will also start a fresh sourdough starter at home and learn all about sourdough bread baking in the last few days of the challenge. For now I will explain to you how to make your own starter and everyday at the same time we will feed it. In my Facebook live tutorial I will explain exactly what it is all about so that you get the most out of it.

Sourdough Starter Day 5: 

The starter should be super lively now and almost ready to use. We are now going to give it a feed and prepare it for usage tomorrow. Rather than our usual 50g of flour and 50g water we are now going to think about how much sourdough starter we will need tomorrow and add that quantity instead.

It is quite simple, in order to never discard or have to chuck any sourdough starter you only feed the starter (once live and ready like ours) as much as you will need the next day for baking so that you will at the end always end up with the same amount of starter again. That way you will never have to do any complicated calculations or think about what you keep and what you chuck. I find all of those techniques nonsense and also a waste of wonderful sourdough starter.

I will tell you now that on Day 6 we are going to prepare 2 recipes and for those recipes we will need a total of 230g rye starter. Ok, that means today rather than feeding it 50g flour and 50g water we are going to feed it 115g rye flour and 115g water so that we basically have 230g of starter ready tomorrow that we can take away from our lovely jar of starter. Easy, right? Take your jar and place the lid aside. Add 115g rye starter and 115g water (to make 230g in total because that’s what we will need tomorrow) and stir with a spoon until fully incorporated. Leave at room temperature overnight with the lid ajar. Let’s see what happens tomorrow.

We will talk about what to do with your starter once it has been used for bread making and how to maintain it tomorrow on day 6.


Gluten Free Pumpernickel

  • 150g whole milk (or any dairy free milk)
  • 150g water
  • 1 Tbsp dry active yeast (or 30g fresh yeast)
  • 1 Tbsp molasses
  • 380g gluten free plain flour (I use Dove’s Farm)
  • 30g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp Xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 2 large eggs
  • 10g balsamic vinegar
  • 20g olive oil
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 50g sunflower seeds
  • 50g linseed


  1. Place the milk, water and yeast in the mixing bowl. Warm 2 Min. / 37°C / Speed 2.
  2. Add the molasses, gluten free plain flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, Xanthan gum, salt, eggs, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, caraway seeds, coriander seeds, sunflower seeds and linseed and mix 20 Sec. / Speed 5.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200°C / 180°C  Fan / Gas Mark 6 and line a 2-pound loaf tin with greaseproof paper and pour the mixture into the tin. Alternatively, grease a 12-hole muffin tin with butter and cover with some linseed and dot the mixture into the holes. With the back of a wet spoon, smooth the top. Leave to proof for 30-45 minutes uncovered so that a skin develops until the loaf or rolls are 1.5 times the original size.
  4. Bake the loaf in the oven for 45 minutes or the rolls in the oven for 20 minutes until browned at the top. Remove and transfer onto a wire cooling rack. Then slice up and serve.

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