pumpernickel bagels on a plate

I regret to say that these pumpernickel bagels have been a year in the making on GVD. During my reader survey last year, a reader commented that he/she wanted a recipe for pumpernickel bagels and I was like YES. That does need to happen. And then I never did it (for shame, for shame).

But that has all changed as of today, about 378 days or so later. Better late than never when it comes to carb love, I say.

pumpernickel bagel dough in a bowl

pumpernickel bagel dough on baking sheet

My husband also told me these are the best bagels I have made to date, and he is Mr. Critic when it comes to my baking and cooking (in a kind and loving way and only when prompted by me, ahem, love you babe). They are perfectly pumpernickel-y, with a soft, dense crumb and ever-so-slight chew. Toasted or un-toasted, sandwiched or cream cheese-d, they’ve been our source of satiation for breakfast, lunch and dinner the past few days.

bagel in boiling water

A lot of people have told me that making bagels from scratch scares them, but let me tell you something: I made these bagels in two hours one weekday morning, with a toddler in tow who was simultaneously screaming at me for Lord-knows-what and tugging on my pant leg while I tried to knead the dough, shape the bagels, bake the bagels and photograph the bagels. This makes me hardly a hero (just a really frazzled mom who’s “just trying to take pictures of bagels right now, sweetie, can’t you understand that??” (she could not)) but it does go to show that anyone can make them. Unless you’ve got two toddlers. Then I wouldn’t blame you for not wanting to make bagels (let me actually send you some bagels and a case of wine instead).

pumpernickel bagels on towel

Though our stash of these pumpernickel bagels is quickly depleting, I foresee a future of replenishing the stash again and again (maybe topping them with everything bagel seasoning) and making it into a meal via smoked salmon and schmear, or sliced cheese and veggies, or tuna and melty cheese, or bagel croutons, or bagel chips (!), the list goes on. The point is, I went a whole year without making these bagels and now I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. I also intend to make everything bagels, chocolate chip muesli bagels and montreal bagels!ย bite taken out of pumpernickel bagel with cream cheese

Bagel love and cream cheese, endlessly.

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pumpernickel bagels

Pumpernickel Bagels

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  • Author: Adapted from All Recipes
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 50 mins
  • Yield: 12 bagels 1x


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water (about 110 to 115 degrees F)
  • 1 cup dark rye flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso granules
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 cups bread flour, plus more as needed


  1. In medium bowl, whisk wheat flour and yeast into warm water until well combined. Let sit 10 minutes until slightly foamy.
  2. Meanwhile, in large bowl or bowl of stand mixer, whisk rye flour, cocoa powder, caraway seeds, instant espresso and salt until combined. Pour in molasses, oil and yeast mixture. Stir until just combined. Add bread flour and stir just until dough forms. Knead dough by hand on lightly floured surface 10 to 15 minutes, adding just enough extra bread flour as needed until smooth, soft, elastic and only slightly sticky dough forms; OR, use dough hook to knead dough in stand mixer 5 minutes on low speed, adding just enough extra bread flour as needed until smooth, soft, elastic and only slightly sticky dough forms (it should pull away from sides of bowl).
  3. Shape dough into ball and transfer to lightly oiled large bowl. Turn once to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes until doubled.
  4. Meanwhile, heat oven to 425 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat, or lightly grease with oil or cooking spray.
  5. Punch down dough. Divide and shape into 12 equal-size balls (about 3 ounces each in weight). Using thumb and forefinger, poke 1-inch hole in center of each ball and shape into bagel. Place bagels on baking sheet and cover with towel for 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, bring large pot of water to boil. Drop bagels in boiling water one or two at a time. Boil 30 seconds, then flip over with slotted spoon and boil another 30 seconds. Use slotted spoon to carefully remove and drain bagels. Return to baking sheet. Repeat with remaining bagels.
  7. Bake bagels 15 minutes until baked through and lightly browned on bottom. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.