Swedish Limpa (Rye) Bread

A few months ago, I received a wonderful surprise in the mail. It was a handwritten letter from my youngest sister who is thirteen. The letter was a recipe that she had made up….it was called SWIRLTASTIC. Yes. This was everything you ever wished you had in a brownie (and more)….1) brownie mix, 2) oatmeal, 3) coffee grounds, 4) jello powder, and 5) sprinkles. She swears that these brownies were amazing. I love how inventive she is at just thirteen.

Since this first recipe, we have been exchanging multiple recipes that include favorites that we have found online. The latest recipe that I received was for this bread, Swedish Limpa Bread. I had never heard of it. It is basically a classic rye bread that is aromatic, flavored with molasses, orange zest, fennel seeds, and caraway seeds. She even adapted the recipe to be whole wheat! She chose this recipe to share because she knows that I aspire to be a bread baker. The idea of a fabulous yeasty bread rising in my kitchen and baking in a warm oven is the epitome of comfort to me. But alas, typically my bread always ends up doughy, flat, and a complete crap shoot.

But thanks to my sister, I can now say that I AM A BREAD BAKER! Take that bread machine! Bam. I did it…this bread rose like a champ and was soft and was moist. It was BREAD. Great crust. FABULOUS BREAD. And it was whole wheat. Also, this bread served as great vehicle for my fresh sweet cream butter. Mmmmmm. It’s a great rye bread. It’s a great breakfast bread with eggs. It’s a great sandwich bread. But, it’s no swirltastic…but hey, what is?

This bread is aromatic and is tinted with molasses. I love molasses. Not only is it a wonderfully warm-smelling sweetener, but it is the only sweetener that has vitamins and minerals. When choosing a molasses, use good blackstrap unsulphured molasses.

This is a no fail bread. Seriously. But I should note that this bread does take some time. You have to allow it to rise for an hour, punch down, then re-rise for another hour, and then bake for a little under an hour. But hey, it’s winter…and if you find yourself stuck in the house in your pjs and need to feel a bit productive, dump this bread together and sit back and let your house smell like a dream.

(Note: If you are making this in the winter and have a cold kitchen, turn your oven on low and place the bowl with the dough in it on the oven and allow it to rise in this warmer environment.)

Swedish Limpa Bread (from Olivia)


  • 5 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (divided)
  • 2 (0.25 oz) packages of active dry yeast
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups rye flour


  1. Place water, sugar, oil, salt, orange zest, caraway seeds, and fennel seeds in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool until it is warm.
  2. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together 3 cups of whole wheat flour and the yeast. Slowly pour the cooled orange zest liquid into the wheat mixture. Use the hook appliance on your electric mixer, and beat for approximately 2 minutes on medium speed.
  3. Blend in two eggs to the flour mixture.
  4. Add an additional cup of whole wheat flour and beat for 1 minute on medium speed.
  5. Add rye flour, one cup at a time, and enough additional wheat flour until the mixture becomes a stiff dough, turning the mixer on low to bring the dough together.
  6. Now it’s time to have fun and get those hands dirty. Place about 1/2 cup of flour on a clean surface. Dump the stiff dough onto the floured surface. Knead dough for 8 to 10 minutes. Use both hands and put some elbow grease into this. The dough will have a smooth and satiny appearance. Shape into a ball. Place into a lightly oiled bowl, turning to grease the surface. Cover with a damp cloth and place in a warm (not drafty) spot. Allow to rise for 1 1/2 hours.
  7. Punch down dough. Divide in half and shape into 2 balls. Let rest for 10 minutes.
  8. Shape into 2 loaves and place into ungreased 9×5 inch loaf pans. Brush with oil. Cut diagonal slashes in top. Allow to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size. At this time, preheat oven to 400 F.
  9. Place loaves in preheated oven. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven. Remove loaves from pans and place loaves on cooling wire racks. Allow to cool ( i know it’s hard).

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