Swedish Rye Bread (Limpa) Recipe

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A dense, but moist rye bread, with hints of orange and anise. Makes 2 loaves.
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  • 2 packets dry yeast, or 4 teaspoons
  • 2 cups water, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 cups rye flour, preferably dark
  • 3 cups wheat flour, plus more as needed (white, whole grain, or a mixture)
  • 1 tablespoon anise seed
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or other shortening
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated orange zest
  • cornmeal, for dusting baking pan
Container: mixing bowl, baking sheet or stone
4 hrs
45 mins
5 hrs
  • In a large bowl, mix 1/2 cup warm water and 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Sprinkle with 2 packets dry yeast and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
  • Add remaining water and 1 cup wheat flour to yeast mixture. Mix vigorously for several minutes, then let stand while preparing remaining ingredients.
  • Crush anise seed slightly, to release flavor. Grate orange peel. Mix rye flour, remaining wheat flour, and salt. Set aside.
  • Add molasses, sugar, shortening or oil, orange zest, and anise seed to yeast mixture. Mix in well and begin adding flour mixture, about 1/2 cup at a time, mixing after each addition.
  • Flour a work surface and scrape dough onto it. (If dough is too sticky to handle, mix in another 1/4 cup flour). Knead dough for at least 5 minutes, flouring work surface as necessary. Use the smallest amount of flour possible, since dough shouldn't be dry.
  • Put kneaded dough in a bowl about twice as big as the dough ball. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until about 1 1/2 times original size. This may take an hour or more, depending on temperature.
  • Punch dough down by pressing your fist into it in several places, turn dough over in bowl, and let rise again for about an hour.
  • Remove from bowl, divide in half and form into flattened rounds about 7 inches across. Dust a baking sheet or stone with cornmeal (be generous with the cornmeal) and put the loaves on the sheet with several inches between them. With a razor blade or very sharp knife, make 3 slits across the surface of each loaf. Cover and let rise until almost doubled..
  • Preheat oven to 375° F. Bake loaves until they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom, about 35 minutes.
  • When done, remove from pan and cool on a rack.   
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