Recipes that bear the distinguishment of having come from one’s grandmother somehow seem more appealing than any other kind. I am convinced that this is a fact which, in short, is why I’m pleased-as-punch to inform you that the following is my Grandma’s recipe. It is for limpa, a traditional Swedish rye bread. It isn’t all that rye-y, though rye flour is a primary ingredient, or I’m sure I shouldn’t care too much for it (Grandma’s recipe or no.) As it is, limpa is a heavy bread with hints of sweetness to it, and is really quite delicious. Don’t be frightened away by the anise seeds, either… limpa doesn’t taste like licorice any more than it does like traditional rye bread.

I made this recipe for the first time a few weeks ago as a Christmas surprise for my grandparents. I got a little nervous during the process (there were some rising issues) but the finished product turned out just fine.


Limpa (Swedish Rye Bread)

  • 3 C hot water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp anise seeds
  • 3 T shortening
  • 3/4 C brown sugar
  • 1/3 C molasses
  • 3/4 C dark corn syrup

Bring water to a boil and add rest of above ingredients. Let steep for several minutes.

Add 1 C milk to cool it off. Dissolve 2 packages of yeast in 1 T sugar and 1/4 C lukewarm water. When the sugar/shortening mixture is just warm to the touch, combine the yeast mixture with it (I think my rising issues may have arisen -no pun intended- from my not letting the sugar mixture cool enough, which I believe must have beleaguered the yeast. Learn from my mistakes, good reader) and then add 4 C AP flour and  4 C rye flour. Stir all together well until smooth.

Let rise until double, or about an hour. After this first rise, add 4 more C AP flour gradually. On a hard surface, place another heap of flour. Scrape bread dough from bowl and knead for 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside to rise in a large greased bowl covered with a sheet of waxed paper and a clean dish towel. When it has doubled in bulk, after about an hour, remove from bowl and divide in 4 equal parts. Shape into loaves. Place each loaf in a 9x5x3 pan and allow to rise until the center of the loaf is even with the top of the pan.

Bake at 375° for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350° and bake for an additional 45 minutes, or until done. If desired, you can brush the just-baked loaves with melted butter and cover to steam for 2 minutes. This makes a softer crust.

All done!

I’m really Swede on limpa. Get it? *Nudge-nudge*



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