Limpa (Swedish Rye Bread)

By • December 10, 2014 1 Comments

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Author Notes: Amongst the styles of rye bread that exist, I think limpa, a slightly sweet and spiced Swedish bread, is my favorite. It's only partially rye and it makes a soft, pillowy loaf that is awesome for toasting and smearing with lots of salted butter at breakfast.fiveandspice

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Makes one loaf

  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons each of caraway, fennel, and anise seeds, coarsely ground
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  1. Heat the milk and butter in a saucepan, stirring occasionally, until the butter melts and the milk comes to a bare simmer. Remove from the heat and pour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a bread hook.
  2. When the milk has cooled to about 100° F (you should be able to touch it and it will feel warm but not hot), stir in the yeast and molasses. Let this stand until the yeast foams, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add 2 cups of all-purpose flour, plus the rye flour, ground spices, orange zest, and salt. Stir until just combined into a shaggy mess, then use the dough hook attachment on the mixer to knead the dough for 5 to 7 minutes. Add additional flour as necessary to make for a dough that is still a bit tacky (like wallpaper paste, is how I've heard it described. I don't know because I've never put up wall paper!) and springy, but not sticky. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl as it is mixing. (Alternatively, you can turn the dough out on a floured surface and knead it by hand for 7 minutes, adding flour as needed, until it is smooth and springy.)
  4. Oil a large bowl and transfer the kneaded dough into it. Turn the dough to coat it with oil, then cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel or plastic wrap and put it somewhere warm to rise. Let it rise until somewhat puffy (it won't double in size like some breads do), about 1 hour.
  5. Grease or a line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the bowl and shape it into a taut ball by pulling 4 corners of the dough from the top to underneath the ball and pinching on the bottom. Place the dough ball on the baking sheet and cover it lightly with the towel or plastic wrap. Allow to rise until nice and puffy, about another hour and a half.
  6. Heat your oven to 350° F. Bake the bread for about 35 to 40 minutes, until browned; if you flip it and tap it on the bottom, it should make a hollow sound. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before slicing. My favorite way to eat limpa is with lots of butter and jam or gjetost (Norwegian brown goat cheese).

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