Monday, July 30, 2012

Swedish Limpa Bread

The Swedish have a saying, 'A slice of bread in your pocket is better than a feather in your cap'. I'm sure they had Swedish Limpa Bread in mind when they spoke those words. Suzi of Smartcat blog posted a photo of bread shaped like this and it reminded me of this wonderful bread so I decided to post here so you can all try it. This bread is wonderfully hearty, fragrant, and oh, so delicious. If I had to choose one bread as my most favorite in the whole world this would be it. I used to make this bread back in the 1970s and 1980s and it is the best bread I have ever tasted. Since I am now gluten free, I hope you get to savor this bread for me.
Swedish Limpa Bread
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp anise seeds
1 1/2 cups lukewarm or 85 F water
1/3 cup dark molasses
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp melted butter or vegetable oil
3 Tbsp grated orange rind
2 envelopes active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups medium rye flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 yellow cornmeal (for baking tray)
In a large bowl add the lukewarm water and sprinkle in the yeast, cover, and set aside for five minutes. Then add the molasses, brown sugar, and melted butter. Stir together. Add the orange rind, seeds, and salt to the rye flour and then gradually add rye to the liquid stirring till mixed well. Next gradually add the all-purpose flour and continue mixing until thoroughly blended. Allow dough to rest in bowl for 15 minutes. It will be very stiff. Knead dough for 10 minutes. Grease your hands with vegetable shortening and form dough into a smooth ball. Place in a large greased bowl and turn a couple of times. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Punch dough down and divide into 2 pieces. Form each into a round ball. Grease a 12 x 17 inch baking pan and sprinkle with cornmeal. Place loaves in opposite corners and flatten slightly (they should be about 5 inches round). Cover with a dishtowel and allow to rise out of drafts for 45 minutes or so. Loaves should more than double in size. 
Making bread is a lot like making pottery. Start with a good recipe (or idea), mix ingredients according to instructions (make pottery with care), knead bread (wedge clay), let rise (let dry), prepare for baking (glaze), bake till done (fire), enjoy the home made bread (enjoy the handmade pottery).
Preheat oven to 375 F before baking. Lightly slash and crisscross pattern on the top of each loaf. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes till brown and crusty on top. The bottom should sound hard and hollow when tapped with your hand. Remove to a wire rack to cool, don't leave on the pan. This bread is good with soup, or with a dab of butter or tart jelly. Recipe cards are from my recipe file from 1970s and bread photo was borrowed from the net. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.


  1. That looks so good! I am gluten free so all I can do is drool over it! I do miss good crusty bread.

  2. Hi Jennie, thanks, I miss crusty bread too, like sourdough french bread. I am going to try and adapt this recipe to gluten free and maybe we both can enjoy it. not sure how to substitute rye flour but maybe just the seeds will make the bread taste like rye. We shall see.

  3. I have a friend who has issues with gluten, she can eat goods baked with King Arthur flour, apparently it doesn't go through the same process that other flours does that makes people gluten intolerant. I'd test it in very small quantities but that may be a solution to your missing breads.

  4. Hi Lori, thanks, I'll give it a try, I wonder if the gluten intolerance is from wheat that is genetically modified?

  5. this one will have to be tried!

  6. Hello Linda:
    If we thought that we had any chance of successfully replicating this delicious looking bread, then we should set forth into the kitchen immediately. All homemade bread is, to us, as near heaven as it is possible to get and we are sure that this is no exception.

  7. This looks delicious. I will definitely make it.....just have to remember to buy some rye flour next time I go to the market.

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  9. You know I will try it! Love the recipes - keep 'em coming!

  10. I will just have to enjoy the pictures. I am still working on the cuban bread recipe from smartcat.

  11. Linda, let me know if you come up with a good one! A friend of mine that is GF gave me this recipe. Ihaven't tried it yet, but she swears that you wouldn't know it is GF. I love to cook but I've never been a baker, but I swear I am going to try it!

    A great alternative to Focaccia Bread.

    2 1/2 tsp dry yeast (1 8g packet)
    3/4 cup warm water
    1 tsp agave or honey

    2 large eggs
    2 tbsp olive oil
    1/2 tsp vinegar

    1/2 cup brown rice flour
    1/2 cup tapioca flour
    1/4 cup bean flour
    1/4 cup potato starch
    1 Tbsp dried minced onion
    1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp basil
    3/4 tsp rosemary
    1/4 tsp thyme
    1/8 tsp garlic powder
    1/2 tsp oregano

    1 Tbsp olive oil
    1 Tbsp corn meal

    1/2 tsp rosemary
    1/4 tsp thyme
    1/2 - 1 tsp coarse salt
    1/8 tsp garlic powder
    1/8 tsp oregano

    In mixing bowl add water and agave, mix well, then sprinkle the yeast evenly over top of surface. Wait 10 minutes for yeast to activate.

    Add remaining wet ingredients, mix, then add in all of dry ingredients. Mix until well incorporated.

    Turn out dough onto brown rice floured surface, and knead in about 1/2 cup more flour.

    Grease an 8x8 inch baking pan and sprinkle it with corn meal, spread the dough evenly out onto it. Make the surface 'bumpy' so the spices will have spaces to get trapped in. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm spot for about half an hour.

    Brush the remaining olive oil on top of risen dough and dust with salt and spices. Bake at 400°F for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.

  12. Hi Meredith, thanks, you won't be disappointed.

    Hi Jane and Lance, thanks, oh do give it a try it is truly worth the effort.

    Hi Suzi, thanks, yes you will enjoy this one.

    Hi Julia, thanks, this is a great bread to take out to the woods too.

    Hi Patti, thanks, well keep this one on the back burner, worth a go.

    Hi Jennie, thanks so much for the recipe, I'll have to give it a try after I find those unique flours.

  13. Love the idea of the fennel seed and anise. When things cool down I'm going to try this recipe. It sounds delicious!


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