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Swedish Limpa Bread

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Swedish Limpa Bread

Swedish Limpa Bread

photo ©K. Diehl, licensed to About.com

Also known as Vörtlimpa (“Wort loaf”), Swedish limpa bread was originally made from the fermented brewer’s wort produced in beer-making. While there are many excellent recipes that still include stout beer as a key ingredient, it is also quite common, especially during the Christmas season, to make variations flavored solely with combinations of orange rind, fennel, caraway, and anise seeds.

Prep Time: 3 hours

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes


  • 1 3/4 cups orange juice
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup dark molasses
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp. caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp. anise seeds
  • 1 pkg. active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp.)
  • 1 Tbsp. kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp. freshly grated orange peel
  • 2 1/2 cups medium rye flour
  • 2 to 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour


Preheat oven to 300 degrees, turning off immediately once heated.

In a small saucepan, combine orange juice, butter, molasses, brown sugar, fennel seeds, caraway seeds, and anise seeds. Bring to a low boil; maintain low boil for 5 minutes. Remove from burner and cool until mixture is lukewarm.

Once liquid spice mixture is warm, but not hot, to the touch, whisk in active dry yeast, salt, and grated orange peel.

Place liquid in mixing bowl and gradually stir in 2 1/2 cups rye flour. Continue to add in 2 to 3 cups of all-purpose flour until dough is soft and pliable (it will be slightly sticky).

Let dough rest for 20 minutes.

Either by hand or with the dough hook of your mixer, knead dough lightly, for about 5 minutes, until dough is stiff and smooth.

Place dough in greased bowl (either oil or butter is fine), flipping once to coat with grease. Cover bowl with clean towel, place in warmed oven, and let rise until double, about 1 hour.

After dough is risen, punch down, divide into 2 halves, and shape into 2 round loaves. Place loaves on lightly floured baking pan or pizza paddle (if you use a bread stone in your oven). Cover with towel and let loaves rise on the counter until doubled, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees. When loaves have risen, place in oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until they are dark, crusty, and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Yield: 2 loaves (12 servings).

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