Swedish Limpa Bread

Swedish Limpa Bread

This bread was mentioned to me by my knitting-and-baking co-conspirator Janine, so I thought I’d give it a go.  This recipe is adapted from Beard on Bread, by the celebrated chef James Beard.  It’s similar to the dark rye I make with orange zest, caraway, anise, and fennel, but the beer adds an interesting richness and depth.

Note: In making bread, exact proportions are crucial; I find it better to measure everything in grams, including liquids. Use an electronic scale with both ounces and grams.


4g (1 tsp) active dry yeast
4 g (1 tsp) granulated sugar
60g (1/4 cup) warm water (100-115 degrees)
85-115g (1/4 to 1/3 cup) honey
30g (2 Tbsp) melted butter
475g (2 cups) beer or ale heated to lukewarm
11g (2 tsp) salt
2g (1 tsp) ground cardamom
7g (1 Tbsp) caraway seeds OR 6g (3/4 tsp) anise seeds, crushed
12g (2 Tbsp) chopped candied or freshly grated orange peel
300g (2½ cups) rye flour
360g (3 cups) all-purpose flour


1.   Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water and let stand for 5 minutes. Combine the warm beer, honey, butter, salt and stir well. Add the yeast mixture, cardamom, seeds, and orange peel.

2.   Mix rye and white flours together. Add four cups of the flour to the liquid mixture and beat hard with a wooden spoon.  Cover with a cloth and let rise in a warm place for 45-60 minutes. Stir down and add enough flour to make a fairly stiff, but still sticky dough.

3.   Turn out onto a board with ½ to ¾ cup of flour mixture and knead it until the dough is smooth and elastic although it still might be a bit sticky.  You may need yet more flour, depending on how moist and sticky your dough is at this point.

4.   Place into a buttered or oiled bowl and turn dough around so all sides are greased.  Cover with a cloth and let rise until doubled in bulk.

5.  Punch down and shape into one large ball or 2 smaller ones.  Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment;  I baked mine in an oval Le Creuset pan.  Brush with butter.  Cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.

6.   Preheat oven to 375°F.  Remove from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 10-15 min.  Bake for one hour until the bread sounds hollow when the bottom is tapped.  (It takes approximately an hour and a quarter for one large loaf and 30-45 min for two smaller loaves.)  Cool on racks before slicing.

Store at room temperature by wrapping loosely in plastic, cut side down… or you can freeze it, sliced or unsliced.

Here is Swedish Limpa Bread as a printable file.