Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Swedish Rye (Limpa)

The BBA Challenge continues … for me anyway.  Several of the other bakers have finished, but I slowed down a little bit to enjoy the ride and to try and master some of these breads.  I’m on Swedish Rye (Limpa) #37, only six more breads to go…

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Swedish Limpa is flavored with molasses, citrus peel, anise seeds, fennel seeds, and ground cardamom. This version also utilizes an overnight sponge made with the barm we created at the beginning of the sourdough series.

I loved the idea of all of the spices in this dough; however the smell of licorice was pretty strong.  I’m not a big licorice fan so I wasn’t sure if I would like this bread.  I tasted the dough and thought “yuck”. Fortunately, the baked bread tasted much better than the dough.  I liked it and so did my taste testers.  My youngest son said, “I’m going to have some more of that!”



A friend on FB from Sweden saw the photo I posted of this bread on Facebook and told me that traditional Swedish Limpa isn’t scored. That’s too bad because I love the slashes!

Note: This bread was part of the BBA Challenge so the formula is not provided.  If this bread sounds good to you, you might also enjoy Swedish Rye Bread with Sprouted Wheat.  Since the ingredients are similar, you can refer to the list of ingredients for that bread and follow this process for making it.


Here is the process I used to make this Swedish Rye Limpa.

Making the sponge

The day before you make the bread, make the sponge by combining the water, molasses, orange peel, aniseeds, fennel seeds, and cardamom in a saucepan.  Bring the mixture to a boil, and then turn off the heat.  Cool to lukewarm.

Stir in the barm and rye flour until the flour is fully hydrated and evenly distributed.  It should make a thick sponge.  Cover with plastic wrap and ferment at room temperature for 4 hours, or until the mixture becomes foamy.  Refrigerate overnight.


The next day, remove the sponge from the refrigerator 1 hour before making the bread dough to take off the chill.


Making the Dough

Stir together the bread flour, yeast, salt, and brown sugar. Add the sponge and the melted shortening or warm vegetable oil.  I used vegetable oil. Mix until the dough forms a ball.  I used my dough whisk instead of a mixer.

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Transfer the dough to a counter sprinkled with flour and begin kneading for approximately 4 minutes.  Add more bread flour if needed.

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The dough should be tacky but not sticky.  Don’t over knead because over kneading makes rye breads gummy.  The entire process should be completed within 6 minutes.


Fermenting the Dough

Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

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Ferment the dough at room temperature for about 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.


Shaping the Loaves

Remove the dough from the bowl, and knead it for 2 minute to degas. Divide the dough in half using a bench knife or serrated knife.  Then, shape the dough balls into batards (torpedo) or sandwich loaves.  I chose the batard shape. I just love this shape!

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To make the batard shape, gently pat the dough into a rough triangle.

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Without degassing the piece of dough, fold the bottom third of dough, letter-style, up to the center and press to seal, creating surface tension on the outer edge.

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Fold the remaining dough over the top and use the edge of your hand to seal the seam closed and to increase the surface tension all over.

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Set the batard aside while you shape the other one.

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Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle it with cornmeal. Transfer the loaves to the baking sheet.

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Score the top of the loaves with 3 parallel slashes.  I used a serrated knife to slash the loaves.  The serrated knife worked really well although I think I made some of the slashes a little bit too deep – 1/2 inch rather than 1/4 inch.

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Proofing the Loaves

Mist the loaves with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Proof at room temperature for approximately 90 minutes, or until the dough rises 1 1/2 times its original size.

Preparing the Loaves for Baking

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and brush the egg wash over the surface of the dough just prior to baking.

As you can see, the slashes opened up very nicely.

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Baking the Loaves 

Bake the loaves for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan(s) 180 degrees for even baking. 

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Continue to bake for 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the loaves.  The loaves should be a light golden brown color and make a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom.

Remove the loaves from the oven and immediately transfer them to a wire rack to cool for at least an hour before slicing or serving.

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Here are the finished loaves.  Cooled and ready to be sliced.

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I really liked this bread.  The flavor was great!  It tasted really good with peanut butter and jelly. That’s my favorite test!  I’ll be making this one again. 

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This bread has been YeastSpotted.  Please visit Wild Yeast to view all of the lovely breads in the roundup.


Thanks for joining us in the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge. The next bread in the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge is Tuscan Bread.

Happy Baking!


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