The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Help improve Swedish Sweet Rye bread Recipe (not limpa)

amauer's picture

Help improve Swedish Sweet Rye bread Recipe (not limpa)

I had a recipe passed on from my Grandma from Sweden. Now the family has so many variations, I can't fid the original. Here is one I made this weekend that is close, but no cigar. The one I remember starts with "make sponge of', etc. It is a dark, heavy dense close grained bread, but very moist and on the sweet side.

For two loaves

1 Ounce cake yeast, 1 cup warm water, 1 cup warm milk, 2 tsp salt, 4 C bread Flour, 1/4 C molasses, 1 C brown sugar, 1/3 C melted shortening, and 2 C rye four. I went with 3 cups of each white and rye.

it calls for a knead, rise double , and loaves, but I left in the frig all night and rose it in the pans.

It turned out OK, but right off the bat I knew the loaves were not dark or sweet enough. It must need more (like double?) molasses. It is a lighter grain than I wanted and not as dense leaving a lot of crumbs as I cut it, and not as moist as I like... Any ideas on how to improve from this recipe?


bmoo's picture

Your recipe sounds similar to one I had handed down by my family.  Our version made 3 loaves and used 2.5 cups boiling water, 3 cups rye flour, 3/4 cups molasses, 1 - 2 tsps of salt, and 1/3 cup shortening. to which you add a package of instant yeast along with 5 to 5.5 cups bread flour once the mixture has cooled enough.   So the big difference is the recipe I inherited used more molasses and no brown sugar.  But, it was still kind of light in crumb, not dense like the similar tasting bread I'd had in Sweden.

Awhile ago I posted a recipe that I got from some friends in Sweden for a similar bread.  I'm not sure how to post a link, but if you search bmoo you'll find it, because I haven't posted much.  That recipe had much more rye flour, about 70% and lots more (about 3 or 4 times as much) molasses.  The loaves that recipe produces are quite dark, noticably sweet, and dense.  The density is in part because the recipe calls for baking it with a weighted top.  I used a pullman pan.

There's  been some discussion again recently on this earlier thread about the amount of molasses.  I haven't finished looking into it, but I think in Sweden there's a different kind of syrup, 'brod syrup' that's used in bread baking that is similar to our molasses but also contains malt syrup. 

Anyway, take a look at that recipe and perhaps you can modify it into something more like what you're after.

--- Barbara

smaxson's picture

Another family recipe. My mother learned this from her grandmother, who came over on the boat. This makes a mess of bread which I bake in 2 pullman pans (no tops) for a solid substantial loaf, or three pullman pans with a longer second rise for a lighter but still substantial loaf (flirting with overproofing!).


3 C water

1cake yeast (~1/2 tsp instant)

1T sugar

enough white flour to make a medium sponge (3-4 cups, using measuring cup as a scoop, so well rounded and probably compacted). I usually use unbleached bread flour.

Into a second bowl put

2 C rye flour

1/2 C brown sugar (a good brand of dark brown sugar)

3/4 C molasses (Brer Rabbit dark; Grandma's is OK but recently not consistent and disappointing)

1 Tbsp salt

2 Tbsp shortening

Over this pour enoug boiling water to make a stiff batter (I use the 3/4 C measuring cup and about 1-1/2 C is a pretty good bet). Let cool.

When the sponge is peaked, mix the rye batter with the sponge and knead stiff with white flour. (5-8 cup scoops, depending on flour and your scooping.) Let raise and knock down once. Make into loaves (3-8x5 pans, 2-4x13 pullmans, pie tins, round flat loaves......). Let rise again and bake 375 F for one hour.

The whole process at my house runs about 10-12 hours (much better flavor with more time, so fiddle with your yeast), and the one hour at 375 is about perfect for the (open) pullman pan loaves.

I used to use two bowls and keep the dough pretty wet for my Kitchen Aid. The wetter dough made better bread, so keeping to it even in my DLX. This will smoke your Kitchen Aid if too dry or not split up into at least two batches. This recipe scales 5-1/4 pounds of wet dough in the Kitchen aid bowls, or about 3-1/4 pound into each pullman pan and makes a pair of 2-1/4 pound-ish loaves when done to our family's taste. I made this by hand only once!!! Sticky from the rye and sticky from the sweets. Very wet and slack. Scalding the rye makes better rye breads as it develops the starches a bit before going into the over. Steam helps.

Mother learned the recipe starting from potato water left out until it bubbled and then put into the sponge.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Before the time of cake yeast?  Rye and sourdough (to raise the loaf) were ment for each other.  Not only does one get a better rise, but the undertones of molassis and brown sugar come out of the grain without ever adding a drop.  It's such an improvement from cake yeast you may never go back.  Then you can legitimately claim to have the older recipe.

Get a sourdough going and then adapt your recipe.  Or take on a new recipe that works for you.  The conditions for bread making in the last 100 years have changed over and over again because what works in one kitchen may not work in another,  add on climate changes and variations in grain seasons and ovens, it is little wonder that the recipe in you family has so many variations too.  Make one that works for you and "inspired" by Grandma. 


Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

Again, we think alike. First thing I thought of when seeing this recipe is that I couldn't believe they weren't using sourdough. I'm sure this was originally a sourdough recipe. The taste of molasses will come out with the sourdough so much better than with the yeast, you will hardly even need to add any. Plus, you won't need to worry as much about the rye enzymes attacking the starches and causing overproofing.

I would also increase the rye flour if the goal is to make the loaves denser and more flavorful. This will make them sweeter as well.

amauer's picture

There is so much useful information in these posts I am anxious to try them. I thank you for your interest and expertise. I thought it needed more molasses and now that it is mentioned, I have been buying Grandma's and never gave a thought that could be part of the problem. I always used to buy Brer Rabbit Dark! The malt syrup is an idea as I am a big fan of it, and that could be one of the missing flavors. Also, I have been meaning to make starter, but keep getting scared off by the complexity of the posts regarding "how to." I may buy the King Arthur just to give it a try and then venture into building one of my own. Glad to hear it is well hydrated so I know where to go with it.