The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Swedish Seeded Barley Bread - Svenska frö bröd

breadsong's picture

Swedish Seeded Barley Bread - Svenska frö bröd

Hello everyone,

I saw a beautiful post on last February – 
Jeremy’s lovely take on a Swedish seed bread (Svenska frö bröd).
The ‘mosaic of a crumb’ Jeremy described; all those beautiful seeds! That bread looked so, so good.
It took me awhile to look up his friend Martin’s blog, and bake this bread – I’m so glad I did! - here's a slice... :^)



There’s so much I like about this bread!

Tons of seeds (pearled barley too)  ;
rye sour and a decent proportion of whole grain flour; easy mixing and process;
the delicious flavor and keeping qualities.

There were some interesting things in Martin’s formula and process.
Martin recommended a cold soak for the seeds, to soften them but not so much that they disappear into the crumb after baking.
Bread syrup was one of the ingredients. I wasn’t sure what bread syrup was but Jan Hedh had a definition in his book Swedish Breads and Pastries (syrup is 25% sugar). I thought I’d try molasses, and for another try, barley malt syrup from the brewer’s, as a substitute.
The mixing was really quick; no dough development, just long enough to combine the ingredients, then the dough panned and retarded.
Reading through Martin's post, the timing for this bread seemed so convenient, the process easy; and they were! :^)

For this bread, I wanted to emphasize barley, since barley is one of ‘seeds’ in this bread.
Barley malt syrup (a dark, thick syrup found at a brewshop) was used in place of bread syrup, and barley flour in place of whole rye called for in the original formula, for the final dough.


                                     The baked loaf

The formula for the bread picture above:

I liked this bread so much I experimented a little bit with the flour and syrup, making a couple of other versions -

whole barley flour, regular molasses at 24% of flour                         
(a bit of sweet carried through in the flavor - factoring in seeds, too, dough may have had about 10% sugar overall)
(scaled approximately 1400g dough for 9"x4"x4" pullman pan)

whole rye flour in final dough, blackstrap molasses at 12% of flour
(a bit of extra water added to compensate for the decreased amount of syrup)
(scaled 768g dough for 8.5"x4.5" bread pan)

In terms of flavor and texture, these breads were moist, chewy, hearty, rich and full of flavor.
Thank you so much to Martin in Sweden for this beautiful bread, and to Jeremy for his gorgeous version of it!

Happy baking everyone!
:^) breadsong

Submitted to YeastSpotting :^)


Isand66's picture


what a great looking hearty loaf for the cold winter.

i will have to try this when I get home for sure from my trip to China.



breadsong's picture

Thanks so much, Ian, and wishing you safe and happy travels!
:^) breadsong

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

And a great write-up.

I like the organisation of your spreadsheet.


breadsong's picture

Juergen, thank you so much re: the bread and glad you like the spreadsheet, too!
:^) breadsong

arlo's picture

Mmm, delicious.

Nicely done Breadsong.

breadsong's picture

Hi arlo,
Thank you!, and yes, this is a good one for flavor. Very grateful to have seen Jeremy's post and discover this bread.
:^) breadsong

bakingbadly's picture

Awww yeah, that's what I'm talkin' about---a nice hearty loaf packed with grains and seeds. Now who can resist that? Certainly not I.

Beautiful work, Breadsong. :)



breadsong's picture

Hi Zita,
I was so taken with this bread when I first saw it - I'm not sure why it took me so long to get around to try making it though. No looking back now :^)
Thank you, Zita, and I'm glad you liked this one!
:^) breadsong

dabrownman's picture

multi-grain and multi-seed bread that just has to taste great and so easy to make too.   I've got to give this one a try since it is the healthy kind of breads my apprentice likes to make for me to eat!  It rose so well and has the open crumb, for this kind of bread, that we love to see.  Just lovely.  Wish you would have posted this 3 days ago though.   I have a similar bread just coming out of a 40 hour retard that was way, way more difficult to make than mixing and panning :-(

Another inspirational post - Happy baking!

breadsong's picture

Hi dabrownman,
When I first read through the process for this bread I thought, "Really? Just stir and into the pan?"
I hand-mix my doughs so this sounded wonderful to me (as did the ingredients list!).
The white flour must gain strength during the cold period in the fridge, as there is no dough development during mixing.
The other thing I really appreciated about the process was Martin's note to watch for a specific level of rise while proofing - haven't had any problems with overproofing, baking once the dough has risen 2cm out of the fridge.
Thank you very much and hope you give this bread a try!
:^) breadsong

Our Crumb's picture
Our Crumb

I'd happily set aside our "we don't like bits in our bread" for a shot at this nuthin-but-bits loaf.  Looks like a meal in a mouthful.  I had to check the spreadsheet to see if there was any flour in there at all :-)  At what point does a loaf cross the line into grains-held-together-with-a-little-bit-of-flour?  You're over it here -- but I'll follow!

Beautifully done.  Thanks for posting, and for pointers to those blogs.  Lots out there!


breadsong's picture

Thanks, Tom!
Hope you enjoy the other blogs, and this bread, too.
Yes, lots of bits - at 71% I was grateful there was some lift while proofing and baking!
:^) breadsong

PiPs's picture

Lovely baking Breadsong,

Bread to sink your teeth into ...


breadsong's picture

Hi Phil,
This bread is has a wonderful texture with all of the barley and seeds - they seem to soften up just the right amount after soaking and baking.
Thanks so much!
:^) breadsong

SylviaH's picture

What a beautiful crumb.  What's not to love about barley.  You've combined it with healthy grains to make a lovely wholesome loaf of bread.  Perfect for eating light : )  

I've been making a lot of soup around here lately, barley, lentil, chicken, soups.  I have to say, barley soup is my one of my favorites.  I like my barley cooked tender and just love the flavor, texture and health benefits it adds. 

This looks like a wonderful wholesome bread to dip into soup, or toasted with just a dab of marmalade and cup of hot tea.  

We are nursing colds/flu around the home fires, lately.  Mike brought home a dewzee from work.  


breadsong's picture

Hi Sylvia,
I hope you and Mike are feeling better soon and have lots of soup and other comfort food to help you recover.
Thanks so much for your kind words.
Barley soup is a favorite in our house and it's been far too long since I've made some. Better make some tonight before the bread's gone -  thanks for the suggestion!
We've been enjoying the bread toasted; it's really good, lightly toasted, with a bit of honey; marmalade sounds delicious too.
Thank you so much Sylvia and please do take care!
:^) breadsong

varda's picture

It looks like every bite would be an event.   And lovely shaping as well.  -Varda


breadsong's picture

Hi Varda,
Thanks so much! I smiled when I read your comment :^)
I appreciate what you said about the shaping - I had your beautiful Borodinsky with Chocolate Rye Malt in mind
when I was getting the dough into the pan, hoping for smooth sides and good corners, like your loaf.
I was hoping to not have any cracking but this loaf burst a little bit at the top, along the sides - should have docked it a little bit more.
:^) breadsong

Franko's picture

I feel healthier just looking at that gorgeous loaf of yours breadsong, what a beauty and so full of good things for you. Just the sort of bread to keep you going on these damp, chilly January days we've been having here on the South Coast. This is a must try for me at some point this winter, just too tasty looking not to have a go at it. Thanks for sharing this! :^)

All the best,


breadsong's picture

Hi Frank,
This bread has been a good one, just the thing we've been craving at this time of year.
My husband's eyes lit up when he saw the seeds I'd scaled out: "Are all of those going in the bread? Yum!"
I hope you really like this one - we've been enjoying it very much!
:^) breadsong

hansjoakim's picture

Lovely bread, breadsong! Outstanding flavour and a dose of healthy vitamins and minerals in every bite, I'm sure. The blogs you linked to are great sources of inspiration, so thanks for reminding me that it's time to dive into them again. Thanks a lot for sharing the formula and the wonderful photos, breadsong.

breadsong's picture

Hello hansjoakim,
I'm so glad you liked the formula and photos.
I am very impressed with this bread of Martin's and I will take further look at his blog - looking forward to the treasures I'm sure I will discover!
Jeremy's blog is so interesting too; love how he bakes such a variety of beautiful breads, from all over the world.
Thank you so much for your kind words!
:^) breadsong

nicodvb's picture

Breadsong, this bread seems lighter than all the others I've seen of the same kind. Surely full of taste, too!

breadsong's picture

Hi Nico,
Thank you so much!
I was thinking the crumb was going to be darker in color than it was (hoping to see a dramatic contrast between
a dark crumb and light-colored barley, millet and seeds); the effect of less rye and less syrup, I suppose.
It's a delicious bread - this one was a 'real find'!
:^) breadsong

Thaichef's picture

Hello Breadsong:

  Great looking bread as always but Idon't understand the term of "Dock dough". What does it means? I am surprised that barley was cold soak and not cook. I thought that barley needs to be cook or at least soak in hot boiling water?

Thank you.


breadsong's picture

Hi mantana, and thank you -
This dough wasn't scored, so I docked it to help steam escape while baking, wanting to prevent any separation between the top and sides of the loaf while baking (not 100% successful as you can see in the picture).
I docked the top using a wooden skewer, poking the top of the loaf to a depth of about 1/2-inch.
There's more information about docking, in this thread:
Re: barley, I used pearled barley (a quicker-cooking variety). After the 8-hour soak, I tasted one of the barley grains, wanting to see if they were crunchy at all - thankfully not - just tender, but not mushy.
:^) breadsong


Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Breadsong, you have just added another possible favourite dense seed rye to my list.  I just recently got hooked on Danish Rye, and this one looks like it has the same qualities I love in that bread.  Have you tried a Danish Rye?  If so, what would you say is the main difference(s) between the two types of bread?


breadsong's picture

Looking at Phil's Danish Rye formula, and Chad Robertson's, it seems the Danish ryes have less malt syrup, a higher proportion of rye flour, and also include cooked rye berries, which this Swedish formula did not.
If you make this Swedish bread, I hope you like it. We just finished off the last loaf I made - I'll make another soon!
:^) breadsong

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

I just made two Rugbrots this weekend and did not cook the rye berries.  Just poured boiling water over them and soaked them overnight.  Worked fine last time I made the bread.  I also use molasses in lieu of malt syrup.  Still trying to find this ingredient.


ananda's picture

Such a lovely looking and tasty loaf Breadsong

All good wishes


breadsong's picture

Hi Andy,
Thank you so much.
This was a very rewarding loaf; so happy to have this to add to my list of favorites! :^)
:^) breadsong

jkandell's picture

After so much praise from breadsong and others and with my love of nordic ryes, I had to try this!  I stuck to Martin's original formula, which included barley and more seeds than breadsong's.  And more syrup! The web said you could substitute dark corn syrup for Swedish "bread syrup"; but to hedge my bets I split it 50% light corn syrup and the other 50% molasses and honey. (I think next time I'll use half dark corn, half malt syrup.)  

The baking did not go well!  Started burning on top.  With so much sugar in dough I should have known not to start at 475!  Should have baked more like a limpa. 

I'm not as much "in love" as everyone else.  It doesn't quite tastes balanced to me, though that may be from the lack of proper baking.

 BTW, I posted the ,formula I used on my blog page in case anyone is trying to duplicate Martin Johansson's original proportions.