This Limpa bread will give you the uniquely flavored and absolutely delicious Scandinavian sweet bread that’s made with rye and white flour, along with spices, molasses, and raisins that take it to the next level. This festive bread is a staple at Christmas Eve buffet and won’t disappoint! What’s best is that it’s vegan and delicious!
Limpa bread is an incredible Swedish bread that features a unique and distinctive flavor profile that includes cardamom, caraway sees, fennel, and orange zest. These warm and delicious ingredients give the bread a festive feel that’s perfect for the Christmas season!
My mom introduced me to this recipe, and I’ve been in love with it ever since. It tastes especially delicious with some vegan butter and is served with a cup of tea or coffee. Trust me, you’re going to fall in love with this bread just the way I did!
Read on to learn exactly how to make this delicious limpa recipe today!
- What is Limpa?
- Why This Is The Best Limpa Recipe
- What You Need to Make Limpa At Home
- How to Make Limpa Step by Step
- Mixing the dough by hands
- Tips For Making the Best Limpa Every Single Time
- Serving Suggestions
- Recipe Variation Ideas for Limpa
- Frequently Asked Questions
- How to Store Leftover Limpa
- More Christmas Desserts
What is Limpa?
Limpa is a traditional Swedish rye bread, often referred to as Swedish limpa bread, known for its unique combination of flavors. This particular bread uses a mixture of rye flour and all-purpose flour, creating a hearty and robust loaf.
The fermented dough and soaker add depth to the flavor profile, while ingredients like brown sugar, molasses, and orange zest give it a subtle sweetness and aromatic appeal.
Baking your own loaf of limpa will fill your kitchen with warm, enticing smells, and the end result is a delicious bread that pairs well with a variety of dishes. It is perfect for making sandwiches, serving alongside soup, or simply enjoying with a smear of butter. Plus, the satisfaction of crafting your own loaf from scratch makes the experience even more rewarding.
Limpa is also called Vörtbröd and it has different variations across Scandinavia. Some recipes might include beer and some prunes. You can even make this recipe with a kitchen aid with a dough hook or by hand.
This recipe also leaves room for variations, allowing you to adjust the ingredients to suit your personal taste. Whether you’re a new baker or a seasoned pro, this Swedish limpa bread recipe is a delightful addition to your baking repertoire.
So why not try your hand at this traditional rye bread? The rich flavor and enticing aroma of a freshly baked loaf are sure to win you over.
Why This Is The Best Limpa Recipe
Easy to make: This Swedish limpa bread recipe is straightforward, with clear instructions for each step. Even if you’re not used to baking, you can easily follow along and create a delicious loaf. Plus, the dough can be kneaded by hand or with a stand mixer, catering to your kitchen setup.
Versatile: This recipe offers flexibility, allowing you to tailor it to your preferences. Whether you want to experiment with additional spices or include variations like beer or prunes, this recipe can be easily customized, making it uniquely yours.
Delicious: The combination of rye flour, molasses, orange zest, and brown sugar creates a unique flavor profile that is both sweet and savory. The addition of raisins adds a burst of sweetness, making this limpa bread a delightful treat that’s hard to resist.
Crowd Pleaser: Swedish limpa bread is a festive loaf that’s perfect for holiday gatherings or family dinners. Its unique flavor and appealing aroma are sure to impress your guests. Plus, it is vegan, making it a great choice for guests with dietary restrictions.
Healthy Option: This recipe uses nutritious ingredients like rye flour and olive oil, making it healthier than traditional breads. It is also vegan, free from dairy and eggs, making it a great choice for those seeking a healthier bread alternative.
What You Need to Make Limpa At Home
All you need are some incredibly simple, pantry-staple ingredients to make this delicious limpa recipe at home.
Here's an overview of the specific ingredients for this recipe. For the exact ingredients and measurements, please scroll to the recipe card below.
Rye Flour: Rye flour is essential for this recipe. It will add a distinctive earthy, slightly tangy flavor to the Swedish limpa bread, while also giving a dense, moist texture to the loaf.
All-Purpose Flour: We’ll also need some all-purpose flour. This ingredient will contribute to the bread’s structure and will guarantee a perfect rise and create a desirable crumb texture. All-purpose wheat flour is used to make the bread fluffy. Rye flour used alone makes the bread denser.
Active Dry Yeast: We’ll be needing active dry yeast. The yeast will play a pivotal role in leavening the dough, leading to a fluffy and aerated texture in our final loaf.
Water at Room Temperature: We’ll also need water at room temperature. The water will help to hydrate the flour and activate the yeast, allowing the dough to develop and rise.
Olive Oil: Next, we’ll be needing olive oil: the oil will add moisture and richness, preventing the dough from becoming too dry and aiding in achieving a soft, tender crumb.
Orange Zest: We’ll also need some orange zest. The zest will infuse our limpa bread with a bright citrus flavor, perfectly balancing the rich molasses and brown sugar.
Brown Sugar and Molasses: We’ll be needing some brown sugar and molasses. These ingredients will add sweetness and a depth of flavor to the loaf, enhancing the overall taste profile of the bread.
Raisins: We’ll also need some raisins. This ingredient will add bursts of sweetness to the loaf, complimenting the earthy flavors of the rye and spices.
Salt: We’ll be needing some salt. Salt will enhance the flavor of all other ingredients, bringing out their best qualities and providing a perfect balance to the sweetness of the bread.
Various Spices: We’ll be needing fennel seeds, caraway seeds, and ground cardamom. These spices will add a unique and aromatic flavor to the bread, contributing to the distinctive character of the Swedish limpa bread.
How to Make Limpa Step by Step
Making this incredible limpa recipe at home is super easy and will give you great results every single time. Here's how to make it step by step:
1. Make fermented dough
In a medium or large bowl mix together 1 cup of rye flour, 3 tablespoon of all-purpose flour, ½ teaspoon active dry yeast, and warm water. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap or towel and place the bowl in a warm place for 3-5 hours. It will increase in size by 1 ½ - 2 times.
2. Prepare the soaker
About 4 hours into the rising, in a small saucepan combine water, olive oil, orange zest, cardamom, fennel seeds, caraway seeds, sugar and molasses. Bring this mixture to a boil, remove from the heat, cover with a lid and let it come to a warm temperature, about 95 F.
3. Make the dough
In a bowl of stand mixer (such as Kitchen Aid) fitted with a hook, combine fermented dough, the soaker, 1 cup and 3 tablespoon of all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon of active dry yeast and 1 teaspoon of salt. Knead on the second speed for 10 minutes. You should knead until the dough comes together in a ball, but expect it to be slightly sticky. Add raisins and knead for 30 more seconds. Put the dough into a lightly greased bowl and place in a warm place for 1 hour - 1 hour and 30 minutes or until it increases by 1 ½ or 2 times.
Mixing the dough by hands
If you're not using a stand mixer, you can knead the dough by hands, but after you combine the ingredients, leave the dough to rest for 10 minutes. Then, knead until the dough comes together. Again, it will be slightly sticky. Try not to add flour, although if it sticks to a working surface a great deal, you can dust with a bit of all-purpose flour.
4. Shape the bread
Slightly moisten your hands with oil and on a lightly oiled surface shape the bread into a round loaf. I found this tutorial to be particularly useful.
Place it on a parchment covered baking sheet. Generously dust with 1-2 tablespoon of all-purpose flour and cover the bread with a plastic wrap. Place it in a warm place for 1 hour/1 hour and 30 minutes until it increases by 1 ½ or 2 times.
If you wish, you can use a sharp knife to make a simple pattern by scoring the bread.
5. Preheat the oven and bake
20 minutes before the rising is complete, preheat the oven to 480 F. Fill a medium rimmed baking pan (8 by 8 in) with 2 cups of boiling water and place the pan on the lowest rack in the oven. (The steam from the water will prevent the crust from becoming too hard).
Place Limpa on the middle rack in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Very carefully, remove the pan with the water, reduce the oven temperature to 355 F and bake for another 15 minutes.
Transfer the bread on a cooling rack and wait a minimum of 8 hours before slicing it. This time is necessary for the rye flour inside the bread to finish fermentation and for the loaf to cool completely.
Tips For Making the Best Limpa Every Single Time
Active Dry Yeast proofing: The recipe calls for active dry yeast which needs to be proofed before use. Make sure that the water you’re using is at room temperature, as too hot or too cold can kill the yeast or prevent it from activating. You’ll know it is ready when it is frothy and bubbly.
Preparing the dough: When preparing your dough, patience is key. Be sure to knead the dough until it comes together in a ball and appears slightly sticky. This may take some time, especially if you’re doing it by hand, but it is crucial for a well-textured loaf.
Rising time matters: The dough needs sufficient time to rise for your loaf to have that light, airy texture. Don’t rush this step – let it increase to 1 ½ - 2 times its original size. It is worth the wait.
Baking the bread: Prior to baking, score the bread to allow it to expand in the oven without tearing. Also, make sure to preheat your oven and use a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Remember to reduce the oven temperature halfway through for even baking.
Cooling and slicing: Resist the temptation to slice the bread right out of the oven. Let it cool completely, preferably for a minimum of 8 hours. This helps the flavors to develop fully and makes slicing easier.
Exploring variations: This recipe is quite versatile. You can explore variations by adding different spices or incorporating other ingredients like beer or prunes, as is common in certain Scandinavian variations of the recipe.
Using the right equipment: If you’re not using a stand mixer, you can knead the dough by hand. But remember to let the dough rest for 10 minutes after combining the ingredients before you knead. This will help to develop the gluten in the dough, resulting in a better texture. If the dough sticks to the working surface, dust it with a bit of all-purpose flour.
Allow it to rest: Since the dough takes quite some time to rise and then it's better not to slice it for at least 9 hours, I recommend making this healthy vegan bread the day before you plan to serve it.
- Swedish Limpa bread, with its unique blend of rye and wheat flour, spices, molasses, and raisins, pairs excellently with a traditional Swedish cheese platter. The sharp and creamy flavors of the cheese balance the sweet and hearty flavor of the bread, making for a delightful experience.
- A hearty bowl of Swedish meatballs could be a perfect main dish to accompany this bread. The robust flavor of the meatballs compliments the sweet, spiced Limpa bread, creating a fulfilling and comforting meal.
- You can also serve this limpa bread alongside a warm bowl of beetroot soup. The earthy flavor of the soup matches well with the sweet and slightly tangy taste of the bread, offering a comforting and wholesome meal.
- Another great pairing for limpa bread is pickled herring. The tangy, salty flavors of the herring contrast the sweet, spiced bread, offering an exciting mix of flavors to your palate.
- This bread can be enjoyed with a cup of strong coffee for breakfast or a midday snack. The rich, dark flavor of the coffee is a great contrast to the sweet, slightly spiced bread.
Recipe Variation Ideas for Limpa
This delicious Limpa recipe is so flavorful and easy to make, you'll want to try out some of these delicious variations! Here are some great ideas:
Extra Spiced: For those who love a rich, aromatic loaf, add a teaspoon of ground cloves and a half teaspoon of nutmeg to the dough. These spices will add a warming depth of flavor to the rye bread, making it even more perfect for the holiday season.
Fruit-Filled: If you enjoy sweet and savory combinations, try adding a half cup of chopped dried apricots or cranberries to the dough along with the raisins. This will give your Limpa bread a delightful fruitiness that pairs beautifully with the robust molasses and rye flour.
Nutty Delight: For a crunchier texture and a boost of flavor, add a half cup of chopped walnuts or almonds to the dough. Nuts compliment the hearty rye flavor and make the bread even more satisfying.
Frequently Asked Questions
Swedish Limpa Bread is unique due to its combination of rye and wheat flour, spices, molasses, and raisins. It is a Scandinavian sweet bread that’s a staple at Christmas Eve buffets and is known for its distinct flavor and texture.
The fermented dough should increase in size by 1 ½ – 2 times. This typically takes around 3-5 hours. If the dough has grown to this size, then it has risen enough.
The soaker is a mixture of ingredients, including brown sugar, molasses, and various spices, that is brought to a boil and then cooled. It enhances the flavor of the Swedish limpa bread and infuses it with a unique blend of sweet and savory notes.
Yes, you can knead the dough by hand. After combining the ingredients for the dough, leave it to rest for 10 minutes, then knead until the dough comes together. It will be slightly sticky, so be careful not to add too much extra flour.
Scoring the bread creates a pattern on the loaf and allows for controlled expansion of the dough in the oven. It can also enhance the appearance of the final rye bread loaf.
The steam from the boiling water prevents the crust of the bread from becoming too hard. It also helps to create a nice crust and improve the oven spring, which is the final burst of rising just after the loaf is put in the oven.
If the dough is too sticky, you can add a little more all-purpose flour. However, be careful not to add too much as it could make the dough too dry.
How to Store Leftover Limpa
Storing leftover Swedish Limpa bread is an easy task, making sure that you can enjoy this uniquely flavorful rye bread for days to come. Here’s how you can store your leftover Limpa, following a few simple steps.
For refrigeration, place your Limpa loaf in an airtight container or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. It will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to a week at room temperature. When you are you are ready to enjoy again, you can reheat the bread in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, wrap the bread in aluminum foil to prevent it from drying out, and heat for about 15 minutes.
If you have a larger quantity of leftover Limpa bread, freezing is also an excellent option. Simply wrap the bread tightly in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil. It can be frozen for up to one month. Make sure to thaw the bread at room temperature before reheating it in the oven.
Reheating instructions are similar to those for refrigerated Limpa. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and warm the bread, wrapped in foil, for about 15 minutes.
More Christmas Desserts
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For the fermented dough
For the soaker
Make the fermented dough
- In a medium bowl mix rye flour, all-purpose flour, active dry yeast and water. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and place the bowl in a warm place for 3-5 hours. It will increase in size by 1 ½ – 2 times.
Prepare the soaker
- About 4 hours into the rising, in a small saucepan combine water, olive oil, orange zest, cardamom, fennel seeds, caraway seeds, sugar and molasses. Bring this mixture to a boil, remove from the heat, cover with a lid and let it come to a warm temperature, about 95 F.
Make the dough
- In a bowl of stand mixer (such as Kitchen Aid) fitted with a hook, combine fermented dough, the soaker, 1 c and 3 tablespoon of all-purpose flour, active dry yeast and salt. Knead on the second speed for 10 minutes. You should knead until the dough comes together in a ball, but expect it to be slightly sticky. Add raisins and knead for 30 more seconds. Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and place in a warm place for 1 hour – 1 hour and 30 minutes until it increases by 1 ½ or 2 times. (See the instructions for hand kneading in the Notes section below)
Shape the bread
- Slightly moisten your hands with oil and on a lightly oiled surface shape the bread into a round loaf. I found this tutorial to be particularly useful.
- Place it on a parchment covered baking sheet. Generously dust with the remaining 1-2 tablespoon of all-purpose flour and cover the bread with a plastic wrap. Place it in a warm place for 1 hour/1 hour and 30 minutes until it increases by 1 ½ or 2 times.If you wish, you can use a sharp knife to make a simple pattern by scoring the bread.
Preheat the oven and bake
- 20 minutes before the rising is complete, preheat the oven to 480 F. Fill a medium rimmed baking pan (8 by 8 in) with 2 cups of boiling water and place the pan on the lowest rack in the oven. (The steam from the water will prevent the crust from becoming too hard).
- Place Limpa on the middle rack in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Very carefully, remove the pan with the water, reduce the oven temperature to 355 F and bake for another 15 minutes.
- Transfer the bread on a cooling rack and I recommend to wait a minimum of 8 hours before slicing it.