Swedish Limpe

by Rachel on March 11, 2012

Swedish Limpe

When I was a child commercial bread never entered the house. My mother baked bread every week. My absolute favorite was Swedish Limpe. It’s a slightly sweet rye bread that is tender to chew because of the addition of gluten flour. When my sister and I went off to college we missed Swedish Limpe so much that my sister begged our mother to ship us some. That Federal Express package filled with bread was one of the highlights of my college experience. My sister says that when her loaf arrived she sat down on the floor of her dorm room and ate all of it – never offering a bite to her roommates!

Mom's Swedish Limpe next to Mom's Succulents

Swedish Limpe (three standard sized loaves)

  • 4 cups water
  • 1⅓ cups brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 2 teaspoons anise seeds
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons dry yeast
  • 4 cups all-purpose white flour
  • 2 cups gluten flour (this should NOT be confused with gluten-free flour – this is the OPPOSITE, it is flour with a higher gluten content. You can find it at Whole Foods or online at King Arthur Flour)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3-4 cups (approx) rye flour

Boil together water, sugar, caraway seeds, anise seeds, and oil for 3 minutes. Let mixture cool to just warm. My mother allows this mixture to sit on the stovetop, covered, overnight. She argues that it allows the caraway and anise seeds to infuse the liquid with more of their flavor. If you take this step you’ll need to warm the water slightly in the morning before you add the yeast. Stir thoroughly to dissolve yeast. Wait for the yeast to begin to bubble.

The dough after adding the white & gluten flour

Stir in 2 cups of the white flour and two cups of the gluten flour. Once that is fully incorporated add the final 2 cups of white flour, blend in completely. Once all of the flour has been incorporated, beat for at least 100 strokes. This develops the gluten and will make the bread chewy. My mother does this in a large mixing bowl using a long handled wooden spoon and she literally counts each blending stroke.

The dough after it was beaten 100 strokes

The dough after the first rise, before it was punched down

Place dough in a warm place and let rise for approximately 1 hour. If the back of your stove is warm (NOT hot), set it there. Or, turn on your oven to its lowest setting, allow it to become warm (100 degrees) but NOT hot. Put the dough in the warm oven, covered, and let it rise with the oven door ajar. You want it to rise until it doubles in bulk. If you let it rise too much it will collapse. Watch the sponge carefully so that it does not fall.

The shaped loaf before its last rise

Stir down the dough. Add the salt and enough rye flour to make a stiff dough. This will take between 3-4 cups of flour. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a clean surface such as a large breadboard, or a clean kitchen counter. Knead thoroughly (approximately ten minutes). You may need to add additional flour. You want the dough to hold together and not stick to your hands. When you have mixed in the rye flour and are ready to have the dough rise, put 2 teaspoons of canola oil in a large mixing bowl. Turn the dough in the bowl so that it is coated in canola oil on all sides, so that it will not dry out while it is rising. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise again until doubled in bulk, about 1-1½ hours. Stir down the dough in the bowl to remove all large air bubbles. Turn the dough out of the bowl onto your breadboard or clean kitchen counter. Knead slightly and shape into loaves.  Place seam side down in greased loaf pans, making sure the topside of your loaves is lightly oiled as well. Let rise again for ½ an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Ready to be Fedexed to your favorite starving student (or to me!)

Bake loaves for one hour. Makes three loaves.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jay Maguire March 11, 2012 at 6:22 pm

This looks really beautiful, Rachel. I especially like the addition of the anise seeds, which are a big favorite of mine and not commonly found in artisan breads available at Whole Foods or Central Market. Your post makes this look easy, so we’re definitely going to try making it!

Jess March 15, 2012 at 4:11 am


Just wanted to point out that the correct term in Swedish should be ‘limpa’ with an a. And you are right, it is the best bread in the world!!

will try this receipe!


Eileen December 14, 2016 at 8:06 am

Love the pictures! My grandmother had a bakery in Lorstrand, and I use her recipe for Limpe–with an ‘e’. She also adds fennel seed with anise seed for her recipe and the grated rind of one whole orange.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: