Swedish Limpa; a Tuesdays with Dorie post

IMG_6640It has been quite a while since I have participated in the Tuesdays with Dorie baking.  What can I say, life gets in the way?  Partly, the other angle; having a pile of sweets in the house for just two of us means we eat way more than we should!  When I saw the choices included a bread recipe this month, I decided to get in gear and give it a go.

Limpa is a type of black bread.  The dough is made with rye flour and is a bit on the sweet side from the addition of molasses and brown sugar but what gives it the most flavor are the aromatic seeds in the dough.  Anise, caraway and fennel seeds are crushed and added to the mix and so is a bit of orange zest (which I skipped) and the result is a slightly sweet, bread that has a touch of licorice flavor and a nice compact crumb.  The recipe suggests using it for sandwiches, much like they do in Sweden, layering it with smoked meats and cheeses.  We preferred to slice it and enjoy it toasted with butter.

IMG_6641Rather than bake it in the round 9 inch pans the recipe calls for, I used 6 inch square pans.  They made the most perfect cube shaped loaves and the slices were just large enough that two thin slices of toast were more than filling.

IMG_6643My rye flour was stone ground and it added a nice texture to the crumb.  Little flecks of rye and seeds, this one is a keeper.  Since the recipe made two loaves, I froze one for later.

Be sure to visit the website and see what we are up to and if you like, bake along with us!  To see the recipe, or bake with us, you will need the books

european rye bread; a tuesdays with dorie post


Rye bread is one of those things people either love or hate.  In my opinion, I think it is more likely related to whether or not you like caraway seeds.  Most of it would probably be better off labeled caraway bread since the distinct flavor of the seeds is all you can taste in commercially prepared rye bread.  However, as a lover of toast, rye bread, loaded with caraway and slathered in salted butter, is one of my favorite breakfasts.

This week, the Tuesdays with Dorie bakers are sharing their experiences with European Rye Bread from Baking with Julia.  If you recall, we made a similar recipe from the book, Pumpernickel loaves, a while back.  Both recipes were contributed by Lauren Groveman and they each call for the unusual step of hanging the loaf in a sling for the final rise of the shaped loaf.

IMG_2874The bread is fairly easy to mix and since it is a rye bread, the ingredient list is simple.  The only confusing part about it, finding the proper rye flour.  Allow me to wish you well with this endeavor.  Every rye bread recipe I read calls for a specific type of rye flour and not all millers produce them equally.  Essentially, the amount of whole grain used in the flour is the difference and if you would like a better understanding of what each type of rye flour is, this chart from the Whole Grains Council may help you understand it all.   While the chart does explain things, they also make it a point to mention, repeatedly, that not all millers produce equal products; the chart is more of a suggestion than a standard.  As for my bread, I have only been able to find Hodgson Mill 100% stone ground rye flour which according to the chart makes it a dark rye flour.

IMG_2451The whole grain flour gives the dough a lot of texture and it also makes it a bit denser than I like.  Working with a half batch of dough, I made just one loaf and I stuck to the recipe pretty closely.  Bread baking is not really my strong point and I really wanted to make a loaf as described by the head note of the recipe, with a brittle crust that snaps into small flakes and a soft, slightly moist and a little springy inside.


Just as the recipe instructed, I hung the shaped loaf in a towel sling and heated the oven.  As the bread hung in kitchen, it continued to rise and I could see it splitting and I knew it would not get any better in the oven.  Rather than get mad, I decided to take this as a lesson and make another half batch.  This time though, I would make a few changes.

First thing I did was to cut back on the amount of rye flour.  Since I was using whole grain, I knew it would be denser and I figured a little less would have to do.  Second change I made, a lot more kneading but not all at once.  After adding the majority of the flour to the yeast and water, I mixed the dough until it came together and formed a ball which took about 2-3 minutes and then I simply turned off the machine and let it sit there for about 10 minutes.  Once the dough was allowed to sit and rest, I resumed kneading on medium-low speed for about 12-14 minutes.  To be sure I had kneaded it enough, I attempted a window pane test and while it wasn’t perfect, I could see a huge improvement from the first loaf.


After hanging this loaf in the sling, here it is on the peel just before I put it in the oven.  This time, I gave it a wash of straight egg whites-no water and plenty of caraway seeds.  Just before I slid it into the oven, I gave it a few slashes and crossed my fingers; it couldn’t hurt…

IMG_2466As you can see from the photo, the top loaf is little more than a train wreck.  It split all over and really wasn’t very pretty.  The second loaf is on the bottom and while it is not perfect, it is easy to see that it worked out much better.  This is destined to be one of those recipes I return to multiple times in the hope of getting it right.

IMG_2463The last thing about the recipe that I found difficult to follow from reading it, the shaping method.  Rolling, stand it on the side, pinch, poke, and so on.  Hospital corners-we are talking about bread, right?  For my second loaf, on the left, I just ignored all the fussy instructions and tried to use a little common sense instead.  Looks like it worked out okay, it seems to have held the shape better.  To see the inside of the loaf, refer to the very first photo above, the second loaf is on the left and I think I like the color of that bread better than the first loaf which is on the right.

To see what the other bakers came up with, be sure to visit the Tuesdays with Dorie website and look for the LYL (leave your links) page.

tuesdays with dorie

Mixed starter bread from Baking with Julia, baked in early December 2014.
Mixed starter bread from Baking with Julia, baked in early December 2014.

Each Tuesday, the members of the Tuesdays with Dorie blogging group post photos and comments on the challenge of the week.  If you are not familiar with the group, we are currently baking our way through two of Dorie Greenspan’s books; Baking with Julia and Baking Chez Moi.  The recipes are chosen by the members each month and we post them on alternating Tuesdays, two recipes from each book.

This week, we are posting about our experiences with the Inside-out, Upside-down Tiramisu recipe from Baking with Julia.  However, I chose not to make this recipe.  Crazy, I know, but over the years, I have made so many batches of tiramisu that I just did not want to make it.  We just do not eat that much dairy and with just the two of us, I could not see the point in making it.

Fear not, I will be back again for the second Baking with Julia recipe this month because I love rye bread and the scheduled recipe is the Eastern European Rye bread on page 98.  As I mentioned above, I also participate in the Baking Chez Moi recipe challenges and next week, we are baking the Granola Energy Bars on page 328 and they sound interesting enough to me that I am looking forward to the results.

If you are interested in baking along, pick up a copy of either book and visit the website to see the schedule.  Be sure to visit the website each Tuesday and look for the “leave your links” post to read the experiences of all the participants.  Not only will you get tips and tricks to use when baking, you will get first hand reviews of each recipe, insider information if you will.  However, you will have to buy or borrow the books, we make it a rule not to publish the recipes.  Join us, we’d love to have you bake along with us!