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Monday, June 21, 2021

Swedish Limpa Bread Recipe

Top view of loaves of Swedish Limpa bred

Limpa is a bread that my family has loved and enjoyed for generations. Swedish limpa bread is a rye bread but before you say “I don’t like pumpernickel” hear me out. (And if you do like pumpernickel, you’ll be especially delighted). While this limpa bread recipes are made with rye flour, limpa has a different, more subtle taste than most rye breads . The texture and flavor are a bit lighter and there is a nice sweetness to the bread. I love limpa with a nice thick layer of cold butter, but topping with havarti cheese is another family favorite. Limpa is also lovely as toast and even good for sandwiches with meats and cheeses! If you like baking, I definitely recommend giving this limpa bread recipe a go!

Swedish Limpa Bread cut in half to show texture of bread

Our family was able to find limpa at bakeries for many years, but as time has passed and we have all moved to new places, it is increasingly difficult to find limpa. My sister-in-law did the heavy lifting and found a great limpa bread recipe that has finally taken away the family’s sadness around not find a bakery that makes good limpa! This limpa bread recipe is the winner! You can click here to access the original recipe that my Cora found. I have re-written it below with more details around preparation, including substitution information, and have added it here to the blog so I don’t lose it!

I made this limpa bread recipe last Christmas for the first time myself and it came out beautifully. It was also the first time that Owen (9 at the time) had ever eaten limpa. He took his first bite and declared that his tastebuds were in heaven. I will be making limpa again this week for our family’s Midsummer celebration, a Swedish tradition held during summer solstice. Enjoy!

Loaves of Swedish Limpa bread

And in case you are wondering, yes, I am still allergic to wheat. And yes, this week I am going to try making a GF version so I don’t have to be tortured watching everyone else eat wonderful, delicious, beautiful limpa. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Swedish Limpa Bread
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1⅓ cups dark brown sugar (light brown sugar is fine if you are in a pinch)
  • ¼ cup dark molasses
  • 2½ teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 2 teaspoons anise seed or 4 pods star star anise (I looked EVERYWHERE for anise seed but could not find it. I did a ton of research, and star anise is the best substitute for the anise in this recipe, so feel free to use star of anise in a pinch!)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 3 tablespoons yeast
  • 4 cups medium rye flour
  • 5-6 cups all-purpose flour
  1. Combine orange juice, butter, brown sugar, molasses, caraway seeds and anise seed/star anise in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil for 5 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and let cool for 5-10 minutes, then add salt and water. If using star anise, remove pods. Otherwise the seeds remain in the mixture.
  3. When mixture reaches 105º-115º F (which is quite warm but not too hot to touch), add yeast.
  4. Pour into a large mixing bowl (I use my KitchenAid stand mixer) then add rye flour and all-purpose flour. The dough will be wet and sticky, this is a-okay!
  5. Knead well. If using a stand mixer, with the dough hook knead for about 6 minutes. Again, the dough will be sticky and I highly recommend using a stand mixer if possible.
  6. Cover bowl with a cloth and let rise until double in size.
  7. Divide dough into four equal parts. Shape each piece into a round ball, folding the dough under to make a smooth top. Place on floured board, cover with cloth, and let rise one more time until double in size.
  8. Score the tops of the loaves with a sharp knife. Transfer to a preheated 350ºF oven and cook on a baking stone. Bake for about 30 minutes, until browned and internal temperature reaches 190ºF.
  9. As with most breads, let cool before cutting. Although we always break the rules and cut into just one hot loaf because it is irresistible!



  1. 1

    Are you leaving the seeds in the dough?

  2. Great question, one I had the first time I made the bread!

    Yes the seeds stay in (and you do not notice them), UNLESS you use star anise, in which case you do want to remove the pods before adding to the mixer bowl.

    Thank you!

  3. 3

    This was perfect! My husband wanted a sweet rye bread and this is great. I even made some hamburger buns with it.

  4. 4

    This is a brilliant recipe, and I’m so pleased with what a quantity it makes. Genuinely four good sized loaves! I love giving limpa bread as Christmas presents. In mine I like to add fennel and cardamom – halving the caraway to replace it with fennel, and simmering 12 cardamom pods with the other spices. I’ve saved your recipe in my own old fashioned recipe binder for posterity. 🙂

  5. 5

    I attempted this recipe twice. It didnt rise either time. Suggestions?

    • my sister-in-law has not had hers come out as well as mine. I don’t know the trick! I think the bottom line is that bread can be hard.

      dough should be fairly sticky and wet. and make sure your yeast is fresh and alive. it sounds like you probably have a yeast issue if it isn’t rising.

      hope this is helpful, cricket!

  6. 6

    Is there a special type of yeast that you use and is it possible to bake in loaf pans instead of on a stone?

  7. 7

    Can this be made in a loaf pan?

  8. Interesting question! I’m sure it would be fine and cook like a normal loaf of bread. I’ve never seen this type of bread cooked as a loaf, but with the type of dough this is I think a loaf pan would work. I am just making an educated guess! 😉 but for this bread I think it would be worth a try.

    That said, the round shape lends itself well to this bread and the crust you get cannot be accomplished with a loaf pan.

    If you don’t have a stone, alternatively you could try the Dutch oven bread baking approach. Just throwing another idea out there!


  9. 9
    Stephanie Sandberg

    I just made this and cooked it in pots but at 400 degrees and then took the lid off the pot after 30 minutes for an additional 15 minutes. Beautiful.

  10. 10
    Cristina Lindblad

    Is there a particular kind of yeast to use?

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