Swedish Limpa Bread

Swedish Limpa bread
erik forsberg / Flickr / CC BY 2.0
  • Total: 3 hrs 30 mins
  • Prep: 3 hrs
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: 2 loaves (12 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
166 Calories
6g Fat
26g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2 loaves (12 servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 166
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 8%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 10mg 3%
Sodium 823mg 36%
Total Carbohydrate 26g 10%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Protein 2g
Calcium 64mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Also known as vörtlimpa (“wort loaf”), Swedish limpa bread was originally made from the fermented brewer’s wort produced in beer-making. Many excellent recipes still include stout beer as a key ingredient, but it is also quite common, especially during the Christmas season, to make variations flavored solely with combinations of orange rind, fennel, caraway, and anise seeds.


  • 1 3/4 cups orange juice
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup dark molasses
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon anise seeds
  • 1 (2 1/4 teaspoons) package active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoon freshly grated orange peel
  • 2 1/2 cups medium rye flour
  • 2 to 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat oven to 300 F, turning it off immediately once heated.

  2. In a small saucepan, combine the orange juice, butter, molasses, brown sugar, fennel seeds, caraway seeds, and anise seeds. Bring it to a low boil. Maintain the low boil for 5 minutes. Remove it from the burner and let it cool until the mixture is lukewarm.

  3. Once the liquid spice mixture is warm, but not hot, to the touch, whisk in the active dry yeast, salt, and grated orange peel.

  4. Place the liquid in a mixing bowl and gradually stir in 2 1/2 cups rye flour. Continue to add in 2 to 3 cups of all-purpose flour until the dough is soft and pliable (it will be slightly sticky).

  5. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes.

  6. Either by hand or with the dough hook of your mixer, knead the dough lightly for about 5 minutes, until the dough is stiff and smooth.

  7. Place the dough in a greased bowl (either oil or butter is fine), flipping the dough once to coat it with grease. Cover the bowl with a clean towel, place it in a warmed oven, and let it rise until double, about 1 hour.

  8. After the dough is risen, punch it down, divide it into 2 halves, and shape it into 2 round loaves.

  9. Place the loaves on a lightly-floured baking pan or pizza paddle (if you use a bread stone in your oven). Cover it with a towel and let the loaves rise on the counter until doubled, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

  10. Preheat oven to 375 F. When the loaves have risen, place them in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until they are dark, crusty and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

  11. Serve and enjoy!