Limpa (Swedish Orange-Rye Bread) Recipe

Swedish limpa bread recipe

The Spruce / Nita West

Prep: 3 hrs
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 3 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
292 Calories
5g Fat
56g Carbs
7g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 292
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 3g 13%
Cholesterol 10mg 3%
Sodium 321mg 14%
Total Carbohydrate 56g 20%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Total Sugars 14g
Protein 7g
Vitamin C 20mg 98%
Calcium 44mg 3%
Iron 2mg 8%
Potassium 339mg 7%
*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Also known as vörtlimpa (“wort loaf”), Swedish limpa bread was originally made from the fermented brewer’s wort produced in beer-making.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 (2-ounces) unsalted 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 package (1/4 teaspoon) active dry yeast

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated orange zest

  • 2 1/2 cups medium rye flour

  • 2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour, or bread flour

Steps to Make It

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

    Ingredients for Swedish limpa bread
    The Spruce / Nita West
  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.

    Boil sauce
    The Spruce / Nita West
  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.

    Add orange
    The Spruce / Nita West 
  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).

    Place liquid in a mixing bowl
    The Spruce / Nita West
  5. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes.

    Let dough rest
    The Spruce / Nita West
  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.

    Dough in bowl
    The Spruce / Nita West
  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.

    Place dough in greased bowl
    The Spruce / Nita West 
  8. After the dough is risen, punch it down, divide it into 2 halves, and shape it into 2 round loaves.

    Punch down dough
    The Spruce / Nita West
  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.

    Place loaves in pan
    The Spruce / Nita West
  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.

    The Spruce / Nita West
  11. Serve and enjoy.

    Slice bread
    The Spruce / Nita West