Swedish Rye

by Janice on April 19, 2010

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Several times, the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge has definitely asked me to go far beyond my flavor comfort zone.  Swedish Rye, also known as Limpa, is one of those breads.  There’s no way I’ve ever even heard of Swedish Rye, much less tasted a bread with ground orange peel, aniseed, fennel seed, cardamom, brown sugar, molasses, sourdough starter, and rye flour all mixed together.

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I began preparing for this bread by drying orange peel in my oven at a low temperature.  I mean, why buy something, when you can make it, right?  If I had oranges growing in my yard the way limes, lemons, and Rangpur limes are thriving, I could have started truly from scratch.  (Note to self: plant an orange tree, already, jeez!)  Once the peels were dry, I ground them in an old coffee bean grinder, where the aroma reminded me of sunshine.  Which was a big plus, since this has been the rainiest winter/spring in a long, long time.  I then ground the rest of the spices the same way.

To make the gorgeously orange-colored sponge, I added those ingredients to water and molasses, and brought the mixture to a boil.  Once that had cooled to lukewarm, I stirred in white rye flour and sourdough starter.  After about four hours, the sponge was foamy, and it got refrigerated overnight.

The next morning, after the sponge sat out to warm up a bit, I mixed bread flour, yeast, salt, and brown sugar together.  Then I added melted shortening and the sponge, and kneaded for a bit.  From there, this was a typical process, with two rises, and a bake.  (Although slashing the bread before the second rise was new to me, and it created the pretty pattern you see on top of the loaf.)

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How to describe such an exotic flavor?  You can probably imagine the orange-infused licorice flavor mixing with the flower-scented cardamom.  But then you still need to layer in that white rye nuttiness and the slight sourdough effect.  And the deep molasses spiciness and sweet brown sugar.  It was strange and wonderful, all at the same time; a soft dough with a chewy crust.

It’s not a flavor profile that will appeal to everyone.  My family thought it interesting, but abandoned it for more familiar breads.  I kept on tasting it for several days, amazed at the complexity.  Then, I had an epiphany.  Bread pudding would never, ever be the same for me again.  I’ll share that recipe with you later this week.  Because it was the best bread pudding I’ve eaten.  Period.

You can find the recipe I used for Swedish Rye in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.  I’ll be submitting this post to YeastSpotting, a collection of the week’s yeast breads around the web, by Susan at Wild Yeast.

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#37. Swedish Rye Bread and memories of an awkward teenage date. «
April 25, 2010 at 12:25 pm

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Donna@WayMoreHomemade April 19, 2010 at 10:21 am

I am not to this bread yet, but just the mention of bread pudding gets me giddy. I thoroughly enjoyed Panetone bread pudding. Thoroughly. What a wonderful thought and use for it. Beautiful loaves. Just beautiful.

Janice April 19, 2010 at 10:43 am

Thanks, Donna! I can promise you that bread pudding made from this bread is totally amazing.

Daniel
Twitter: misterrios
April 19, 2010 at 10:57 am

Twitter: @misterrios

Wow- Beautiful! Amazing how much your loaf opened up. This was one of the few that I froze because I didn’t like it too much to eat, but I also didn’t dislike it enough to abandon it. However- Bread Pudding sounds like it would be amazing with this bread. I’ll have to dig through my freezer now.

Cindy April 19, 2010 at 5:55 pm

Janice, your loaves are beautiful. You got such an open crumb. That is such dedication drying your own orange peel. I am impressed. Where do you live that you can grow citrus fruit? Lucky you!!

Janice April 19, 2010 at 6:55 pm

Daniel, thanks, and it’s worth digging through your freezer.

Cindy, thanks! However, it’s usually laziness rather than dedication that makes me do things like drying my own orange peel. Saves me a trip to the closest store, and who knows if they even carry it? Living in the San Francisco Bay area has its perks, and fresh citrus is one of them. :)

SallyBR April 21, 2010 at 12:30 pm

We loved this bread so much! I can imagine bread pudding made with it…. hummmmmm…. very nice idea!

Oggi April 21, 2010 at 3:21 pm

Janice, the loaf is beautiful. I love the color and the idea of bread pudding. Yum!

Katie April 22, 2010 at 9:56 am

Wow! This bread looks incredible and I love the sound of all the spices mixed together and a sourdough too! Wow

Kelly April 22, 2010 at 10:25 am

Gorgeous! I can’t wait to make this one. I’ve got a few to get through, but I’m looking forward to it. And I love the idea of using it for bread pudding. Definitely keeping that in mind!

Abby April 23, 2010 at 6:56 pm

Just made this sponge tonight; the bread is on tap for tomorrow. The smell is so odd . . . It’s a relief to hear about your positive experiences! And now if we don’t love the bread by itself, I can try the bread pudding . . . yum! Your loaves are beautiful!

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