Limpa is a Swedish raised bread made in varying shapes with both rye and wheat flour.
It is spicy and sweet, though to what degree will vary by recipe. The sweetness comes from molasses; the spices will be anise, caraway and fennel seeds.
It is meant to be moist and light and not as harsh as many other rye breads. Most versions for English speakers really tone down the amount of rye flour.
Limpa Bread will also have raisins and orange zest on more festive occasions.
Here is an “authentic” recipe for Limpa, as a Swede might make it, showing the higher proportion of rye flour. This is a plain everyday version, which omits the orange zest and raisin additions. Feel free to toss a bit of each in, if you wish.
1 package active dry yeast
4 tablespoons cold water
4 tablespoons butter, margarine or lard
1 cup (8 oz / 250 ml) milk
¼ cup of molasses
3 teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons of either fennel or anise seed, or mixture of both
3 cups rye flour
1 ¼ cups white flour
Grind or crush the seed; set aside.
Dissolve yeast in a few teaspoons of luke-warm water; set aside.
Pour the milk into a large bowl. Melt the butter, and pour into the milk, along with the molasses, salt, ground seed and the yeast with its water and stir. Stir in half the rye flour until blended, then stir in the remaining rye flour. Begin to add the white flour, reserving half of it. Beat until dough is smooth, then cover and let rise until doubled in size. Punch down, then work in half of the flour you had set aside.
Use the remaining white flour to flour a work surface or board, knead the dough well. Divide into two, shape into loaves, place on a greased baking sheet, cover and let rise until doubled in size (about 1 hour.)
Heat oven to 400 F / 200 C. When oven is hot, pop the bread in for about 30 minutes or until it sounds hollow when you rap it.
Transfer to wire rack, brush lightly with some warm water, then cover with a tea towel and let cool.