Swedish Rye Bread (Bread Machine & By Hand)

How to Make Swedish Rye Bread with a Bread Machine or by Hand


My dad's favorite homemade bread is a traditional Swedish Rye, a yeast bread that's slightly sweet and bright with orange zest, anise (or fennel) and caraway. So I adapted our old family recipe for Swedish Rye Bread for the bread machine, that means he can make it too! He's a popular guy at potlucks, walking in with a warm loaf of just-baked bread. All the widows swoon! But me? I knead the bread by hand and shape my own loaves. Whether made in a bread machine or by hand, either way, Swedish Rye Bread is a welcome treat, plain, spread with a little butter or toasted.
How to Make Swedish Rye Bread in a Bread Machine of By Hand ♥ KitchenParade.com, the traditional recipe, slightly sweet, bright with orange, anise and caraway. Recipes, many insider tips, nutrition and Weight Watchers points included.

COMPLIMENTS!
  • "I made your recipe for the rye bread and it came out perfect ..." ~ Pauline
  • "Just made bread by hand, tastes great." ~ Fishook
  • "... excellent. Slightly hearty, but at the same time very light, fluffy, moist and smooth." ~ Rosa's Yummy Yums
  • "Super yummy!" ~ Yeremia
  • "This is the lost recipe I had in the 1960s! So happy to have it back!" ~ Ilene
  • "Great recipe, very delicious bread! It is my number one bread now!" ~ Lucy
  • "What a treat!" ~ Pamela


On cool Saturday mornings, the oven seems to plead to this long-time bread maker, “Make bread! Please! Make bread!” Most loaves emerge plump and fragrant, demanding to be sliced and buttered on the spot.

In my home state of Minnesota, home to generations of Swedes, Finns and Norwegians, there are many accomplished bread bakers. Every time my dad bites into a slice of rye bread, I know he's silently comparing it to Barbara Robinson's (a family friend, sadly long gone) who made the best Swedish rye in town. No wonder I've worked so hard to really perfect Swedish Rye Bread!

But First? I Had to Conquer the Bread Machine.

Enter my summer nemesis, a bread machine borrowed to convert our recipe for Swedish rye, a family favorite.

What trouble! Only three of the first fourteen loaves were perfect. I made one silly mistake after another, like forgetting to insert the kneading blade or to press the Start button.

From much trial and many errors, I learned that an automatic breadmaker certainly isn’t goofproof. But experience breeds understanding.


  • I learned that the extra oomph in rapid-rise yeast creates a round top on heavy, European-style bread.
  • I learned to store (or bring) yeast at (to) room temperature.
  • I learned to open the lid during the first kneading cycle to scrape flour from the sides by hand.
  • I learned to close the lid, let the machine do its work and hope for perfection.

Lucky us, finally, I’ve got it!

I proudly present to you, Swedish Rye Bread for the bread machine, along with the make-it-by-hand method. Both work great.

What Is Swedish Rye Bread?

How to Make Swedish Rye Bread in a Bread Machine of By Hand ♥ KitchenParade.com, the traditional recipe, slightly sweet, bright with orange, anise and caraway. Recipes, many insider tips, nutrition and Weight Watchers points included.

Before we move into how to make Swedish Rye Bread, either in a bread maker or by hand, let's go back to basics and remember what Swedish Rye is.

Swedish Rye Bread is some times called "Swedish Limpa" and is a yeast bread traditional in Sweden. It's slightly sweet and has a tight crumb.

In part, its distinctive flavor comes from one of two flours in Swedish Rye, the rye flour itself. Rye is a grass grown as a grain, it's closely related to wheat and barley.

But rye flour is only one source of Swedish Rye's flavor. It has a delicate scent and taste of orange; it's seasoned with both anise and caraway.

Swedish Rye makes great sandwich bread, great toast and will send you over the top when butter is slathered onto a warm heel ... or orange marmalade ... oops, sorry, I'm getting ahead of us, in anticipation!

What Ingredients Are Needed to Make Swedish Rye Bread?

How to Make Swedish Rye Bread in a Bread Machine of By Hand ♥ KitchenParade.com, the traditional recipe, slightly sweet, bright with orange, anise and caraway. Recipes, many insider tips, nutrition and Weight Watchers points included.

Swedish Rye Bread has a short list of signature ingredients. Without these, you can make bread but you're not making Swedish Rye Bread.

  • Yeast for Leavening – rapid rise yeast for the bread machine; active dry for mixing by hand
  • Flours for Volume & Flavor – a mix of bread flour and rye flour (either light rye or dark rye, we prefer the dark rye flour)
  • For Tenderness – a bit of butter
  • For Sweetness, Color & Yeast Activation – brown sugar
  • For Shelf Life – a wet sweetener such as honey or sorghum; a little molasses works too
  • For Authentic Swedish Rye Flavor – orange zest or minced orange peel; whole anise seed or ground anise or better yet, some of each; caraway seed, either whole or ground; and the all-important salt

Can You Make Swedish Rye Bread With All Rye Flour?

No!

Rye is relatively low in the all-important gluten that gives bread its structure. That's why Swedish Rye includes two flours, rye flour and bread flour. Without the bread flour, Swedish Rye wouldn't rise well. My recipe uses a 1:1 mix of rye flour:bread flour. Once, I was short on bread flour and just threw in some extra rye, thinking all would be well. It wasn't!

What Is Bread Flour? And Is It Necessary?

Flour on counter ♥ KitchenParade.com

Welllllllll, that answer is a little more complicated. Here's my thinking.

We may think of "flour" as just that commonplace dusty stuff that comes from a bag and is used for baking cookies and cakes and bread. All flour is the same, right? No, all flours are definitely not all the same!

Wheat has been cultivated by humankind for 10,000 years. We've gotten pretty specialized! In today's world, there are so many types of flour on the shelf, it can get confusing.

The grain can vary (wheat vs rye, say) but there's also the milling process (whole-grain vs refined, say) to say nothing of the different varieties of wheat (spring wheat vs winter wheat, say) and different flour traditions (American vs Italian vs Indian, say) and the manufacturer (King Arthur vs Pillsbury, say).

But let's focus! For bread, the one factor we're most concerned with is the percentage of gluten (aka protein) in a flour. And for our purposes, we're going to hone in on just a couple of everyday flours.

  • Bread Flour – has high gluten, the range is 10-13%
  • All Purpose Flour – this is the "plain" flour we use most often in baking, with 9-12% gluten

The percentages don't sound that different, right? They're not. So here's how I look at it:

  • If you're buying a fresh bag of flour just to make bread, buy bread flour
  • If you are short on bread flour, make up the difference with all-purpose flour
  • If all you've got is all-purpose, just make the bread and get on with it

Fresh Flour Is Important

What I will say is this.

If your flour is more than three months old on the shelf? Buy fresh flour before making bread.

If you have no idea how old the flour on the shelf is? Buy fresh flour before making bread.

If you give your flour a sniff and it smells dusty or a little bit "off"? Buy fresh flour before making bread.

Flour gets old, flour gets stale. It's meant to be used not just stored!

Good bread is worth special effort and investment. Your time is worth special effort and investment. Why go to the trouble of making good homemade bread but then use old ingredients?

Off my soapbox breadbox.

Can Fennel Be Substituted for Anise?

Fennel and anise are indeed related but not the same spice. But fennel and anise taste so much the same, I use either one to make Swedish Rye. I promise, your bread will be so good, nobody's going to complain either way!

Good Bread. It's Why I Bake Bread.

How to Make Swedish Rye Bread in a Bread Machine of By Hand ♥ KitchenParade.com, the traditional recipe, slightly sweet, bright with orange, anise and caraway. Recipes, many insider tips, nutrition and Weight Watchers points included.

European-style bread is hard to find in the U.S., the land of soft, shelf-stable white bread.

So I was especially humbled when a Swiss blogger made the family's Swedish Rye and showered it with praise.

Rosa from Rosa's Yummy Yums wrote:


"This Swedish Rye Bread is excellent ... slightly hearty, but at the same time ...very light, fluffy, moist and smooth. ... incredible and original flavor originates from the caraway/fennel seeds as well as the orange rind ... The crust is gorgeously crunchy and tasty ... not too dark, yet not plain at all, this loaf will [please those who like] white and brown breads [and] brioche type breads. A must-try for all of you bread addicts and homebakers!"


Blush.

How to Tell When Bread Is Done.

Have you ever cut into homemade bread and found it, well, not quite done in the center? No more.

I love using a digital thermometer [My Disclosure Promise] for meat but did you know, you can use the exact same technique for baking bread. I just baked two round free-form loaves until the interior reached 190F/90C. The bread was perfectly done, no more guesswork!

If you make the same bread over and over again, you'll soon learn how long it takes to get to the proper internal temperature and can switch back to a timer.

Where There's Bread, There's Butter.

How to Make Swedish Rye Bread in a Bread Machine of By Hand ♥ KitchenParade.com, the traditional recipe, slightly sweet, bright with orange, anise and caraway. Recipes, many insider tips, nutrition and Weight Watchers points included.

Have you seen a butter bell? It keeps butter just the right temperature for easy spreading. It’s a must if you love bread ‘n’ butter! [My Disclosure Promise]



Just updated! First published way back in 2006.

FAMILY RECIPE: SWEDISH RYE BREAD for Bread Machine

Slightly sweet, densely delicious
Hands-on time: 15 minutes (bread machine)
Time to table: 3-1/2 hours
Makes a 1-1/2 pound loaf
    BREAD MACHINE
  • 1-1/4 cups (275g) warm tap water
  • 1 tablespoon soft butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon table salt
  • 1/4 cup (70g) honey (or sorghum or part molasses)
  • 1/4 cup (50g) brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons anise seed or ground anise or a blend (fennel works well too)
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway
  • Zest of an orange
  • 1-1/2 cups (190g) bread flour
  • 1-1/2 cups (190g) rye flour
  • 1 packet (2-1/4 teaspoons, 7g) rapid rise yeast
  • Butter

Add the ingredients in order listed, not letting the yeast touch liquid. Set for white bread and light crust. When baked, transfer to a cooling rack, brush top with butter.

ALANNA's TIPS Both anise and fennel work, so does all caraway. I like a combination of whole seeds and ground. But my favorite is a mix of fennel seed and fennel powder plus a touch of caraway. I love the taste and texture produced by Bob’s Red Mill’s dark rye flour but other ryes work too. Wheat gluten is a favorite breadmaker trick but lightens this bread too much. (2012) I no longer have a bread machine so always mix this bread by hand, even a mixer is unnecessary. But I'm puzzled that the much-tested bread-machine version can use so much less flour than what's needed to make a hand-workable dough. Is it possible that a bread machine is a calorie-saver? For just-buy-the-box convenience, Bob’s Red Mill also sells a stone ground rye bread mix for bread machines. It includes some caraway but I add fennel and orange zest to the mix. It’s not the same but good!
NUTRITION INFORMATION Twelve slices, per slice: 164 Calories; 2g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 32g Carb; 9g Sugar; 5g Fiber; 302mg Sodium; 3mg Cholesterol; 9g Sugar; 5g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 2.5 & PointsPlus 4 & SmartPoints 6 & Freestyle 6



FAMILY RECIPE: SWEDISH RYE BREAD for Mixing by Hand

Slightly sweet, densely delicious
Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 3-1/2 hours
Makes a 1-1/2 pound loaf or two smaller loaves
    HAND MIX
  • 1 packet (2-1/4 teaspoons, 7g) active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon warm tap water
  • 1-1/4 cups (275g) warm tap water
  • 1 tablespoon soft butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon table salt
  • 1/4 cup (70g) honey (or sorghum or part molasses)
  • 1/4 cup brown (50g) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons anise seed or ground anise or a blend (fennel works well too)
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway
  • Zest of an orange
  • 1-1/2 cups (190g) bread flour
  • 1-1/2 cups (190g) rye flour
  • Up to about 1 more cup bread flour, as needed for kneading
  • Butter

PROOF THE YEAST In small bowl, proof yeast with sugar and 1 tablespoon warm water. (If it doesn’t bubble up, the yeast is dead and you’ll need to repeat this step with new yeast.)

MIX & KNEAD In large mixing bowl, mix water, 1 tablespoon butter, salt, honey, brown sugar, anise, caraway and orange zest with a wooden spoon. Gently stir in 1 cup bread flour and proofed yeast. Add remaining bread flour and rye flour until combined, then knead for 5 minutes, adding bread flour as needed.

FIRST RISE Transfer to a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until roughly doubled in size. With a fist, gently deflate the dough.

SHAPE & SECOND RISE Form into a loaf, transfer to a greased loaf pan. Alternatively, shape into two round loaves and arrange apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Either way, cover the loaves and let rise in a warm place until double.

BAKE Heat oven to 375F/190C. Bake loaf until the center of the bread reaches an internal temperature of 190F/90C, about 35 – 45 minutes for a single loaf in a bread pan, about 30 minutes for two rond loaves on an open baking sheet. Let cool for 5 minutes, remove from pan, brush top with butter, finish cooling.

ALANNA's TIPS Both anise and fennel work, so does all caraway. My favorite is a mix of fennel seed and fennel powder plus a touch of caraway. I love the taste and texture produced by Bob’s Red Mill’s dark rye flour but other ryes work too. Wheat gluten is a favorite breadmaker trick but lightens this bread too much. Don't add wheat gluten! When mixed by hand, this bread works beautifully with a "slow first rise" in the refrigerator overnight. For years, I baked Swedish Rye Bread in traditional loaf pans. Now I usually form two or some times three round loaves, they hold up beautifully and look so pretty in a basket, a nice hostess gift.
NUTRITION INFORMATION Twelve slices, per slice: 203 Calories; 2g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 40g Carb; 9g Sugar; 5g Fiber; 302mg Sodium; 3mg Cholesterol; 6g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 4 & PointsPlus 5 & SmartPoints7 & Freestyle 7

More Homemade Bread Recipes

(hover with a mouse for a description; otherwise click a photo to view the recipe)

Best-Ever Oatmeal Bread Light 'n' Fluffy Homemade Whole-Grain Bread & Buns Our Daily Bread: My Easy Everyday Bread Recipe
~ more homemade bread recipes ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2006, 2012, 2014 & 2019 (repub)

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.

Comments

  1. Bread looks so good!! I am not a baker,I'm afraid!! I buy 7 grain loaf,that's abt it!:))
    Fennel seeds must add nice aroma and texture!! I could smell it right now!!YUM!!

    10/06/2006

    ReplyDelete
  2. Bread. Hmmm. I was just thinking the other day that I should post a few of my bread recipes that I have created from scratch.

    I also love the butter bell. It has taken our guests awhile to figure it out. The water scares them. I like that when we go away for a week I don't have to put the butter in the fridge and them come home to stone hard butter and a desire for soft butter on bread.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Looks good! I love the detailed tips you always give with your recipes. Thanks for participating!

    10/06/2006

    ReplyDelete
  4. Alanna,
    Fennel wouldn't have occured to me, I' have to try it.

    Oh, and I fixed the post you comment on. Thanks.

    10/07/2006

    ReplyDelete
  5. Pauline7/16/2007

    I made your recipe for the rye bread and it came out perfect, thanks. I've been using a bread machine (this is my 3rd) since Christmas of 1987. I found that most recipes need adjustments in either flour or liquid. I just keep my eye on the first kneading and work it from there. ... Your weekend sounds terrific. What fun to get all those interesting people together.

    10/11/07

    ReplyDelete
  6. Asha ~ You say you're not a baker but until recently, you didn't cook zucchini either and now you love it! Maybe bread's next?!

    Chrispy ~ Please do, especially your own recipes.

    Danielle ~ Thanks! I learn so much from others, it's nice to pass a little along.

    Kevin ~ Fennel somehow turns Swedish rye into, well, Swedish rye!

    10/11/06

    ReplyDelete
  7. That bread souds interesting! I'm going to test your recipe this week... Thanks for sharing!

    6/13/2007

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  8. Anonymous10/23/2007

    Just made bread by hand Tastes great.Crunchier than made in machine.Thanks for details.I need them
    Fishook

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Fishhook ~ The flavor is great, isn't it?! So glad it worked for you. Not sure what you mean by 'crunchier' (that doesn't sound good in bread, does it?) but there is a texture difference between breads baked in a bread maker and ones kneaded and rolled by hand, for sure. Thanks so much for taking the time to write!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks for the mention! I really love this bread!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    ReplyDelete
  11. Yet another recipe to add to my long, long list if I've been far too lazy to try. I'm going to dust off the old sunbeam breadmaker this weekend though!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Super yummy! I ate 2 slices right away after I finished making this bread! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!! Forget buying store bought bread!!

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  13. Anonymous1/26/2014

    I've not tried this yet but it sounds like just what I have been looking for. My mother made amazing rye bread but unfortunately made it from memory so no written recipe.
    I will leave out the fennel and make in the bread machine on the dough setting and bake it in a loaf pan.

    ReplyDelete
  14. This is the lost recipe(without the fennel) I had in the 1960's!!
    So happy to have it back- It was a family recipe of a friend that baked it for Christmas.Back then it was easy to find Gold Medal rye and wheat flour already mixed half and half in 5 lb bags!! Thanks! So Much!!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I found my bread to be much too sweet. I'm not a huge fan, granted, I didn't have fennel or caraway so that may be why

    ReplyDelete
  16. I made this bread already 4-5 times. This recipe is great, I shared it with my sister-in-law, and she loved it too! This bread is great. I used half-honey and half-molasses. Fennel- both ground and whole seeds, mixed. Great recipe, very delicious bread! It is my number one bread now!

    I would appreciate if you share more recipes for the bread machine.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Pamela1/29/2016

    I made your rye bread by hand and divided it into four mounds forming bread bowls. When it was done and cooled, I served my thick and cheesy potato soup in them. What a treat!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Pamela ~ You are so smart! I love-love-love your idea! It would be great with the Scandinavian pea soup too ... thanks for letting me know, so appreciated!

    ReplyDelete

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna