I have eaten a LOT over the past few weeks. And I don’t mean I have eaten a lot of healthy salads and fish and rice (although I did gorge myself on sushi one night). I mean about a thousand (I say thousand instead of million because I want you to be sure I am not exaggerating) cookies have passed through my mouth. Not to mention pie slices, pastries, fried fish, sweetbreads, and candies.
So I am posting this Swedish Limpa Bread for very good reasons. 1) Now that you are a bread-baking expert, you should branch out! 2) I don’t particularly care for this bread, which makes it my ally during these most will-trying times 3) I wanted to make a “limp” pun in the title of my post (badum CHING!). Don’t get me wrong, this bread is absolutely lovely. It was requested by name at my boyfriend’s holiday dinner. I have nothing against the Swedes (although I AM a Finnish citizen now and I’m pretty much genetically required to think Swedes are a little arrogant)
The orange rind smells wonderfully, and it’s lovely paired with molasses and aniseed. Everyone needs a little more Scandinavia in their lives.
This dough is VERY STICKY. You will be a hot mess when you do the first kneading. Let it rest like they tell you to, and things will work out.
Swedish Limpa Bread
from The Bread Bible
4 tablespoons dark molasses
2 tablespoons corn syrup
10 fluid oz bitter ale / 1 ¼ cups
3 tablespoons butter
2 ¼ teaspoons salt
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups rye flour
2 teaspoons orange zest (from 1 orange)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon aniseed
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon instant yeast
1. Combine the molasses, corn syrup, ale, butter and salt in a small saucepan. Heat over low heat until the butter is melted. Pour into a measuring cup and let cool.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the all purpose flour, rye flour, orange zest, sugar, aniseed, fennel seeds and yeast.
3. Gradually add the cooled liquid mixture and stir until all the flour is moistened. Knead the dough in the bowl until it comes together, then knead it on a floured surface for 5 minutes, adding as little flour as possible. Cover it with an inverted bowl and let rest for 20 minutes. Knead the dough for another 5 minutes until it’s very smooth. Add some additional flour if the dough is sticky.
(OR use a KitchenAid: using a dough hook, mix the mixture on low for about 1 minute, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes. Next, knead the dough on medium speed for 7 minutes. Knead in some flour on the counter if the dough is too sticky.)
4. Now, place the dough in a lightly greased 2-quart bowl (or dough rising container). Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, 1 to 3 hours, ideally in 75 – 80 degrees.
5. Once it’s doubled, scrape it out on a floured surface, cut it in half, give it a business letter turn (stretch the dough out and fold it on top of it a couple of times) and cover and let rest for 30 minutes. Shape into 2 loafs and set on a lined baking sheet 2 inches apart, cover with an oiled plastic wrap. Let rise until almost doubled, 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 min.
6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. On the lowest shelf in the oven, place a cast-iron pan or a sheet pan. Above, place a baking stone or a sheet pan.
7. Slash the bread with a serrated knife by making 4 diagonal slashes on the top of each loaf. Mist the dough with water. Set the baking sheet on the hot stone. Toss ½ cup of ice cubes into the pan beneath and shut the door immediately. Bake for 5 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for 20-25 minutes or until an instant read thermometer in the center reads 190 degrees. Turn the sheet pan around halfway through for even baking.
8. Let cool on a wire rack and wrap each loaf in a baking towel.