Swedish Limpa Bread

Kelsey Hilts with a classic Swedish limpa bread recipe that will make your mouth water.
By Kelsey Hilts

Swedish Limpa Bread

Limpa bread is a traditional Swedish rye bread that is flavored with anise seed, molasses and sometimes orange.  When I was little, my family was lucky enough to have a friend who would bake us this bread on occasion, introducing me to its rich, intoxicating flavor.  My mom started baking it frequently and has passed the recipe on to me.  My favorite way to eat limpa is toasted with raspberry jam and Havarti cheese but the dense, moist bread goes well with many toppings and also makes gourmet sandwiches.

Swedish Limpa Bread

5.0 from 1 reviews
Swedish Limpa Bread
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time
The classic, slightly sweet Swedish limpa bread is absolutely delicious.
Recipe Type: Bread
Cuisine: Swedish
Serves: 3 loaves
  • 2¼ tsp yeast
  • 2½ cups (6dl) warm water
  • ¾ cup (17cl) molasses
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp anise seeds
  • ⅓ cup (8cl) shortening
  • 2 cups rye flour
  • 5-6 cups (12-14dl) bread flour
  • 1 egg, optional
  1. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water.  Stir in the molasses, sugar, salt, anise seeds, shortening and rye flour, one at a time.  Beat the mixture until it is smooth.  Gradually mix in the bread flour until you are able to handle the dough.  (It will still be slightly tacky.)  Knead the dough on a lightly-floured surface until you can form a smooth ball.  Place the dough ball in a greased bowl and then flip it over so that the greased side faces up.  Cover the bowl and let the dough rise for 1½-2 hours or until it has doubled in size.
  2. Punch down the dough and then round it back into a ball.  Let it rise for 1 hour.
  3. Shape the dough into three round loaves and place them on a greased baking sheet.  Cover the loaves with a towel and let them rise for 1 hour.
  4. Beat the egg in a small bowl and brush the loaves with a beaten egg.  This step is optional but I like how the egg glaze finishes the bread.
  5. Bake the bread at 350°F (175°C) degrees for 30-40 minutes until the internal temperature of the bread is between 190 and 200 degrees.  (Insert your baking thermometer through the bottom into the center of the loaf.)  The bread will also sound hollow when tapped.  If the crust is getting too dark, cover the bread with foil while it continues to bake.
Kelsey Hilts

Kelsey Hilts

Kelsey Hilts is the founder of Itsy Bitsy Foodies, an online resource for families looking for ways to spend more time together enjoying food and exploring the world beyond the children’s menu.

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Originally Published: March 30, 2011

15 Responses to Swedish Limpa Bread

  1. Nancy Lopez-McHugh

    Nancy Lopez-McHugh Reply

    March 30, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Hi Kelsey, This bread sounds so tasty. The combination of anise seed, molasses and rye flour are so interesting. Rye bread is among my favorites so I will be saving your recipe.

    • Kelsey Hilts

      Kelsey{itsybitsyfoodies} Reply

      March 31, 2011 at 1:49 am

      Thanks, Nancy. I hope you like it. It has such a rich flavor and your house will smell incredibly after baking it!

      • Pam Burnham Reply

        October 9, 2015 at 1:06 pm

        Kelsey, I just got a hand-me-down bread maker (no one seems to have them anymore) that I thought would be perfect for Limpa. Is there anything that must be adapted to use the recipe with an automatic bread maker?

  2. Tamara Novakoviç

    Tamara Novakoviç Reply

    March 31, 2011 at 6:39 am

    great bread, sounds and looks so tasty

  3. Kristina Leddy Reply

    November 4, 2011 at 9:35 am

    Hi Kelsey

    I’m a Swedish girl that is living abroad. I have two boy and they love ‘Skogaholms limpa’ witch is a bread in Sweden. Unfortunately as we live in Ireland we can not buy this bread, so i thought maybe i can bake something like it.
    Your bread seems a lot like it.
    I just have some questions, The yest is it fresh or dry? The anise seeds is it in powder?
    Thank you!
    Kind regards Kristina

    • Kelsey Hilts

      Kelsey Hilts Reply

      November 5, 2011 at 10:11 am

      I use Active Dry Yeast and whole anise seeds.{not powder}. I hope that you and your family like the bread!!

  4. Kathy Reply

    November 30, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Your recipe sounds great. I’ve made Limpa many times, but now have huge problem finding rye flour.
    Any suggestions?

  5. Bud Reply

    December 19, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    Substitute dark ale for the water and enjoy a nice added flavor.

  6. Nancy Graham Reply

    December 20, 2012 at 8:43 am

    Finding rye flour is a problem in some places. When I spent winters in Tucson, the only place I could find it was a small grocery coop near the campus. In Madison, WI, all good-sized grocery stores carry it. I’m sure it all depends on the demand for it – i.e. plenty of people who bake.
    You’ll almost always find it at “health” food coops, or establish a relationship w/King Arthur Flour co. They have a great catalog – a bit pricey at times, but stuff you’ll unlikely to find anywhere else.

  7. Doug F. Reply

    December 14, 2013 at 10:53 am

    My first job was as a busboy at the Swedish Inn in bellflower CA. This is where I had my first taste of this bread and I loved it! I am now 63 and going to make it for the first time!

  8. sandra Reply

    September 16, 2014 at 9:59 am

    Love this bread. Can orange juice BE substituted for somw of he water. Thanks

  9. Liz Reply

    September 30, 2014 at 11:36 am

    I used to go to a Smorgasbord in Huntington Beach, CA called Villa Sweden, (its gone but the memories are still there) I loved their Limpa bread and this sounds like the way it used to taste. So I am going to bake a few loaves and give to my siblings as they liked the bread too. So glad I looked at Pinterest for the recipe.

  10. Eunice Reply

    December 2, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    I made no knead limpa today from a different source. It tastes yummy right out of the oven with butter! It was so crusty and good. Now I want to try it in a bread making machine.

  11. Harriet Anderson Pratt Reply

    October 10, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    This bread has been part of our holidays for years past. At 92 I still make it for my family .My mother and my mother in-law,both from Sweden made this bread and passed down the recipe to the family where we have carried on the tradition for years . So Good yummy. I add some orange grated for extra flavor

  12. Anonymous Reply

    October 30, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    Make offer. We use brown sugar and caraway seeds as well as anise. May have to try this. We love it.

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