Grandma’s Swedish Rye Bread
Photography by Ben Lochard
in the kitchen with… March/April 2021
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
½ cup warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
½ cup warm potato water*
2 cups rye flour
¼ cup molasses
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1½ tablespoons vegetable oil
½ tablespoon crushed fennel seeds
4–6 cups unbleached white flour, enough to make a stiff dough
*I use leftover water from boiling potatoes like my grandmother did. It makes the water softer and helps the bread rise. Or you can warm some water with a small sliced potato on the stove.
- Mix yeast with ½ cup warm water in a small bowl. Stir in 1 teaspoon sugar and set aside in a warm place to proof for 15 minutes.
- Mix rye flour with warm potato water in a large bowl. Add yeast mixture and let sit about ½ hour.
- Add molasses, sugar, salt, oil, and crushed fennel seeds; mix well. Add enough white flour to make a stiff dough. Knead on a hard surface for approximately 15 minutes.
- Place back in a bowl to rise for about 30 to 45 minutes. Then place back on a hard surface. Cut in half and knead again for 5 to 10 minutes. Form the loaves for either two round pie tins or two 1-pound loaf pans. Let rise for another hour. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- After the last rise, bake 40 to 45 minutes until golden brown on top. Brush with butter while still warm; let cool. Freezes well for up to a month. Makes 2 loaves.
Recipe courtesy Warren Larsen