I’m not sure there’s anything better than a freshly baked loaf of Swedish bread. It’s part of my heritage and growing up my mom would bake it for the holidays. I carry on the tradition, although I make it more often because my family loves it so much. This is one of those keeper recipes that I hope my boys pass along to their kids one day. That would make me very, very happy.
You don’t have to be Swedish to love this bread. If you’ve never had it before – it’s similar to something you might be served at a really nice steak house. It’s a hearty dark bread, creamy, and a little bit sweet with a depth of flavor. It calls for rye flour but don’t let that scare you if you’re not in love with rye bread. My boys wouldn’t touch rye bread with a 10 foot pole….but they love this Swedish bread. It holds over fabulously well if you keep it tightly wrapped and it makes the best toast on earth. Period. Also, an insanely delicious open faced sandwich with a thick slice of honey baked ham on top. It’s heaven.
Enjoy it! It’s worth the work and love you put into it. Recipe is at the bottom.
Proof the yeast in warm water & sugar. Measure the rye flour into a large bowl and pour in the scalding hot water. Mix and let it cool to a lukewarm temperature then add the yeast mixture. Cover, set aside and let it rise a little bit.
Combine the molasses, sugar, shortening, salt and water. Heat until the shortening melts and the sugar dissolves. I microwave it but you can also heat it on the stove. Let it cool to lukewarm.
Now that the rye mixture has risen, add the molasses mixture and stir to combine.
Add in a few cups of flour, enough to get your mixture thick enough so when you pour it out on the counter or cutting board, it doesn’t spill over on to the floor.
I plop mine down with flour on the edges so I can work it in from the sides. Continue to add flour and knead, working it until it comes together. A tip is to add the flour gradually so you can better judge when enough is enough. It’s done when it’s no longer sticking to the counter or board. It might be a bit tacky, but that’s OK.
This is a doubled recipe so I cut the dough in half to let it rise in separate bowls. Place in a large bowl sprayed with cooking spray or wiped with oil. Cover and let rise until doubled.
When risen, now punch it down and put it back on the board or counter. Cut into 4 even sections and shape into a loaf shape, or place each section in loaf pans.
I prefer to bake mine right on top of a baking sheet, in a loaf shape. 2 loaves fit on one large baking sheet. Now cover & let double in size. Again.
After it’s risen, bake until golden brown. Your house smells amazing at this point. Cool a bit on a wire rack, then slice, spread with butter and devour.
- 2 cups rye flour
- 3 cups scalding water
- 2 packages yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 cup molasses
- 2 tablespoons shortening
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 2 cups water
- 10 – 12 cups all purpose flour
- In large bowl, add rye flour and scalding water. Beat with a whisk until softened. Set aside and let this cool off.
- In small bowl, add yeast and sugar to warm water. Stir to dissolve and let rise.
- Add the proofed yeast to the cooled rye mixture, mix well & cover to let rise a little.
- In a medium bowl or saucepan, add molasses, shortening, sugar, salt & water. Microwave or heat on stove until shortening starts to melt and sugar dissolves. Stir to combine thoroughly and let cook to lukewarm.
- Add lukewarm molasses mixture to the rye flour mixture and stir to combine.
- Add a few cups of the white flour until the mixture holds its shape. Flour a clean counter or cutting board and empty the dough from the bowl onto the counter.
- Adding cup by cup of flour as you knead the dough, work the dough until it comes together. Knead until you can feel it become more elastic and it’s not sticking to the counter/board. It will be a little tacky, still – this is OK.
- Place into large bowl that has been sprayed with cooking spray, cover and let rise high, nearly doubled.
- When risen, punch down and place on clean counter or board. Slice into 4 equal sections to form the loaves.
- You can bake in loaf pans or on a large baking sheet. I prefer the baking sheet. 2 loaves fit per sheet.
- Once in the loaf pans or on the baking sheet, let rise again until doubled.
- Turn the oven on to 325 degrees.
- When doubled, place in the oven and bake until brown and cooked through – approximately 45 minutes. Check often at the end so doesn’t get over-brown.
- When done baking, cool on wire rack
- Slice & enjoy!