Swedish Rye Bread

This delightful bread is part of the Christmas Eve noon meal tradition in Swedish homes of Doppa Gryta (Dip in the Kettle).  I’ll post the Doppa Gryta recipe later, but it involves cooking several kinds of meat in a large kettle, then serving the meat, and putting the kettle with the broth in the middle of the table, and everyone dipping their rye bread in the broth.

My friend Patti brought me a taste of her Swedish Rye Bread this Christmas, and it was heavenly.  But it’s not just for Christmas:  Patti told me about showing up at her grandmother’s farm on summer vacation, and her grandmother would have timed the bread exactly right so that it was just coming out of the oven as Patti and her family pulled up.  Patti’s eyes sort of rolled back in her head as she remembered the fragrance of the bread as she walked into Grandma’s house.  I hope you’ll enjoy this recipe, which comes from the family cookbook of my other friend Jeri:

Swedish Rye Bread

  • 2 yeast cakes (or packages), dissolved in 1/4 c. warm water
  • 2 c. milk, scalded and cooled
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 c. shortening
  • 1/4 c. white sugar
  • 1/3 c. brown sugar
  • a little anise seed
  • 1/3 c. molasses
  • 1 1/2 c. rye flour
  • About 5 c. white flour

Mix milk, salt, shortening and sugars, and cool to lukewarm.  Add anise seed, molasses, yeast and rye flour; then white flour.  Makes a stiff dough. Let rise about 2 hours.  Knead well on a flour-y surface, adding more flour as necessary. Form into 2 large or 3 small loaves.  Let rise about 1 hour.  Bake in a 350ºF oven for 45-60 minutes.

Make sure to eat the first slice, well-buttered, while the bread is still warm!