Sweetish Hill on West Sixth Street makes this Swedish rye bread, called Limpa. Photo by Addie Broyles.

A few weeks ago, we asked readers if they had a recipe for a Swedish rye bread from an old Austin bakery called Navarro’s, and though no one had any information about that particular recipe, Jim Murphy of Sweetish Hill Bakery, 1120 W. Sixth St., said that his bakery has been making Swedish Rye, also called Limpa, for 40 years.

“Austin had a big enough Swedish community once that we always have people calling looking for this bread that their mother or grandmother made, and of course, they call us because they think we are a Swedish bakery,” Murphy says. “Oh, how (founders) Tom Neuhaus and Patricia (Bauer-Slate) loved puns.”

The bakers at Sweetish Hill use a light rye flour, good bitter molasses, fresh orange zest and ground anise to make their bread, which they sell seasonally. Now is the time to buy it either at the retail store or at the Cedar Park Farmers Market. Customers can also order it by special request by calling the store at 512-791-6059. The bakery is also selling other winter breads, including stollen, pannetone and fruitcake. Murphy was kind enough to share the recipe with us, but it’s written in a way that will make sense for established bakers but not those without a whole lot of experience. Another reader sent in a Swedish rye bread recipe from an old cookbook, which is a little easier to follow. I’ll publish both here and let you decide which path to take.

Sweetish Hill’s Limpa Bread

1 lb. light rye flour
3 lb. unbleached bread flour
1 1/3 oz. salt
1 1/3 oz. instant yeast
5 oz. brown sugar
5 oz. unsalted butter
4 Tbsp. grated orange rind
6 oz. molasses
1/2 oz. ground anise

Mix the dough to a nice self development and then add the butter and orange rind. After the butter is incorporated it usually needs to be kneaded at least for another 4 or 5 minutes on medium speed on a bread mixer.

- Jim Murphy, owner of Sweetish Hill Bakery
Swedish Rye Bread
2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 Tbsp. shortening
1 Tbsp. salt
2 tsp. caraway seeds
1/2 tsp. ground anise seeds
1 1/4 cup hot water
5 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 cups rye flour
Soften the yeast in the warm water and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine brown sugar, molasses, shortening, salt, caraway seeds and anise seeds. Pour hot water over the ingredients and set aside to soften. When that mixture has become lukewarm, blend in 1 cup of the sifted all-purpose flour, beating until smooth. Add the yeast and mix well. Add the rye flour and beat until smooth, then add the remaining flour to make a soft dough. Turn the dough onto a very lightly floured surface. Allow dough to rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Knead. Form the dough into a large ball and put into a greased, deep bowl. Turn to bring greased surface to the top. Cover with waxed paper and a towel and let stand in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size. Punch down with fist, pull edges in to center and turn dough completely over in bowl. Cover and let rise again until dough has doubled. Punch down and turn out on a lightly floured surface.
Grease the baking sheet. Divide dough into two portions and shape into balls. Cover and allow to rest 5 to 10 minutes. Remove to greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until dough is doubled. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 25 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool completely on cooling racks.