Grandma Johnston's Limpa
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Recently, a BreadClub20 baker, Keith Walker, sent me a lovely old recipe belonging to a relative of a friend of his...for Swedish Limpa.
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Limpa is Swedish for 'Loaf' so, in the same way as saying 'naan bread' would be tautological, so saying Limpa loaf or Limpa bread would also be unnecessary.
It's simply....Limpa. A sweet rye bread that is yeast-leavened and sweetened with molasses and dark sugar.
As with most traditional bread, there are different styles, depending on regionality and era. Early limpa was made using brewer's wort, and known as vörtbröd, or 'wort bread'. Spices can differ, some using caraway and cardamom, others using anise, caraway or fennel. Some are baked in tins, others, free-form on the floor of a hot oven.
But, this is Grandma Johnston's limpa...so we must be loyal to her formula and process...at least for this bake, anyway.
The original bake was for a large quantity of bread. The chart below gives you the original measurements in US cups. I've converted it to metric and also provided quantities and weights for a half-mix.
A word on conversion tables...
You will find that web-based conversion tables - converting US cups to grams are notoriously variable. Choose one that makes sense to you and stick with that one.
At least, if it is slightly inconsistent, it'll be consistently so!
I'm baking a half-mix
Place the first seven ingredients into a pan and bring to a boil. stir and simmer for five minutes and then leave to cool until just tepid.
Take the extra lukewarm water and into it dissolve the yeast.
Add the yeast mixture to the cooled molasses-sugar, etc., mixture and stir thoroughly.
Add the rye flour and mix until the mixture is smooth.
Cover and leave in a warm place overnight.
Add the white flour and mix well.
Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead until it is silky and elastic.
Place in a lightly-oiled bowl ensuring the dough picks up a little of the oil on all sides.
Cover and let it rise in a warm place for about two hours. The dough will lighten in weight at this time as air mixes with the dough.
Knock back gently and divide into loaf sizes to match your tins.
Place the dough into prepared tins. The dough will rise again, so make sure there is room for this second proofing.
Leave to proof and rise for about 2 hours.
Bake for one hour at 175⁰C (conventional) 170⁰C (fan) 350⁰F
Cool on a rack. You can smear the top crust with melted butter if you prefer a softer crust.
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