This article is part of A Harmony of Flavors mission to publish pertinent articles to help bring people’s attention to important issues or problems and hopefully offer some form of education for them to make the best decisions. This Article describes that while researching the many and varied recipes for Swedish Limpa Rye Beer Bread, this author is amazed by the diverse ways this bread is made. Ingredients range all over the board, from basic to complex, with many ingredients changed for US bakers.
Many long years ago, I was given a loaf of Swedish Limpa Rye Beer Bread, by a neighbor I was friendly with at that time. I had been making bread for over 10 years at the time and knew the basics. I had never come in contact with anyone Swedish before, and I seem to be attracted by different cultures and their foods. I took the loaf home with me and ate a slice. Oh my, was it good. I had to know the recipe.
I went back to her house next day to enquire about the recipe. She explained to me that each year when her grandmother came from Sweden to visit, she would make this bread. The recipe was huge, she warned me, and somehow it just never tasted right if not made from the full recipe, which made about 10 or 12 loaves, depending on size. She gave me the recipe to copy, and I took it home, determined. I did cut the recipe in half, despite her warnings, and the bread was very good, though her original loaf, in my memory, seemed to have been better. I couldn’t specifically say what was different. Still, it was really good bread, and far different from any I had tasted before, so I was thrilled to have the recipe.
That was almost 30 years ago now, and it has been many years since I made this bread. Thinking about putting the recipe on my website, I was curious. Why is it called Limpa? What is Limpa? I still have no firm answer. What it appears is that it is the descriptor for this type of rye bread, though I could easily be in error. In researching, I have seen that while the recipe I have had all these years is made with most of the basic ingredients, in almost every recipe found there is either anise, fennel or orange rind added. In some cases there are other things added such as oatmeal and even mashed potato. The basic ingredients seem to be molasses, rye flour and white flour. Some kind of fat is used. My recipe calls for shortening, though I have read that lard is actually a more traditional ingredient. Sometimes butter is used, and sometimes it is used half and half with shortening. Many recipes have changed the traditional molasses to dark corn syrup.
Then I also found that this bread was traditionally called Vort Bread, as it was made using wort, or vort in Swedish, which is a product created in the beer brewing process. An acceptable substitute these days for the wort is a stout beer. Even so, very few of the recipes I found actually called for the use of a stout beer, but usually just use water or orange juice as the liquid in the recipe.
Rawstern is an author, teacher, gourmet cook as well as a photographer and graphic artist. She has taken or created all images appearing on these sites. Her articles have been syndicated nationally.
Her background is Slovakian on her mother's side and Yugoslavian on her father's. Her grandparents came from Europe to the United States to make a better life for themselves and their families. Her ethnic cooking influences began at the cradle. She began her cooking career in Guatemala, in 1970 when she moved there as a 20-year-old newlywed, and set out to learn to cook in a foreign land. This process was complicated by the fact that she could not speak or read the language.
Rawstern loves food, new recipes, and to teach people how to cook from scratch. Her passion is to teach people how to create A Harmony of Flavors when they cook, find joy in baking and help pass along her love of and joy in foods, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy, as she continues her journey in both ethnic cooking and domestic. Her favorite saying in her class is “Life is short – eat dessert first”.
About the Author
My name is Chris Rawstern and I have been on a cooking and baking journey for 42 years. I love food. I love to cook, and teach people how to cook, from scratch. I love baking. I love to create new recipes and try them. I hope to inspire you to follow me!
I would love to hear from you, to help me continue my journey to explore diverse culinary experiences and hopefully to start you on a journey of collecting favored recipes of your own. Visit me at my Web site (http://www.aharmonyofflavors.com/