Wedding Refreshments: Swedish Rye Bread

Swedish rye bread is such a good complement to cheeses and dips it's become a wedding tradition even among non-Scandinavians.

Swedish rye bread - basket of slices and cubes

A basket of fresh Swedish rye bread, ready for carrying or dipping.


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Long ago, brewer’s wort was the fuel for fermentation in the production of this hearty loaf. You could still use it that if you’re in the habit of brewing beer. However, our Swedish rye bread recipe makes do with yeast, warm water, and molasses, with caraway seed, fennel, and orange peel providing a flavor boost. It has a strong, enticing flavor on its own, but is even better when served with sliced cheese, cheese fondue, bean dip, or yogurt dip. On your table of wedding refreshments, it will not disappoint.

4 tablespoons dry yeast
2 cups warm water
4 tablespoons butter
1 1/3 cups hot water
2/3 cup molasses
2 1/2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons caraway seed
2 tablespoons fennel seed
3 tablespoons freshly grated orange peel
6 cups rye flour
6 cups whole wheat pastry flour

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. In a large bowl, melt the butter in the hot water and add all of the ingredients except the flour. In a separate bowl, sift together the rye and whole wheat pastry flour.

Add most of the flour to the liquid, stirring well to make a stiff dough. Put some of the flour on a large board and knead the dough until it's smooth and elastic. Place it in a greased bowl, cover it with a towel, and let it rise in a warm place until it doubles in size (about 1 1/2 to 2 hours). Punch the dough down, form it into 4 loaves, place them on a well-greased baking sheet or into 1 loaf pans, and cover them. When the dough has once again doubled in size, bake the loaves in a preheated oven at 350°F for about 45 to 50 minutes.

See A Natural Foods Wedding Feast for more recipes.