Swedish Peasant Bread


My mom sometimes mails me random stuff she thinks I might find interesting, and a while ago she mailed me a Swedish flyer with some baking recipes. The flyer was publish by KF Provköket which seems to now be coop Provkök, a test kitchen for the retail cooperative coop. The flyer looks like it is published in 1985, and I could not find the recipes online.

Swedish is close to Danish, so I could easily figure out the recipes. The one that caught my eye was one for a whole grain ‘peasant bread’. It is using a scalding technique and is made with rye flour and some ground bitter orange (pomerans) rind. I find that quite a bit of Swedish bread is made with some sort of spices, and it is usually a nice touch. I did not, however, have any bitter orange rind or knew where to get it, so I decided to add some ground all-spice for some general complex spiciness, and that worked well.

Though not required by the recipe, I used the opportunity to use my bannetons again, and the breads turned out beautiful.


  • 500 ml boiling water (2.1 cups)
  • 500 ml whole grain rye flour (2.1 cups)
  • 1 tsp ground all-spice
  • 50 g butter (1.8 oz)
  • 250 ml water (1 cup)
  • 16.6 g active dry yeast (0.6 oz) (50 g fresh yeast cake)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1100 ml bread flour (4.6 cups)


1. Mix this rye flour and all spice together in a bowl.


2. Pour boiling water over the mixture, cover with film and let stand for 2-4 hours (until a little warmer than room temperature).


3. Melt the butter and add the water. Let cool to 90 F/ 37 C.

4. Mix the yeast in the water/butter mixture.


5. Add the yeast, butter and water to the scalded flour and mix.


6. Mix the salt and gradually add almost all of the bread flour, and mix until a dough forms.



7. Knead lightly in the bowl for a few minutes.


8. Cover with film and let rise for 45-60 min.


9. Turn the dough out on a work surface and knead lightly. Add more flour if necessary.

10. Divide dough in 2 and form 2 round breads.


11. If using, dust 2 8-inch bannetons with rice flour and place the breads in them. Otherwise place breads on a parchment lined sheet.


12. Cover breads and let rest for 20-30 min.


13. Preheat oven to 200 C / 392 F.

14. Turn the breads out on a parchment lined sheet and transfer to oven.


15. Bake for 40-45 min, they are done when lightly brown and hollow sounding.


Since there is not much kneading involved, these are actually quite fast and easy to make. The scalding make it quite moist, and the spice and rye combination adds a lot of flavor. This bread is great still warm with butter, or as sandwich bread. I found it kept very well.

4 Grain Bread

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My mom sent me this recipe, she originally clipped it from a Danish magazine. It is called ‘a bread that keeps’, and it really does keep well. I made it two times, and I think I have tweaked the recipe to where I like it.

It is started the day before you bake, making a quick ‘sourdough’ – but it still contain quite a bit of commercial yeast, and does not really have a typical sourdough taste, as you get with a fully developed sourdough. It is then made with buttermilk, which I think make it very moist.

The original recipe calls for 2 types of flour I can’t really get here in the US, sigtemel which is a mix of sifted rye and wheat flour with 30%-50% rye. I mixed bread flour and rye flour with about 60% rye, though the result is a little different, as I use whole grain dark rye flour – sigtemel is a white flour. Secondly, the recipe calls for 4-korns mel which literally means 4-grain flour, and that might be what it is. I don’t recall having seen it in stores, and the only thing I could find online was from Norway, where it indeed was a mix of wheat, rye, oat and barley flour. My mom, however, was convinced that it meant some flour with whole kernels in it – though she said she usually just makes it with sigtemel telling me ‘you know how fussy your dad is with whole kernels’. I’m pretty sure it would be a great bread to add some soaked wheat or rye kernels to, but I stuck to adding some whole grain barley and oat flour.

You can play a bit with the ratio, this is a bit of a dense bread because of all the non-wheat flours, they don’t have much (if any) gluten, so the bread does not become that fluffy.

I baked this on the pizza stone, and that worked really well, but you can bake it on a regular sheet with parchment paper just fine.

Ingredients: (original recipe from unknown Danish magazine)

Day 1:

  • 25 g yeast cake (8.3 g /0.3 oz active dry yeast)
  • 250 ml lukewarm water (1 cup)
  • 150 g bread flour (5.3 oz)
  • 100 g rye flour (3.5 oz)

Day 2:

  • 400 ml buttermilk (1.7 cups)
  • 1 tbsp coarse or kosher salt
  • 150 g oat flour (5.3 oz)
  • 150 g barley flour (5.3 oz)
  • 150 g rye flour (5.3 oz)
  • 325 g bread flour (11.5 g)


Day 1:

1. Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water

2. Add the initial bread and rye flour and mix well.

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3. Cover with film and let stand at room temperature for 12-14 hours.

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Day 2:

1. Mix the buttermilk with your dough.

2. Add salt and the barley, oat and rye flours and mix.

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3. Add most of the bread flour in 2-3 portions.

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4. Turn the dough out on a work surface and knead well, add more bread flour if necessary. The dough is a little sticky, take care it doesn’t get too dry, but is should feel elastic and easy to work with in the end.

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5. Let the dough rise for about an hour.

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6. Form 2 breads (or one big one).

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7. Cover and let rest for 20-30 min. Preheat the oven to 200° C/ 395° F. Have your pizza stone in the oven if using one.

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8. Score the breads with a sharp knife, and brush with milk or egg as desired.

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9. Gently lift the breads onto your stone, or put your sheet in the oven.

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10. Bake for 20-30 minutes. 40-50 if you are only making one.

11. They should sound hollow when tapped when done, and be nicely golden on top. Take out and let cool on a wire rack.

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This bread freezes really well, and also keeps well. Even a week old I don’t feel a need to toast it, it is still moist and fresh.

Rye Bread

rye bread-12I wanted to try this Rye Bread which involves boiling some of the flour and some rye kernels. According to the original recipe (from Wenche Frølich’s Brød) boiling part of the flour helps with absorption of liquids and was used a lot earlier when flour didn’t have the high quality we have today. This one also requires you to soak some flour and kernels a day before you bake for extra moistness.

This bread is very hearty and great as both as a sandwich bread or with jam for breakfast. The recipe makes 3 large breads, and I found they freeze pretty well. When I converted this from fresh yeast to dry yeast, I used a little less than I probably should have, so it did turn out less fluffy than I expected. I have given the original conversion here, as I think it would improve the bread to use a little more yeast. Another option would be to let it rise longer, but with all the whole grains and kernels the extra yeast would probably be a good thing.


Day 1:

  • 200 ml rye kernels/berries (0.8 cups)
  • 225 g rye flour (8 oz)
  • 1.3 L water (5.5 cups)

Day 2:

  • 33 g (1 oz) active dry yeast (100 g fresh yeast cake)
  • 50 ml water (0.2 cups)
  • 50 ml syrup (0.2 cups)
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tbsp vinegar (light tasting such as apple cider)
  • 550 g rye flour (19.5 oz)
  • 600 whole grain flour (21 oz)
  • 300- 475 g all purpose or bread flour (10.5 – 16.5 oz)


Day 1:

1. Mix the kernels with rye flour and water in a large pot. Cover and let stand for 12- 24 hours.

rye bread-1

Day 2:

2. Bring the rye and water mixture to a boil while stirring, the cover and let rest for 6-8 minutes.

rye bread-3

3. Pour the mixture into a large mixing bowl and let stand until lukewarm. This will take a while!

4. Mix the yeast with lukewarm water.

rye bread-2

5. Add the yeast mixture, syrup, vinegar, salt, rye and whole grain flours and mix well.

Adding the yeast, syrup and vinegar

Adding the yeast, syrup and vinegar

Adding most of the flour

Adding most of the flour

6. Add about half the all purpose/bread flour and mix until a dough forms, add more flour if needed.

7. Turn the dough out on a work table and knead it though, add more flour if necessary.

rye bread-6

8. Let it rest under a tea towel in your bowl for an hour or so.

Before rising

Before rising

After rising - should have left it a little longer or used more yeast, probably

After rising – should have left it a little longer or used more yeast, probably

9. Work the dough through on your work surface.

10. Form 3 breads and place them on a parchment covered sheet, brushing the sides with oil or melted butter to prevent them from sticking together.

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11. Preheat the oven to 200 C/ 390 F

12. Let the breads rise for 30-45 minutes more.

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13. Bake the breads in the lower part of the oven for 45-60 minutes. They should sound hollow when tapped.

14. Let them cool on a rack, and enjoy!

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The rye and the syrup together makes this bread a little sweet, even if it is a whole grain bread. I think it has a great flavor, and I will definitely be making it again – with a little more yeast next time, and probably only 1/3 or 1/2 portion.

Walnut bread


This delicious bread is adapted from Wenche Frølich’s Brød (yep, another one). It is great with dinner, or with lunch meats or cheeses.

The original recipe calls for rye flour, I have made it both with that and with whole grain (wheat) flour, both ways turn out delicious.


  • 500 ml water (2 cups and a bit)
  • 50 ml oil, preferably walnut oil (0.2 cups)
  • 25 g yeast cake or 1 dried yeast envelope
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 225 g dark rye or whole wheat flour (8 oz)
  • 500g all purpose flour (17.5 oz)
  • 75g chopped walnuts (2.5 oz)


1. Heat the oil and water to lukewarm, about 90 F/ 30 C. Pour the liquid over the yeast in a large mixing bowl (pull the yeast cake apart first if using fresh yeast).

Heating oil and water.

Heating oil and water.

2. Add the salt and the flours. Mix the dough well and knead for a short while.

3. Let the dough rise under a towel for 45 min.

Risen dough

Risen dough

4. Knead the dough well, until elastic. Add a bit more all purpose flour if necessary. Add the walnuts and knead them in until well mixed.

Adding the walnuts

Adding the walnuts

5. Spilt the dough into 2 parts and shape each to a round bread. Place the bread on sheets and score the breads in crosswise pattern.

shaped breads

Shaped breads

6. Let rise under a towel for 30 min. Preheat the oven to 200 C/390 F

7. Brush the breads with water and bake for about 30-40 min, until the sound hollow. Cool on a rack.

All done!

All done!

I made these to eat with some soups we made this week, I made a great artichoke soup and my husband made carrot soup – modernist cuisine style. The recipe makes 2 breads, and 1 bread feed about 4 adults as a side to a dinner – probably 6 people if you have more sides.

Danish Rye Bread (rugbrød)

Finished rugbroed

Living in the US, one of thing that is hard to get is Danish rye bread, or rugbrød. Sometimes you can get something like it in Whole Foods or specialty stores, but in any case it definitely tastes better homemade.

As mentioned in the Wikipedia article, Danish rye bread is a very dense sourdough bread. It is unlike any type of bread you get in the US, or France or Italy for that matter. It is the opposite of white, fluffy bread, very hearty and full of fiber. As far as I recall, Holland and Germany has something similar.

I found a wonderful blog post by a Danish family who had been experimenting with baking their own rugbrød and it was very helpful.

I did my own sourdough starter, and ended up doing like this:


  • 3 dl (300 ml) sourdough starter
  • 1 l water
  • 600 g rye flour
  • 600 g all purpose flour
  • 30 g salt
  • 400 g rye berries (kernels)
  • 100 g flaxseed
  • 150 g raw sunflower seeds*
  • 100 g raw pumpkin seeds*
  • 1 tbsp syrup
  • 15 g roasted barley malt flour**

* you can use any combination of seeds, about 250 g total.
** optional. I could not find this anywhere in the US, and omitted it the first time I made these. Here is a British website selling it, and explaining it a bit.


Day 1:

Mix the sourdough starter with 1 l of water, and add the salt and the 2 flours. If you have a high wattage mixer with dough hooks, you can use that.



The dough will be a little more sticky than regular, you don’t have to knead it a lot.

ready for rest

Ready for resting

Put the dough in a bowl, cover with a moist tea-towel and leave in the fridge for 8-12 hours or more.

Soak the rye berries in water and leave overnight.

Day 2:

1. take out as much dough as you took from your starter and put back, mix well.

2. Add a little water to the dough if it feels dry, mix in the syrup

Adding syrup

Adding syrup

3. Drain the rye berries (don’t worry of some of them look a little green – this is the natural color, they are not bad) and mix them and all the other ingredients in.

All the seeds

All the seeds

Drain the berries

Drain the berries

The dough will be ‘wetter’ than dough for white bread.

The finished dough

finished dough

4. Distribute the dough in 2 loaf tins, brush them with melted butter or canola oil if they are not non-stick. Even if you have non-stick tins they probably benefit from a bit of grease.

5. Put a little water on top of the breads and press some pumpkin or sunflower seeds into the top

In the tins

In the tins

6. leave to rise for about 1 hour. They will not rise that much.

7. bake at 180 C for 1 1/2 hours. They should rise and be firm, brown and sound hollow when done.

8. Shortly after they are out of the oven, remove them from the tins and leave to cool completely on a rack. It is important that you don’t wait too long as the breads release a lot of moisture and will go mushy if left to cool completely in the tins.

Here you can see the unique 'crumb' of the rye bread.

Here you can see the unique ‘crumb’ of the rye bread.

The first time I made this it turned out really well and very delicious. Our 1 1/2 year old loved it! Since we don’t bring our food at work and daycare, we don’t eat it that fast, but it freezes well. I cut each loaf in half and froze them separately.

The second time I made this I had to redo my starter, since I had let it die, but it is really simple to make.

I had a friend send me some roasted malt flour, and the addition tasted great, however it was a little hard to incorporate in the dough on day 2. I will probably add the malt flour to the loaf on day 1 next time.