Overnight Bread: Swedish Limpa

This is another SLOW- RISING RECIPE that is perfect for busy people.  Mix the dough in the evening and continue with the bread baking in the morning. Or, you can prepare the dough in the morning and let it rise all day while you’re out – and finish in the evening.

The advantage of long slow rising is that the flavor develops during this time. You do need to have a large bowl so that the dough has space to rise.

Overnight Bread: Swedish Limpa

Recipe by Beatrice Ojakangas



The advantage of long slow rising is that the flavor develops during this time. You do need to have a large bowl so that the dough has space to rise! This is a favorite holiday bread often served with holiday meals in Scandinavian homes, but it is delicious any time of year.


  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast

  • ¼ cup warm water

  • 1 quart cold milk 

  • 1 cup dark molasses

  • 1 cup vegetable oil

  • 1 cup rolled oats

  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon salt

  • 1 tablespoon mixture of caraway, fennel and aniseed, crushed together

  • Grated zest of 1 orange, about 3 tablespoons

  • 2 cups rye flour

  • 12 to 12 ½ cups all-purpose or bread flour


  • In a very large bowl (7 or 8-quart) dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Let stand 5 minutes until yeast begins to bubble.
  • Add the milk, molasses, oil, oats, sugar, salt, crushed seed mixture and grated orange zest. Stir in the rye flour and bread flour gradually until dough is stiff and seems ready to knead.
  • Cover with plastic and a tea towel. Place in a cool place overnight or 8 to 14 hours.  Dough will rise to the top of the bowl. 
  • To continue, sprinkle the top of the dough and a work surface with flour. Turn out onto the floured surface. For easier handling, you might wish to divide the dough into two parts, and then knead each part separately until smooth and satiny.
  • Divide into 4 equal parts and shape into loaves. Place into greased loaf pans, either  or 9-inch round pans or 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pans.
  • Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F. 
  • Bake loaves for 35 to 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of the loaves comes out clean and dry. Because this bread will brown rapidly, you may need to cover them with foil if they seem to be getting too brown.
    Makes 4 loaves

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Beatrice Ojakangas

Food writer Beatrice Ojakangas grew up as the oldest of ten on a farm in Floodwood, Minnesota and learned to cook and bake on a woodstove. Author of 31 cookbooks, Beatrice has a degree in home economics, has been inducted into the James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame, was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Minnesota, has written for magazines such as Bon Appetit, Gourmet, and Woman's Day, and appeared on the television shows of both Julia Child and Martha Stewart. Her specialties include baking, Finnish and Scandinavian cooking, and writing well-tested, simple recipes that use wholesome ingredients. She lives in Duluth, Minnesota.

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