… orange-scented sourdough rye with cardamom, aniseeds and fennel.

You must be accustomed to all the whining and b!tching that goes on here. How sourdough starter is a pain in the butt, how some recipes have 45 useless steps, how tags are stupid, how Sandra Lee is a train wreck … and so on.

Well, the tantrum-throwing sourpuss ain’t me.

It’s Amygdala – the part of our brain structure that ‘stamps’ in memory the occasions when crap happens, so that we could dig it out and use as a point of reference for the future. That’s why we remember details of the airline losing our baggage during vacation more clearly than the evening by the beach. It is a survival mechanism to help embed negative memories deeper so that you could be prepared the next time the fit hits the shan. I didn’t make that up. Some guy at MIT did.

If you present stimuli with a strong negative emotional component, the memories do seem to be more easily retrieved than neutral stimuli or even those that are somewhat positive, for example happy faces versus angry faces.

Amygdala also explains why I always view the sourdough starter in my fridge as a liability. Curiously though, of late, whenever I bake bread, I find myself trying to incorporate it in the recipe. Along with dark rye flour.

When you bite into a warm, crusty piece of orange-infused rye bread topped with gjetost you’re as close to bliss as you can get on this earth. Hopefully, Amygdala will remember that the next time I have to feed the damn starter.


(from Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads)

For the soaker:
142 grams (8 oz) – 1 cup plus 2 tbsps – whole rye flour
85 grams (3 oz) – 2/3 cup – whole wheat flour, preferably fine grind (like chapati flour)
4 grams (0.14 oz) – 0.5 tsp – salt
170 grams (6 oz) – 0.75 cup – filtered or spring water

Mix them together in a bowl for a minute until the ingredients form a ball of dough. If you need more water or flour, add them a teaspoon at a time.

Cover with plastic wrap or a lid and leave it at room temperature for 12-24 hours. (Or refrigerate beyond that for upto 3 days, bring to room temperature and use.)

For the starter:
191 grams (6.75 oz) – about 1.5 cups – whole wheat flour
64 grams (2.25 oz) – 5 tbsp – stiff whole wheat or rye sourdough starter
142 grams (5 oz) – half cup plus 2 tablespoons – filtered or spring water at room temperature

Mix them together in a bowl for a minute until the ingredients form a ball of dough. Knead for about 2 minutes. The dough will be tacky. If you need more water or flour, add them a teaspoon at a time. Rest for 5 minutes, knead with wet hands for a minute.

Cover tightly with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate for atleast 8 hours and up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature and use.

Final dough:
Soaker – chopped or pinched into 12 pieces
Starter – chopped or pinched into 12 pieces
5 grams (0.18 oz) (about 5/8 tsp) salt
56.5 grams (2 oz) whole wheat or whole rye flour (about 7 tablespoons)
7 gms (0.25 oz) – 2.25 tsps – instant yeast
56.5 grams (2 oz) – 3 tbsps – unsulphured molasses/maple syrup/honey
14 grams (0.5 oz) – 1 tbsp – vegetable oil
9 grams (0.32 oz) – 1 tbsp – a combo of green cardamom seeds, aniseeds and fennel
7 grams (0.25 oz) – 2 tbsps – orange zest or 1 tsp orange oil

Knead everything well for 5-7 minutes until you have a not-too-sticky, supple dough. Form into a ball, let it rest covered with a kitchen towel for 5 minutes and knead for another minute. Add tbsp of flour or a tsp of water at a time to adjust the consistency if you need to.

Roll the dough into a ball and swirl it around an oiled bowl to coat with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel and and let it rise for 45-60 minutes until 1.5 times its original size.

Shape the loaf into a boule (ball) or grease a loaf pan and put the dough it after gently kneading and deflating it in the form of a sandwich loaf.

If it is freestanding, place it on a baking sheet dusted with cornmeal (or lined with parchment or silicone), dust with a bit of flour and let it rise covered for another 50 to 60 minutes until 1.5 times its original size.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425F with an empty pan in the top rack and another rack in the middle.

When you are ready to bake, place it in the middle rack with the baking sheet, and pour a cup of hot water into the pan on the top rack. If using a loaf pan, we like to slash the loaf to release steam.

Reduce the heat to 350F and bake for 40 minutes or until the loaf registers 200F in the center. You can rotate it once at the 20 minute mark, but we didn’t find it necessary.

Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes before serving.

This Scandinavian festive bread goes to two phenomenal bakers:

Jude @ Apple Pie, Patis & Pâté. She’s hosting Bread Baking Day this month, where the theme is 100% Whole Grains.

and Susan @ Wild Yeast for YeastSpotting.

Srivalli @ Cooking 4 All Seasons has undertaken a fundraising drive to support Lakshmi, a 28-year old mother of two who desperately needs heart surgery. A few dollars from each of us could save Lakshmi’s life. Please visit her site for details.

- Bee

Filed Under: , , , , , , , , , , , ,



  1. This sounds great! I have been wanting to try limpa for a while! it looks wonderful!

  2. Uma says:

    never heard this recipe before. looks so delicious.

  3. Bharti says:

    My goodness Bee. This is so beautiful! I wish it didn’t involve so much work. I’ve never experimented with sourdough starter and I’m feeling bad and scared for myself now. Bad ’cause I’ve never made it and sad ’cause I don’t know when I’ll get the time. I’ll read through your post about your starter to find out how difficult it is. It seems really complicated.

  4. Manggy says:

    Sure, blame the amygdala. Hee hee. Don’t worry, I quite like listening to your rants! I tend to agree!
    Anyway, the rye bread looks good, though I’ve only had commercial rye bread and it’s usually cardboardy. What’s your favorite way to eat it?

    with cheese and/or soup. i like it really dense and chewy, but not cardboardy.

  5. Nirmala says:

    Gorgeous loaf and the Orange zest would definitely add more zing to this loaf! But being used to the store bought white bread I am still trying to cope up with whole grain loaves!

  6. arundathi says:

    That looks amazing and I guess you don’t get good bread without putting in the time! :) Fantastic, Bee. And I, too, love the rants!

  7. Alexa says:

    This bread looks fantastic– wish I could have some.
    This negative memory imprint stuff was really interesting as well. Makes complete sense, we just needed to hear it from someone from MIT…

  8. Meeta says:

    Perfect looking bread! I love the refreshing addition of orange!

  9. Alex says:

    Thanks so much for dropping by Just Cook It and leaving such nice words – I really appreciate it.

    My mum is Swedish and seeing this brought a whole raft of memories just flooding right back. Beautiful shots and great writing as well.

  10. Johanna says:

    this looks amazing bread – yet another reason to master a sourdough starter

  11. OhioMom says:

    What a fantastic looking loaf, the pics make me want to tear off a piece :)

  12. Shreya says:

    Wish I could experience the bliss of biting into one of those pieces piled up…great pics.. lovely colours..

  13. Priya says:

    not sure about the bread, but I think I am going to try the chocolate almond brownies, they were awesome and I soo want to dig into a huge piece right about now! I’ll expt with the silken tofu substitute for the egg.

  14. Dee says:

    Beautiful limpa. I’m eying the sordough rotis though.. beautiful again!!!

  15. Srivalli says:

    Beautiful post and thanks for supporting Lakshmi..

  16. Bharti says:

    I’m dreaming about this bread..I wish I could eat it right now ..!

  17. Cham says:

    Gorgeous citrus flavored bread :)

  18. Jude says:

    Beautiful loaf.. I’ve been meaning to try this recipe but there’s so many things on the queue. I’m sure you know what that’s like.
    Thanks for sending this in!

  19. Meera says:

    That looks awesome. I don’t think I should even attempt to make this loaf. So I will just look at the picture.

  20. NOTYET100 says:

    i am speechless,,,,thy look so awesome…

  21. I’ve fed my starter twice a day for the past two years, it takes less than four minutes total out of my day, and Amygdala still has me thinking it’s a royal pain in the butt. Good thing we have all that gray matter to keep us at it. Your limpa is fantastic and when I bake it I’m sure its scent will remind me of my time in Sweden — Amygdala again? :)

  22. Aparna says:

    Swedish/ Norwegian breads make very good use of citrus and spices like cardamom, the aroma of which is an added bonus when the breads are baking.
    I’m still working at working up my courage to experiment with starters!
    Really liked the first picture.

  23. [...] 100% Whole Grain Swedish Limpa ~ Jugalbandi [...]

  24. [...] Whole Grain Swedish Limpa Spiced sourdough rye with a hint of oranges. By Bee and Jai of Jugalbandi (NW USA) [...]

  25. zorra says:

    Wow, wonderful bread and awesome pictures!

  26. Sunshinemom says:

    I made a similar thing, tastes great but my pictures let me down badly!! Very pretty as always!

  27. George says:

    I love the sound of that bread, and the look of it of course! Gorgeous photography as ever.

  28. [...] For the altus (old bread soaked in water), we used another rye bread – Swedish Limpa. [...]

rss email

  • Archives

  • Categories