Joululimppa (Finnish Holiday Rye Bread)

Joululimppa (Finnish Holiday Rye Bread)
Recipe type: Breads and Rolls
Serves: 6
  • 2 Cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 Cup molasses
  • 1/4 Cup butter
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons dry yeast
  • 1/2 Cup warm water
  • 1 grated rind of 1 orange
  • 1 Cup rye flakes or wheat germ
  • 2 Cups dark or light rye flour
  • 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 Cups unbleached white or whole wheat flour
  • glaze
  • 1 Tablespoon molasses
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  1. Similar to Swedish rye. Can be toasted.
  2. Heat the buttermilk, molasses, butter, salt, fennel seeds, and caraway seeds until the butter melts. Set aside to cool.
  3. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Let it stand for 5 minutes until the yeast bubbles. (Comment: whisk in some flour and molasses to nourish the yeast.) Add the yeast to the cooled buttermilk mixture along with the grated orange rind, rye flakes or wheat germ, and rye flour. Beat well until smooth. Add 3 to 3 1/2 cups of wheat flour, stirring in a cup at a time, until the dough will not readily absorb more flour. The dough will be rough.
  4. Flour a work surface with the remaining wheat flour and turn the dough out onto it. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rest for 15 minutes. (The gluten in rye is more fragile than in wheat. It needs a resting time to recuperate and reform and does not require as vigorous or lengthy a kneading).
  5. Gently knead the dough for 5 to 10 minutes until smooth. Form the dough into a ball and place it in a large buttered bowl or pot, turning it to coat all sides with butter. Cover it and let it rise, in a warm spot, until doubled in size, about an hour.
  6. Punch down the dough and gently knead it for one minute. Form the dough into three round loaves and place in lightly buttered 9-inch cake pans or on buttered baking sheets. Cover and let rise until almost doubled in size, 45 minutes to an hour.
  7. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine the water and molasses, brush the tops with half of this mixture to glaze. Then lightly pierce the loaves all over with a fork.
  8. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. While the bread is hot, brush it with the remaining glaze. Remove the loaves from the pans and cool on racks.
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