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Swedish Brown Bread

Swedish Brown Bread

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Makes 2 12-inch (30cm) loaves.
By Dennis W. Viau; modified from a handwritten recipe submitted from a fan of my web site.

A fan of my web site sent me a photograph of a handwritten recipe from 40 years ago and asked what I might do with it. I changed a few ingredients, using butter rather than lard, and brown sugar rather than white sugar. A few items needed clarification: “¾ sugar” became “¾ cup sugar,” etc. The outcome was very good.

Ingredients:

3½ cups (828ml) whole milk
4 tablespoons clarified butter (you can substitute whole butter, shortening, lard, coconut oil, etc.)
¾ cup packed (5 ounces/142g) brown sugar
1 cup (5 ounces/142g) rye flour
1 cup (5 ounces/142g) whole wheat flour
¾ cup (177ml) molasses
4½ teaspoons dry yeast (2 ¼-ounce packets/sachets), active dry or instant is okay
2 teaspoons salt
7 cups (35 ounces/992g) all-purpose flour, perhaps ¼ cup more if dough is too wet

Directions:

In a saucepan, warm the milk with the butter and salt to 105 to 115°F (41 to 46°C). Transfer to a large bowl, preferably the bowl of a stand mixer, and add the brown sugar, rye flour, whole wheat flour, molasses, and yeast. Combine well.

Transfer the bowl to a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook (or mix by hand) and add the all-purpose flour, about a cup at a time, combining until a dough becomes sticky, but dry enough to knead. If necessary, add a few tablespoons of flour as necessary to bring to the correct consistency.

Knead 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Transfer to a large greased bowl and cover with plastic. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1½ to 2 hours.

Divide the dough for bread pans, depending on the size of the pan. This recipe will make two long loaves or three smaller, or could be shaped into two large round breads on baking sheets. Shape the dough into the desired loaves and place in greased baking pans or on baking sheets. Cover with plastic and let rise again, 1 to 1½ hours. Meanwhile, heat oven to 400°F (200°C).

Before placing the loaves in the oven, slit the center top of each loaf along the full length. Bake 10 minutes at 400°F (200°C) and then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (177°C) and bake an additional 30 minutes. (Smaller loaves will bake more quickly; larger loaves will take longer.) The bread is done when the outside is browned and the loaf has a hollow sound when thumped with the hand. I use a digital thermometer for accuracy. When the internal temperature is above 190°F (88°C), the bread is done.

Allow to cool thoroughly before slicing. Can be served warm with almost any meal, but it is especially good toasted and buttered.