Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Swedish Rye

December 1, 2010
10:30 AM

This week is crazy busy with catering. Tomorrow night we are doing a banquet for 120 with stuffed pork loin and lingonberries, our stuffed chicken Thomas, twice baked potatoes Romanoff, salads, grilled vegetables, and a chocolate almond torte for dessert. I look across the kitchen and see Amy working on stuffing the chicken breasts and she still has to decorate the almond tortes. I have just butterflied out the pork loin, stuffed it and put it in the oven to bake. I want to bake it at a lower temperature to give it time to tenderize. Now I am busy filling the twice-baked potatoes. But that is not what I am worried about. The Scandinavian Association is having their annual Christmas smorgasbord on Saturday and I haven't even put together the shopping list, much less started on their very extensive menu. I have been buying ingredients as the week has gone on, but it has been on the fly as I think about something we need. Slim has made the meatball filling and we will be rolling meatballs tomorrow. As I finish the potatoes, I grab my checkbook and a complete shopping list and head out the door to get more groceries for Saturday.Slim asks about the pork loin, but I tell him not to worry, it won't be done until after I get back.


I'm back from shopping and go into a frenzy to get some of the Smorgasbord dishes ready. First, I check the pork loin. I have butterflied 4 loins and rolled and stuffed them into 8 pieces. I am baking them at 325 degrees in the same oven in two pans. I pull out the top pan and open the foil covering. The roasts aren't done enough. They are cooked, but not yet tender. I re-cover them and drop the temperature and put on the convection. While the pork is finishing, I make the red cabbage, the cucumber salad, and the rice pudding for the Smorgasbord. Now it is time to make the sponge for the rye bread.My grandmother always made Limpa Swedish Rye, which has orange zest, anise, and molasses. However, there is a second Swedish Rye called sweet rye that is more popular that eliminates the orange zest and the anise. This is the recipe that I am going to use. I start thinking about her bread. It had a big molasses flavor. I have been experimenting with different molasses for the past several years. The kind you can find in the stores is pretty generic with either regular flavor or full flavor. Neither seems to do the job. Occasionally I have found blackstrap molasses, which is better, but I have been to two stores today and neither had blackstrap. I remember my grandfather used to eat the molasses on his pancakes or biscuits and it was sorghum molasses. I start to think that that is the molasses grandma used since I can't imagine they would buy two types of molasses. I find that at the store and take a chance on it. After I make the sponge (the sponge is essential for a fuller flavor and a good rising once you have made the bread), I taste it and it has a good flavor-not as big as grandma's, but close. I cover it and check on the pork. The top pan is done just right but as I pull out the bottom pan, it seems slightly over-done. The bottom of the oven had been cooking faster than the top!! I put the roasts in the cooler to cool down quickly and head home concerned that I have overcooked the pork loin.

December 2, 2010
8:00 AM

I take the sponge and add my flour and sugar and a little more yeast and mix the rye dough. I am using what my friend Dale and I refer to as a "wet" bread dough. After it rises and I shape it into loaves, I check the pork loins. My overnight fears are not justified. The pork seems perfectly cooked. After the bread rises a second time, I bake it for about an hour at 325 degrees convected. When it comes out of the oven, I slice off a couple of slices for Amy and Daphne and myself. Perfect.

Swedish Limpa Rye
Hulda Anderson
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 2 & 1/2 cups water
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 T anise seed
  • 2 t. salt
  • 2 T grated orange peel
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening

Combine the above ingredients in a sauce pan and heat to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool til lukewarm

  • 3 T yeast
  • 4 cups rye flour
  • 7 cups white flour.

Blend the flours and the yeast in a mixer. Add the cooled liquid and mix thoroughly. Cover and let rise until doubled. Divide and form into loaves each weighing about 22 ounces. Cover and let rise again until almost doubled. Bake at 325 degrees for one hour.