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The Old Hen B&B closed May 31, 2014. We recommend The Roaring River B&B 425.888.4834 and The Log Cabin B&B 425.533.8278 for your North Bend get-away. Please stay tuned for Deanna's cookbook plans. Here's to starting from scratch. Talking about The Old Hen online? Our hashtag is #theoldhen .

Sweet Swedish Rye Bread Recipe


I am one of the luckiest girls on the planet earth. When I was a wee one, I would watch trays of dark, sweet Swedish rye bread come out of giant, scary bakery ovens. The aroma would almost knock me over while suffering from pure joy. Although no bread will ever come close to the large $1.19 Swedish rye loaves I grew up with, this recipe has me sitting next to the giant ovens once again in my mind. Happy, happy girl.

  • 1 ½ cups warm water, 110 degrees or cooler
  • 2 packages yeast (or 1 tablespoons + 1½ teaspoons)
  • ¼ cups white sugar
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 eggs, beaten
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 cup medium rye flour, divided
  • 5 cups white flour (plus a bit more for handling sticky dough as needed)
  • 1 egg (for egg wash)

Place warm water into a very large bowl. Sprinkle in yeast. Whisk together.

Add sugar, butter, egg, honey, molasses, rye flour and 1 cup of all-purpose white flour.

Stir. Should be a soupy consistency. add three more cups of white flour one cup at a time, stirring between each cup in with a sturdy spoon.

Knead dough by hand for about 15 minutes; or, better yet, if you have a mixer with a dough hook, knead in mixer for about 8 minutes on medium speed.

Cover with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place for one hour or until double in size. The colder the location is, the longer the bread will take to rise.

Deflate again. Add one cup of white flour. Knead again for about 15 minutes by hand or 8 minutes on medium-low speed in mixer.

Form dough into ball and place back into bowl. Cover with towel again & place in a warm place to rise for another hour or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350°F. After dough has doubled, punch dough down. Using a bit of flour to keep fingers from getting sticky, form dough into two equal balls & place on a half sheet baking pan with space in between lined with parchment paper. Allow to rise in a warm place for another happy hour.

Loaves will about double in size. It’s moments like these that remind me there is a God.

Time for the magic of egg wash. Beat one egg well.

Gently brush the loaf with egg wash for a shiny top and place into oven. Bake for about 15 minutes, turn tray around, then bake for 20 more minutes.

This bread is perfectly perfect for cutting big pieces to have with a bowl of soup.

To make it extra special at Christmas, you can add the zest of an orange.


Oh, my! How < insert every positive adjective ever known to man here >.


Actual size is approximately this big.

To enjoy all of the luscious flavors this Swedish rye has to offer, allow to mostly cool before slicing. This bread is perfectly perfect for cutting big pieces to have with a bowl of soup.

To make this recipe even more fun. I know, not possible, right? Yes, yes, it is possible. Give away shorty baby loaves to friends. Fill little soup cans a bit less than half full when you form your loaves. Just spray with baking spray & make sure you use the kind you open with a can opener.


After cooled, wrap with a piece of scrapbook paper and tie with a fun, rustic bow. Shorty baby bread has never looked or tasted so good. Who needs flaming hot ferris wheels anyhow?

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15 Responses

  1. That looks fantastic. Bread is my favorite comfort food.

  2. MOM


  3. Walter

    I had a 5lb package of rye flour just waiting for a recipe like this!!
    The two loaves were HUGE and baked BEAUTIFULLY but I may have used a ‘tad’ more molasses than I should have.. Can’t wait to try the soup cans with my next batch!

  4. Love this primer on Swedish rye — have never had it but am adding this to my must-bake list ASAP. Thanks for sharing.

    Your B&B looks so inviting — can’t wait for our next visit to WA.

  5. Katie

    Do you still bake the baby loaves for the same amount of time or do you cut the time any? I would love to try these!

    • The Clever Culinarian

      Hello Katie, Thank you so much for writing. Yes, you might need to cut the baking time a bit. I don’t remember what the baking time for the little loaves was but they should be done baking when the top is a lovely brown as pictured. I hope you enjoy them! 🙂 – Deanna

  6. […] soup goes perfectly with Swedish rye bread or, you know, simply a spoon. For this is art. var addthis_config […]

  7. […] says love. Add to that bakers dressed in white with huge pot holders in hand pulling trays of hot Swedish Rye Bread out of the oven – an oven that was the size of Rhode Island – and you have, what I […]

  8. Martin

    Thanks for sharing recipe and method. It turned out brilliant. Martin

  9. This looks just like what I grew up with, except for the loaf shape. Thank you

  10. Carol holm

    Do you take both ends off of your cans to make mini loaves? It looks like you bake it on its side because the picture looks like bread sticking out of the bottom too. Is that hoe you do it?

    • Hello Carol, You just take the top of the can off and bake standing straight up. I hope you enjoy this cute way to bake the loaves! 🙂 xo Deanna

  11. Carol holm

    Thanks. Trying it today. I served the bread yesterday for Easter dinner and it was a big hit!

  12. […] When chicken is done baking, place on a platter and top with dried cherry compote. ‘Tis lovely served with Swedish rye bread. […]

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