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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 ovens scared me because their shelves worked like a ferris wheel. I pictured myself climbing inside to ride around for free.  The fear that I would one day actually fulfill the fantasy was the part that scared me. This was especially tempting while the Swedish rye was baking. No tickets required. The aroma would almost knock me over from pure joy. I wanted to be as close as possible to all that goodness. 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.

It is very important to follow this recipe and its instructions closely. Because of the heavy ingredients, it requires extra tender loving care.


  • 3 cups water, 110 degrees or cooler
  • 3 tablespoons yeast
  • 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 cups rye flour, divided
  • 8 to 10 cups all-purpose white flour, divided
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 egg (for egg wash)

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

Let sit for 10-15 minutes until the foaminess you see in this picture forms on top of mixture. Stir.

Add butter, 1 cup of rye flour and 3 cups of all-purpose white flour.


Stir. Should be a somewhat soupy consistency. Add eggs and salt and stir again.

Cover with the cutest towel you can find in your drawer (this bread is worth it) and let rise for one hour.

Oooo pretty.

Deflate again by stirring. Making bread is good for the soul that is feeling passive aggressive.

Administer honey & molasses. Stir.

Stirring in one cup at a time, add 1 cup of rye flour and 4 cups of white flour.

Ahhhh finally beginning to look like a bread dough.

Place about 3 cups of flour on counter and knead dough for about 10 minutes. About 2 to 2 1/2 cups of this flour will be worked into the dough while kneading. Knead fro about five minutes or until dough is somewhat elastic.

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

After dough has doubled, it’s time to get aggressive & punch dough down. Using the leftover flour on the counter to keep fingers from getting sticky, form dough into two balls & place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Allow to rise in a warm place for another happy hour.

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

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

Gently brush the loaves with egg wash for a shiny top and place into pre-heated 350 degree oven. Bake for about a half an hour or until medium to dark brown.


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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