Following the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge, we arrive at yet another sourdough rye, Swedish Limpa.   The recipe required a special kind of “sponge” : a sourdough starter with molasses, spices (caraway and fennel seeds) and orange peel, that smelled terrific!

Apart from the fact that I dislike the “feel” of rye dough, I had no problems with the recipe.  Here’s what the sponge looked like 60 minutes after mixing it….

The dough seemed dense and heavy; after forming the loaf it must rise for 90 minutes. Mine didn’t rise that much, but by now I’m used to the finicky personality of rye…

This bread smelled wonderful during baking, and the resulting crumb was tight and dense, but not too heavy.

Verdict: it was a delicious bread, and impossible to eat only a single slice.  Maybe it was the spices in the background, or the mix of molasses and rye that produced kind of a hippie-aura, but both me and my husband felt closer to Nirvana with each bite.

Please visit Phyl’s site to check her Swedish Limpa, and then make sure to read about her adventures with Stollen… and I thought our dogs were naughty….    😉


Post #100 at Bewitching Kitchen!   Pop the Champagne and toast to food!

It’s hard to believe that only NINE breads remain in the BBA Challenge…   If you haven’t been following it, Nicole launched the event months ago with the idea of baking her way through the Bread Baker’s Apprentice, by Peter Reinhart, and invited other crazy bakers to join in.  We bake’em and blog’em, but if you want the recipes, then you’ll have to get the book.

I wasn’t too wild about making a pumpernickel bread, but I prepared my rye starter and mixed the dough. I couldn’t find pumpernickel flour, which is a particularly coarse grind of rye, so I had to use regular rye flour in its place. Sorry, Mr. Reinhart! 😉

I am glad to report that this bread was a winner, even without the correct flour!

I halved the recipe, mainly because I didn’t expect us to love it, but, in retrospect, that was a mistake: two of these loaves would be more than welcome in our home!

I had no problems whatsoever with this recipe.   I skipped pictures of the dough rising, because it didn’t seem to rise much, but this photo shows the slashed loaf, just before the oven.

The bread did have some oven bounce, which always makes the baker happy!   The crumb was tight and  lighter than that of the bread in the book .  I used instant coffee in the dough, maybe cocoa powder would make it darker.  It was tender, moist,  and had perfect balance of sweetness and sourness.  A piece of sharp, aged Cheddar cheese was declared the winning match for this bread …

Note to self:  next time, make the full recipe!  😉


The BBA Challenge has had its ups and downs.  Unfortunately with this bread I hit the lowest point in the whole challenge.  I had problems from the very beginning, my dough refused to get smooth, it felt like a mixture of sand and water, “breaking” as I tried to knead it.     I moved on, shaped the bread, allowed it to rise – which, it did not, I barely detect any changes – and baked it.

It was dense, and too chewy for my taste.   I definitely need more practice with this kind of a dough.  Rye won big time,  I got a lesson in humility….

Next day I cut the bread into thin slices and turned them into rye crisps, which were ok, but not great.

I look forward to the reports of my fellow bakers following the BBA Challenge, maybe they can give me some tips to deal with such a tricky dough.


Following the BBA Challenge, we go forward with the sourdoughs, the next couple of which are made with rye flour.  Rye is low in gluten,  which increases the difficulty of handling it.  In this recipe Peter Reinhart uses a rye sponge, that’s made with a sourdough starter, rye flour, and lightly sauteed onions.  The sponge ferments for a few hours, gets refrigerated overnight, and the next day it’s mixed into a final dough with brown sugar, buttermilk, white and rye flours, and a small amount of commercial yeast.

I was a bit insecure preparing this dough – it’s easy to turn a rye dough into a gummy mess, so I paid extra attention to Peter’s advice to avoid over-kneading it.   And the onion smell was too strong, which only added to my worries and bothered my husband!

But, sometimes a bright light shines at the end of the tunnel!  This bread turned out awesome!  It delivered exactly what Peter promised: a flavorful New York deli rye bread…    My pictures don’t do it justice: it tasted much better than it looks.   😉

The crumb was tight but delicate, and the hint of onion in the background perfectly paired with the caraway spice.

My beloved, as usual, used it in a delicious sandwich creation:  grilled rib eye steak slices, sauteed mushrooms (both leftovers from last night’s dinner), and a few slices of Jarslberg cheese.   His remark afterwards:

Even Tom Colicchio would love this one!  😉

I’m pleasantly surprised by how much we both enjoyed this bread, especially because it’s my first time making this type of loaf.

Flash! Here’s something even more exciting… I enrolled in a class with Peter Reinhart himself in January!  I can hardly wait!   My Bread Baker’s Apprentice book is a little beaten up now, but  it’ll look like a million bucks once I get his autograph on it!   😉

Check the  New York deli rye made by Oggi, from “I Can do That”, by clicking here

Next on the challenge: 100% sourdough rye. That one’s REALLY intimidating.  Stay tuned…