Mike Blanc of Oakland, Nebraska, might not boast Swedish ancestry, but his wife Karen is a full-blooded Swede, and she grew up savoring her Aunt Nancy Wallerstedt’s traditional rye bread. When Nancy died, Mike made sure Karen continued to enjoy it and bravely made it for the first time during a family reunion last summer.
It was a tough audience. The result?
“It was unbelievable,” he says. “You just have to be patient. With Swedish rye, you have to plan not to be in a hurry with anything else the day you bake it.”
Swedish Rye Bread
Family Recipe Courtesy of Mike Blanc
Makes 4 loaves
2½ cups boiling water
2 cups cold water
½ cup lard
1 cup molasses
2 packages yeast
½ cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups wheat flour
2 cups rye flour
1 cup sugar
4 teaspoons salt
10 cups white flour
- Add boiling water to melt lard and molasses together. Add 2 cups cold water. Set aside to cool mixture to lukewarm.
- Dissolve the yeast and sugar in warm water. Set aside.
- Combine wheat flour, rye flour, sugar and salt in large mixing bowl. Set aside.
- Add the lukewarm first three ingredients to the flour mixture and blend.
- Incorporate the yeast, water and sugar mixture to the dough.
- Add 4 cups white flour to dough and beat with electric mixer for 3 minutes.
- Stir in an additional 4-5 cups white flour (use additional flour if needed).
- Put onto a floured work surface and knead about 8 minutes. The dough will be quite sticky, but the softer the dough, the moister the bread.
- Place dough in a well-greased bowl and turn once to coat. Cover with cloth and let rise in a warm place for 1½ hours.
- Punch down dough and divide into 4 loaves. Place in greased 9”x5” loaf pans. Prick bubbles on top. Let rise 1 hour.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.