Limpa (Swedish Rye Bread)

Limpa is a light, slightly sweet rye. If you're looking for pumpernickel or anything harsh, you've come to the wrong place. We prefer it toasted and lightly buttered or lightly peanut-buttered, but jam, curd, and Scandocheeses are good on it, too.

1 cake or packet yeast, activated in warm water as directed on packet

1 c. warm water (total)

1 c. milk, heated to lukewarm (I nuke mine for a few seconds)

4 T melted oleo (can use other shortening if you're desperate)

1/4 c molasses (lightish if you can get it)

2 eggs, beaten

1 T salt

1/2 c brown sugar (also lightish)

Mix all that together after the yeast has activated. Then add 2 c. rye flour, as light as you can get it -- medium will do in a pinch, but dark will not, and light is best. Then add white flour "until you can handle the dough," says Grandma Elaine's recipe; Aunt Ellen and my own experience confirm that that amount is about 6 cups. Let it rise for a good while--an hour or so--out of drafts and chills. Pound the living crap out of it. Seriously knead this bread. It likes a beating. The crust turns out better that way.

Then put it into two or three loaves--you can use a round peasanty freeform loaf, but the traditional way is in loaf pans. I usually do two. If you like, you can put a couple of tablespoons of orange zest or a bunch of raisins in, but generally I don't. Bake it at 350 for an hour. This is what my grandmother called "a moderate oven," and we all need a bit more moderation in our lives.