Lingonberry Rye Bread

While other berries are already gone for this season, lingonberries are still abundant  in Sweden and, during September, they are sold at every corner for really nothing.

Lingonbröd, lingonberry bread, is a classic Swedish bread. I wanted to try a version different from the traditional one, which is sweet, and instead leave the nice sour taste of the lingonberries unspoiled. The result is a lovely bread with quite a bite that goes great with strong accompaniments, like salted butter, pickles or salmon, to name a few. And with chocolate spread obviously – is there any bread that does not go well with chocolate? You can try your hands at this berry rye loaf using any type of berry. And, it may actually work even with frozen berries  (scroll down for the method).

This is the third part of my little rye collection. The dough is similar to the one I used for my  light rye loaf and for the apple and raisins rye focaccia. However, there was somewhat less rye in this formula and the dough was more hydrated (I added more water, following MC method for incremental hydration).


You need: 369 g liquid rye leaven*, 469 g water, 443 bread flour, 295 Swedish white rye** (made by 177 g all-purpose wheat + 118 g white rye), 70 g whole rye, 3 teaspoon marine salt, 150 g fresh lingonberry (or other berries, fresh or frozen).

*liquid rye leaven: the night before making the final dough, take out 34 g mature 100% sourdough starter and combine it with 204 g water, 65 g bread flour and 100 g Swedish white rye** (made by 60 g all-purpose wheat + 40 g white rye). It can be used 12 to 16 hours afterwards.

**Swedish white rye flour: it is a mix of finely ground rye flour (40%) and all-purpose wheat flour (60%).

Note: all the flour I used is organic and stone-ground.

How to: Dissolve the liquid rye leaven into the water and add the flours, already combined. Mix for 4 minutes at low speed (or knead for 8 minutes by hand). Let rest covered for 30 minutes (autolysis). Add the salt and knead for further 4-5 minutes at slightly higher speed (or for 10 minutes by hand). Transfer in a large plastic bowl and mix in the berries by hand. Cover with plastic wrap. Make folds every 1/2 hour for the first 1 and 1/2 hours adding water with a spray bottle to prevent the dough to become dry. If you are using frozen berries, however, you will not need this extra hydration, as the berries will give the extra moist while they are defrosting.

After this interval of 1 and 1/2 hours with folds, let rest for 1 hour without folds and then shape. The dough makes 2-3 loaves.

Proofing: Let the shaped loaves rest in proofing baskets lined with whole-rye-floured kitchen towels for a minimum of 2 hours to a maximum of 4 hours (if 4 hours, half of the time must be spent in the refrigerator).

Baking: Preheat the oven to 250 degrees (Celsius, 482 Fahrenheit). Lower the temperature immediately to 230 degrees (Celsius, 446 Farhenheit) and bake for 30 minutes with initial steam (I poured a little water in the lower try when putting each loaf in – I baked one loaf at a time). After 30 minutes, further lower the temperature to 200 degrees (Celsius, 392 Farhenheit) and bake until the crust looks golden-brown on all sides and the loaf feels lighter when lifted.

CONSIDERATIONS: When I started this loaf I was thrilled to test how my rye dough would have behaved with fresh berries. It was surprising to see that the crumb was even more airy and open as compared with the berry-less version. I got the inspiration for a non-sweet berry loaf from bread muse MC, who recently posted a stunning blueberry spelt sourdough – which is planned for tomorrow with frozen blueberries in place of fresh ones… wish me luck! Hope you do not mind my experiments with bread. They are my honest tribute to the stuff of life, as our talented Francis-Olive would put it.

CONSIDERAZIONI: Questo pane e’ molto simile al mio pane di segale chiara (vedi post precedente per la ricetta), a cui ho aggiunto dei frutti di bosco freschi. Sono convinta che sia possibile riuscire a fare questo pane (o qualcosa di molto simile) anche con frutti di bosco surgelati. Domani infatti provero’ a rifare il pane di farro con i mirtilli della mia amica MC, usando, invece dei suoi mirtilli freschi, dei mirtilli congelati. Riusciro’? Stay tuned!

This bread will participate to the weekly bread collection yeastspotting. Thank you Susan!

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  1. You have given me a good feeling inside with this one. There is a little Swedish town in Kansas called Lindsborg and they sell Lingonberry jam & use them in their pastries. They sell something called a Swedish tea ring and I wonder if that is still made in Sweden or if it is more of an Americanized Swedish recipe. It’s like cinnamon rolls that havent’ been cut all the way down and shaped into a ring-very pretty. Anyway, I have went there twice for a vacation, once with my sister and once with my hsuband and had a wonderful time both time. With my husband, they were having the Swedish festival at that time and we got to see them doing a lot of dances in old-time Swedish clothing. It was fun!

    Your bread looks amazing, and I think I’d love it slathered with some Nutella!

  2. You are really doing a great job with the bread baking! I love berries in breads and my family bakes quite a few at Christmastime. My children have some Swedish blood from their father’s heritage and we bake Swedish ‘kringla’ every Christmas too. I would enjoy some good French butter on this and sprinkle some sugar on top like I do with our other sweet breads, for a real dessert treat!

  3. wow! twice!
    wish you, and your breads, were here :-)

  4. The colour of the ligonberries is incredible! I love reading about your bread – so inspiring :) I definitely want a piece slathered in chocolate spread!

  5. Looks fantastic! I have been thinking what to bake that would be pretty and seasonal, and this is really inspiring – and you are right, lingonberries are sold everywhere now, I need to get some and do this!

  6. Now you’ve done it… I’m gonna hanker for a slice of this bread (made with cranberries, I should think) and salmon until Xmas (when they sell cranberries!) Not fair!

    • no they are not actually cranberries but they look and taste pretty much like them. I think lingonberries grow only in Scandinavia, so you may have to come here to have that slice ;)

  7. Whoa. I’ve never seen such a fantastic color in yeasted bread. The berries just pop out at you! Beautiful. And the crust looks perfect. Your house must smell wonderful all the time. :)

  8. Wow, Barbara! How beautiful! I love the star-shape scoring on the first one: if you make the same bread again throwing in some green pistachios with the lingonberries, you will have a perfect Christmas buffet bread! I wish I knew what lingonberries taste like…They certainly look very festive. How wonderful that the spray bottle method is working for you too!
    I am so deeply honored to be displayed as a bread muse!!! Wow, that is the sweetest thing anybody has ever said about me in the bread world (except describing me as a bread head which made me happy too!) But the truth is we all inspire each other: we live in different parts of the world with different seasons (sometimes), different climates (for sure), different resources (certainly) and different terroirs (hooray for diversity!), so we continuously borrow ideas from each others, absorb them and put our mark on them, which is how we weave this living web of bakers that we are all part of. I love it!

    • you are right, this would be great for Julbord, the Swedish Christmas table. you are a bread muse! you inspire so many of us and help this virtual community to grow and to stay tight. many home-bakers are not very “talkative”. they tend to bake, post, and that’s it. you do much more than that. it really feels like bread is your mission and you accomplish it magnificently.

  9. Once again, this is just an amazing looking bread. You are so very talented with this! By the way, I had no clue what a lingonberry was. I have never heard it in English. So I looked it up in German and yes, I do know “Preiselbeeren” :-D That must have been such a delicious loaf of bread.

  10. How wonderful! I feel like trying to make it right now!

  11. The colour and texture is looking marvelous! It’s very beautiful. I’m sure it also tastes great :)

  12. yum! I live in Spain and lingonberries are not exactly abundant in these parts- I wonder if I could use the lingonberry jam I get from Ikea to make this bread!?

    • Hi Johanna! you sure can use lingonberry jam (lingonsylt) instead of fresh berries. In this case, reduce the amount of water. I would say, take out about 100 g water. Add the jam toward the end of the kneading and mix it in gently (lowest speed if by machine). I have never tried this way (but I know that people over here do use lingonsylt in bread) so I am very thrilled about the outcome, let me know how it turns out (and am going to test myself your idea soon). ciao!!

  13. So beautiful!!! This is probably one of the most gorgeous loaves I have ever seen! I love lingonberries, it is always a really big treat when I find them. I usually can’t help pairing mine with brie cheese and red wine, haha, and so I am pretty sure I would have to smear this bread with some brie as well. Either way it is gorgeous!!!

    • thank you so much Jenni for your words of appreciation. I really was not sure how it would ended up using fresh lingonberries in a sourdough loaf and believe me I was quite surprised with the outcome. brie would be just great with the sour of the berries and with the tangy rye. will have to make another loaf!

  14. Wow, this is one good looking bread. I am even afraid to attempt making it because the way it looks – seems like it takes a lot of effort. I am on a bread kick lately and have made my own bread but not looking like that. How long did it take you to make this bread (not counting baking time), just total preparation time?

    • thank you Julia. I should probably start writing a summary of the time. this loaf goes pretty quick to be sourdough-based: 4 and 1/2 hours excluding baking. of course you need to prepare the starter ahead, but that just requires a little planning. let me know how the loaf comes out if you try it, and feel free to ask more questions.

  15. oh yum! i love lingonberries! sadly, the only place i can get some lingonberry preserves/juice is from… Ikea. how ironic. of all places, a furniture store.

  16. OMG, it’s AMAZING. I mean, really, I love it!

  17. I have a bunch of mashed lingonberries I got from my mom. (no sugar or water added) I don’t know why she mashed them all, though they do taste divine mixed with some yoghurt. Would they still work? (similarly to the lingonsylt posted in another comment?) I would love to bake and taste this!!

    • hi riikka! I never experimented with mashed berries but you can surely try. just take away from the dough formula about the same amount of water as the amount of mashed berries you add in. best to do this during the last minute of kneading. the bread will look different, more on the pink side :) but the taste should be similar. most important thing is to get a rise! keep me posted if you try!

      • Hi! I made the bread with mashed lingonberries. I just took out about 100g of water and some of the flour I used is probably darker than yours. I’m still a beginner at bread baking so I’m not sure if the dough being very sticky is a good or bad thing. BUT I got a pretty good rise and the bread is delicious, though not as pretty as yours. Thank you for the recipe & this wonderful blog! Here’s a link to my bread:

        • Riikka I am so glad it worked for you too! your loaf is beautiful. I can see the good rise and the open crumb, and the color is just lovely, not pink as I expected. I may try your variation myself soon. I am curious about your starter, is it your own? it truly did a great job here! thank you SOOO MUCH for letting me know about the result and for the picture. xo

          • Hi! Thanks for your comments!! Yes the starter is mine. I started it just a few weeks ago with the help of Tartine Bread Experiment. They were the first instructions I read about making a sourdough starter, so simple and easy!

          • Chad Robertson’s basic methods are really straight forward and Francis-Olive has really made an effort to spread the word. get the book if you don’t have it yet, it is truly a keeper. But even just following Francis-Olive you will learn a lot. She is a great baker AND teacher.

  18. sis, i need to seriously catch up on your posts! xo

  19. I have been looking for a recipe for this bread, do you have the english conversions for the measurments

  20. It will be my next chalange !!! I promise to do, but I think it will be so dificult, I don´t have all ingredients here in Spain


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