Swe-Dishes: Syrup Loaf (Sirapslimpa)

Food & Drink

Swe-Dishes: Syrup Loaf (Sirapslimpa)

When school’s in session so are sandwiches, and there is nothing better than the smell of freshly baked bread – other than maybe eating it.

John Duxbury of SwedishFood.com shares his recipe for sirapslimpa. A sirapslimpa (syrup loaf) is a lightly sweet, and often lightly spiced, rye and wheat loaf with a dark, chewy crust.

According to Duxbury, sirapslimpor are loaves that older Swedes remember with great affection from their younger days when they would get home from school and enjoy a slice of the buttered bread with some cheese or Kalles Kaviar and a glass of milk. Others have memories of prickigkorvmackor (salami sandwiches) made with sirapslimpa on skolutflykter (school trips)!

John Duxbury’s Tips

  • If you can’t get Swedish mörk sirap, you can use any other syrup instead – think dark molasses or treacle. Here’s an Amazon link for mörk sirap.
  • Only lightly crush the fennel and aniseeds to release their delicious aroma, because if they are finely ground, their flavor will be too dominant.
  • Bake with confidence! Don’t worry if the loaf is looking burnt, as the crust should be dark and chewy.


There are numerous recipes for sirapslimpor across Sweden. The most common variations compared with the recipe below are to:

  • Use milk instead of water
  • Omit the spices (although others use caraway seeds in addition to fennel and anise)
  • Use more yeast and a shorter rise time
  • Glaze the loaves with syrup, diluted 50/50 with water, or leave them unglazed



  • 55 g rye flour
  • 125 g boiling water


  • 85 g rye flour
  • 365 g strong white flour (bread flour)
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds, lightly crushed
  • 1 tsp anise seeds
  • ½ tsp fast acting dried yeast
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 225 g cold water
  • 50 g mörk sirap (or other syrup)
  • 20 g honey
  • 1 tsp butter, melted


  1. Add the rye flour to a small bowl and pour the boiling water over it. Whisk with a fork until evenly mixed. Lightly cover with a cloth or a shower hat and leave at room temperature overnight.
  2. Add the rye flour, strong white flour (bread flour), fennel seeds, anise seeds and yeast to a large bowl and mix thoroughly.
  3. Add the salt and mix again.
  4. Add the cold water, mörk sirap, honey and the scalded rye flour. Mix thoroughly, cover and leave at room temperature for 8-10 hours.
  5. Scrape the dough out of the bowl on to a well-floured work surface. Flatten it into a square about 8″ x 8″.
  6. Line a baking tray with baking parchment, roll the dough up into a sausage shape and transfer it to the tray. Cover with a cloth and leave to prove for about 45-60 minutes.
  7. Pre-heat your oven to 475°F.
  8. When ready, place the dough on a middle shelf and give the top of the oven a good spray of water. Bake for 5 minutes.
  9. Reduce the temperature to 410°F and bake for another 10 minutes.
  10. Open the oven door to let the steam out and then bake for another 25 minutes until the loaf is dark and the inner temperature is 208°F.
  11. Brush the top with melted butter. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

John Duxbury enjoys cooking Swedish food and went to the trouble of learning Swedish so he could read Swedish cookbooks. The love affair with Swedish food started as a result of numerous visits to Sweden when he was working with Swedish students. When he retired from teaching he decided to set up http://www.swedishfood.com so other people with an interest in Swedish cooking could benefit from his work.

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