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Joululimppu (Finnish Christmas Bread) for #TwelveLoaves

#TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Cake Duchess and run with the help of Heather of girlichef, which runs smoothly with the help of our bakers.

Our host this month is Liz from That Skinny Chick Can Bake, and our theme is Holiday Breads. For more bread recipes, visit the #TwelveLoaves Pinterest board, or check out last month's mouthwatering selection of #TwelveLoaves Breads!

With a theme of Holiday Breads, I wanted to create a new-to-us loaf though R really wanted to make his Panettone. He had even candied his own citrus last year. Still I convinced the kitchen elves to be a little bit adventurous. I steered the project towards a savory Scandinavian bread because Jake's cousin was sending us some hickory smoked Kokanee. Thanks, Ike!

This bread fit the bill with its hearty dark syrup and earthy seeds. The traditional recipe uses treacle; I opted for molasses. I think they are similar and prefer the earthiness of molasses.

My Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf helped me with this bread. He's becoming a great lil' baker. He even added some more spices because he "wanted it to be more interesting."

For the bread

  • 1 ½ C dark rye flour
  • 2 C wheat flour
  • 3 T Molasses
  • 1 t anise seeds
  • 1 t caraway seeds
  • zest from 1 organic orange
  • 1 C buttermilk 
  • 1 T active dry yeast
  • ½ t vanilla salt (you can use whatever salt you have, I just had a jar of vanilla salt from Susan of Girl in the Little Red Kitchen)
  • cardamom from 3 white cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1/4 t ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • freshly ground black pepper - just a dash
  • 4 T melted butter

For finishing

  • 1 T molasses
  • 2 T warm water
Place the molasses, seeds, and orange juice in a medium saucepan. Heat it until bubbles begin to form on the edges. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flours, yeast, salt, and spices. Set aside.

Pour the molasses mixture, buttermilk, orange juice, and melted butter into the flour and mix to form a sticky dough. Knead the dough until smooth. Transfer the dough into well greased bowl, cover, and set aside for 60 minutes.

After an hour, punch down the dough and let rise for another hour. Split the dough into two or three pieces; we went with three smaller boules. Form the dough into balls and place it on a parchment-lined baking dish for a third rise. This one should be between 30 and 45 minutes.

At end of third rise, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake the bread for about 20 minutes. While the bread is baking, mix molasses with water and whisk till combined.

Remove the bread from the oven. Brush them with the molasses mixture and return to the oven for another 20 minutes.

Let the bread cool completely before slicing. Serve with butter, gravlax, or other smoked fish.

Here's the rest of the Bread Basket this month...

If you’d like to add your bread to this month's #TwelveLoaves collection, here’s what you need to do:
  1. Post your Twelve Loaves bread on your blog, making sure to mention the Twelve Loaves challenge in your blog post (this helps us to get more members as well as share everyone's posts).
  2. Please link your post to the linky tool at the bottom of this blog. The bread MUST meet the Twelve Loaves theme (enter theme). 
  3. Share your Twelve Loaves bread (must be baked and posted this month) on your blog by enter the last day of the month.


  1. The flavors in this bread just shout "holidays!" Such a delicious, hearty loaf!

  2. I've been using the heck out of my little jar of vanilla salt - it's almost gone! Love the sound of this bread, just perfect for the chilly weather we've got going on outside.

  3. It's great to learn about bread traditions in other countries and this Scandinavian bread is a new one for me.

  4. The Scandinavian countries are a treasure box of bread and pastry recipes. So glad you've introduced us to Finnish Christmas Bread, Camilla =)

  5. Camilla...what a great combination of flavors and spices in this bread! I love savory breads with a hint of sweetness. Your bread turned out so beautifully! : )

  6. How authentic! Working with rye can be so difficult and you are a master (especially with your elf1).


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