Swedish Rye Braid

While rye bread is typically flavored with caraway seed, the Swedish rye distinguishes itself with the flavor of anise, fennel, and fragrant orange zest.

Serves: 8Hands-on: 35 minutesTotal: 11 hours 15 minutesDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 8


  • 2 cups plus 1 Tbsp. warm water, divided
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 3½ tsp. active dry yeast (2 packages)
  • 4 cups rye flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ cup molasses
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp. plus ⅛ tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 2 tsp. ground fennel seed
  • 2 tsp. groun anise seed
  • 3 Tbsp. grated orange zest
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 1 large egg


  • To create the sponge, combine 2 cups water, 1 tablespoon honey, and yeast in a large bowl. Stir to dissolve and let stand 10 minutes. Add 1 cup rye flour; beat 1 minute. Cover and let stand at room temperature 8 hours.
  • Add to the sponge the milk, remaining honey, molasses, butter, 1 tablespoon salt, fennel, anise, orange zest, and remaining rye flour. Add enough bread flour to make a soft dough. Turn out onto a floured work surface and knead 8–10 minutes. Add flour only to reduce stickiness. Return to bowl, dust with flour, cover with plastic, and rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, about 1½ hours.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment. Turn risen dough onto a floured surface, divide into 3 equal portions, and form a 3-strand braid. Place onto prepared pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and proof for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Whisk egg with a tablespoon of water and remaining salt, and brush gently onto the top of the risen loaf. Bake until golden brown and hollow sounding, about 30–40 minutes. Cool completely on a rack.