Weekend recipe: How to make Swedish rye cakes

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Weekend recipe: How to make Swedish rye cakes

Rye (or råg in Swedish) is a quite popular grain for making bread in Sweden – and probably most known through its use in Swedish crisp bread. It can be used for other sorts of bread too, for example rye cakes. Food writer John Duxbury shares his recipe with The Local.


Rye cakes (rågkakor) have a lovely flavour and are ideal for open sandwiches (smörgåsar). In Sweden they are normally made with a hole in the middle, although the hole is something of a mystery because, unlike knäckebröd, one usually doesn't hang up rye cakes.


Serves: 2 cakes

Level: Easy

Preparation: 15 minutes

Cooking: 15 minutes

Total: 30 minutes


180g wholemeal (dark) rye flour

150g strong white flour (bread flour)

5g salt

5g fennel seeds

7g (1 packet)  "instant" dried yeast

250g water*

10g mörk sirap (dark syrup)*

7g butter

milk, for brushing the cakes after baking

*For bread recipes we recommend measuring all quantities in grams.


1. Add the flours, salt and seeds to the bowl of a stand-mixer and stir to mix.

2. Add the “instant” dried yeast and mix again.

3. Heat the water, mörk sirap and butter in a saucepan until the butter has just melted and the mixture is lukewarm (40ºC/104ºF). Pour over the other ingredients and stir thoroughly.

4. Knead on a low speed for 8 minutes (10 minutes if kneading by hand). Add more white bread flour if the dough seems too sticky and stop the machine every now and again to scrape down the sides if necessary.

5. Cover with a cloth and leave in a draught-free place for 10 minutes (there is no need for it to double in size).

6. Turn the dough onto a worksurface dusted with flour. Divide into two and shape each into a ball. Leave to rest again for 5 minutes.

7. Roll the balls into flat cakes about 15 cm (6”) in diameter. Cut a hole in the middle of each cake if desired.

8. Transfer to a baking sheet covered with baking parchment. Prick each cake with a fork each cake, cover with a cloth and leave to double in size.

9. Pre-heat the oven to 225ºC (425ºF, gas 7, fan 200ºC).

10. Bake in the middle of the oven for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown on the bottom and the middle of the cakes reaches 96ºC (205ºF).

11. Transfer to a cooling rack, brush with milk and leave to cool completely.


- Swedes use mörk sirap (dark syrup) which can be bought in specialist shops or online. If you can’t find mörk sirap use half a tablespoon of treacle or molasses and half a tablespoon of any light syrup instead.

- Try anise seeds or caraway seeds instead of fennel seeds for a slightly different flavour.

- I usually bake smaller 10 cm (4 in) rågkakor, which I find more convenient for smörgåsar (open sandwiches). Follow the recipe below, but divide the dough into just four pieces, roll each to about 10 cm (4 in) diameter and omit making a hole. One small rågkaka is sufficient for two smörgåsar.

Recipe courtesy of John Duxbury, Editor and Founder of Swedish Food


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