Hapanleipä | Finnish Sour Rye Bread

Hapanleipä | Finnish Sour Rye Bread

There is a rich history of breads in the Nordic region- it is what we lived off for centuries and it’s still a big part of our lives. In Norway we tend to need at least one bread meal a day- we’re a bit quirky that way.

Finnish Rye Bread varies from other Nordic breads because they use coarse rye flour- whereas others often tend to use a mixture of several flours. Hapanleipa is often made as a flat cake rather than the typical loaf or bread tin.

This Finnish Rye Bread has a typical hole in the middle- this was used to hang it up in the roof in the old days as a way to preserve them and keep rats away from eating it all. This is also a sour kind of rye bread, where they spend several days making a sourdough- ish mixture. This gives for a subtle yeast- taste in the bread, which makes it rather recognizable.

The traditional recipe only calls for quality rye flour and salt. More modern recipes include spices, syrup and perhaps a little wheat flour to obtain some of the properties gluten provides. To sour properly, the flour should be organic and as little processed as possible.

This is a dense rye bread, perfect for salmon, herring or aromatic cheese




Hapanleipä | Finnish Sour Bread

Yield 2 breads



Day 1:

175 ml water

5 g fresh yeast

120 g coarse rye flour


Day 2:

220 g coarse rye flour

330 ml water


Day 3:

330 g coarse rye flour

10 g salt



Day 1:

Mix water and yeast in a bowl.

Add the flour and blend well.

Let sit at room temperature over night, without covering.


Day 2:

Add the rye flour and water to the bowl and mix well.

Cover and leave over night.


Day 3:

Check the dough to make sure you have an active fermentation process going.

If it's frothing and taste fresh and acidic- you've got it!

Add the salt and the rest of the flour and transfer to a food processor or anything that you can knead bread with (you're hands are fine, but it takes a bit of work).

Knead for at least 20 minutes on medium speed.

Cover and let rise until double the size - about 40 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a floured work counter and divide into to pieces.

Shape them into round cakes with a hole in the middle - about 4 cm wide.

Cover and let rise once again for around 30 minutes.

Bake in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 30 - 40 minutes.




This delicious recipe is made by the talented Norwegian food stylist Therese Elstad from My Nordic Kitchen. For more amazing recipes and inspiration make sure to visit her website at www.mynordickitchen.no and follow her on Instagram @mynordikitchen

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