Rye cakes


Swedish rågkakor (rye cakes/buns)

Rågkakor (rye cakes) are wonderfully light buns that have a fabulous flavour. They go especially well with cheese and smoked salmon and they are also ideal for smörgås (open sandwiches) - see some serving suggestions below.

Traditionally rågkakor are made with a hole in the middle, although the reason for the hole isn't totally clear. Knäckebröd (crispbread) was always made with a hole in the middle, so that it could be stored on wooden rods somewhere dry and out of the way of mice. That doesn't apply to rågkakor because they need to be eaten when fresh, so one theory is that Swedes have developed an affection for a hole in bread as a reminder of former times.

The other theory about the holes is that it means that the bread can be baked faster and there is no risk of the centre being under-cooked. However, I have tested this recipe with and without holes and couldn't really detect any difference! So in the recipe below, the holes are optinal! John Duxbury


Recipe summary for Swedish rågkakor (rye cakes)


A bottle of Dan Sukker vit sirap 

• Swedes normally use vit sirap (white syrup), which can be bought in specialist shops or online, but any light syrup will do.

Anise seeds in a jar

• If you can’t find anise seeds use caraway seeds instead.
• In Sweden the buns are often made with a hole in the middle, but this seems to make little difference to the flavour, so omit cutting a hole if you prefer.
• Cut the buns into wedges and serve with good quality butter, cheese or fish and a side salad for a Swedelicious lunch.
• If you would like smaller rye buns for open sandwiches, follow the recipe below but in step 8 divide the dough into four pieces, roll each to about 10 cm (4”) diameter and reduce the baking time to 8-10 minutes.


150 g wholemeal (dark) rye flour
220 g strong white flour (bread flour)
1 tsp anise seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
7 g "instant" dried yeast, 1 packet
250 g* milk
30 g* syrup
5 g salt (¾ tsp)
25 g butter, softened and cut into small pieces

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


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

2. Slowly heat the milk, syrup and salt in a saucepan, stirring from time to time, until the mixture is lukewarm (40ºC/104ºF).

3. Pour the liquid over the flour and mix thoroughly.

4. Fit the dough hook, run the machine on minimum for a minute and then add the butter a bit at a time, taking about a minute to do so.

5. Increase the speed to 2 (kMix) or 3 (KitchenAid) and knead for 3 minutes (6 minutes if kneading by hand).

6. Gently poke the dough with your finger. It should feel sticky, without sticking to your finger. If necessary, add a tablespoon or so more white bread flour and knead for 30 seconds or so and test again. (Flours vary, but I normally find that I need to add 1-2 tablespoons more flour, but take care not to add too much flour or the bread will end up too dry.)

Rye dough rising 

7. Shape the dough into a ball, place in a clean bowl, cover with a cloth and leave in a warm draught-free place for about 40 minutes, until doubled in size. (The time depends on the temperature, so it might take about 90 minutes at 20°C (68°F).

8. Turn the dough onto a worksurface lightly dusted with flour, knock back, divide into two and shape each into a ball. Roll the balls into flat cakes about 15 cm (6”) in diameter. Cut a hole in the middle of each cake if desired.

Rolled rye dough which has been pricked with a fork

9. Transfer to a baking sheet covered with baking parchment. Prick each cake with a fork, cover with a cloth and leave for about 30 minutes.

10. Preheat the oven to 225ºC (425ºF, gas 7, fan 200ºC).

11. Bake in the middle of the oven for 10-12 minutes until golden brown, or until the temperature in the middle of the buns reaches 96ºC (205ºF).

A Swedish rågkaka on a cooling rack

12. Transfer to a rack, cover with a cloth and leave to cool.

Serving suggestions

Swedish rågkakor topped with ham, blue cheese, figs and walnut pieces

• A small rågkaka topped with ham, blue cheese, sliced figs and walnut pieces.

Swedish rågkakor topped with salad, cold roast beef, horseradish and crispy onion pies

• A small rågkaka topped with salad, cold roast beef, grated horseradish and rostad lök (crispy onion pieces).

A Swedish rågkakor topped with salad, smoked salmon, sliced egg and mayonnaise

• A topping of salad, smoked salmon, dill mayonnaise, sliced egg, cucumber and dill.

A Swedish rågkaka topped with ham and mustard

• A small rågkaka topped with ham and Johnny's senap (mustard).


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Phone and tablet h32  phone & tablet version.pdf 



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John Duxbury
Editor and Founder