Recipe of the Week: Rúgbrauð–Geothermal Baked Rye Bread

A warm, earthen slice of Iceland in your Seattle kitchen

By Shuchi Mehta October 7, 2014


The recipe for this delectable Icelandic staple comes to us in a timely manner: the seventh annual Taste of Iceland Festival returns to Seattle this Thursday, October 9 through Sunday, October 12. If you’ve never been to the fest, it’s described as Icelandic foodie heaven as well as a music, art, and cultural paradise. This year, our very own Dahlia Lounge teams up with Chef Viktor Örn Andrésson, last year’s Nordic chef of the year to create a menu hallmarking Icelandic ingredients. You can try everything from Arctic Char to free-range lamb, kelp and traditional Skyr over four courses at Dahlia through Sunday. Even the drinks will be Icelandic featuring local mixologist Amber Gephart’s creations using Reyka Vodka and Brennivín. 

This rye bread will help you get into Nordic mode, and as an added bonus, the recipe is originally a very environmentally friendly one. It uses geothermal energy for baking (more than 66 percent of Iceland runs on heat from the Earth–yay Earth!). In Iceland this bread is baked underground for 24 hours in an empty milk carton wrapped in foil. But Seattleites, unless you’re planning a trip to Iceland anytime soon, your ovens will have to do the job. Below is the recipe for basic, traditional Icelandic rye bread. Get your viking on, folks, and try your hand at this recipe.

This bread goes great with plokkfiskur (fish mash), herring and egg

5 cups sugar 
3 1/3 cups whole wheat flour 
16 cups rye flour 
2 tsp salt 
3.5 ounces dry yeast
12 cups milk (hold onto the cartons)

Mix the ingredients together and knead well.

Half-fill each 1 liter carton, pressing well to avoid air bubbles in the bread.  Wrap with tin foil and stand on the bottom of the oven and bake at 200°F for about 12-13 hours.


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