Geothermal Lava Baked Icelandic Rye Bread
This post is part of our Something Different series. A series aimed at spreading awareness for unique and offbeat cultural practices. Become a citizen of the world.
Icelandic rye bread, also known as rugbrauð, is baked underground in Iceland using Geothermal energy. Yes, you heard that correctly. The magma and lava beneath the earth is possibly the coolest way to cook Icelandic bread. It’s also sometimes known as Thunder Bread or Icelandic Lava Bread.
This stuff though… is so far the best bread I’ve ever tasted. It can take upwards of 12 hours to cook, and tends to be on the doughy, moist and sweet side. Serve with Icelandic butter.
The method is simple. Allow ingredients within a covered and sealed pot to sink into the Earth near a geothermal hot spot. Steam then cooks the bread. Of course you don’t need to travel to Iceland to experience Rugbrauð. Many famous cafes in downtown Reykjavik cook their bread on low heat in the oven overnight. Though they can afford to do so; thanks to the abundance of cost-effective geothermal power provided by the vulcanized Earth within Iceland. Over 60% of Iceland’s power is derived from geothermal sources. You can scroll down for both the Icelandic geothermal bread recipe, as well as the easiest method to cook this unique item in your own kitchen.
So why Rye?
Rye is particularly easy to grow, and though its yields are lower than wheat in good soil, it can survive harsher climates in mediocre soil. Also, if it matters to you, rye bread has little to no gluten.
Icelandic Rye Bread Recipe and Ingredients
- 2 1/2 cups rye or dark rye flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 large Tbsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. Hawaiian Black Lava Salt (or just salt)
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. molasses
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup hot water
Method for Baking Icelandic Geothermal Rye Bread (Thunder Bread)
- Preheat oven to exactly 200 degrees Fahrenheit
- Coat your baking pan with a thin layer of unsalted butter or brush with avocado oil
- Whisk ingredients mentioned above with either a hand or mechanized whisker
- Add and stir molasses, buttermilk and brown sugar until fluid and silky
- Cover with aluminum foil and form an air-tight seal as best you can to preserve moisture
- Bake for 6-8 hours or until cooked uniformly through