Rúgbrauð – Icelandic Volcano Bread

Rúgbrauð – Icelandic Volcano Bread

Recipe by Mère SouveraineCuisine: Icelandic


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Cooking time





Rugbrauð is Icelandic dark rye bread, also known as thunder bread* or pot bread, which is served at Þorrablót (Thorrablot), the Viking festival in honor of Thorri a legendary king  of Kvenland (or in honor of Thor, the god of thunder, in more recent history).

Rugbrauð is an easy to make bread that is soft, moist, crustless, very dense, a bit sweet, and it keeps for a long time. It is often served with butter, mutton pâté, hangikjöt (smoked lamb), or with pickled herring.

Traditionally, Icelandic rye bread is prepared over the course of 12 or more hours by placing it into a covered pot and sinking these into the heated ground water near a volcano. Since most of us do not have a volcano nearby, this recipe will use an oven.

*The name “thunder bread” refers to the after-effects of eating too much of this high-fiber rye.

What You Need


  • Preheat oven for 215°F (100°C)
  • Wisk together the 2 flours, salt, and baking powder
  • Wisk in the brown sugar
  • Stir in golden syrup
  • Add milk a little bit at a time and stir. The rye will soak up the milk as you stir it in. Add milk until you reach a cake batter consistency and then stop adding, this may or may not use the entire cup. Note that a pancake batter consistency is too thin.
  • Pour into a well greased cast iron cauldron/Dutch oven or 2 loaf pans
  • Put lead on Dutch oven or wrap each bread pan tightly in parchment and tie with butcher’s twine.
  • Bake at 215°F (100°C) for between 12-14 hours. Can bake for up to 24 hours if you wish, but it is not necessary.

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