• Hot and fresh out the slow cooker (Camellia Aebischer)Source: Camellia Aebischer
Reminiscent of German pumpernickel bread, the Icelandic rye lava bread is a softer, sweeter slice that’s begging for some crème fraîche and smoked fish.
Camellia Ling Aebischer

27 Aug 2021 - 12:03 PM  UPDATED 27 Aug 2021 - 12:31 PM

Many European countries have a beloved version of rye bread and Iceland is no different. The only thing is, theirs is baked in a more unconventional manner: underground.

Lava bread is a dense, slightly sweet loaf baked in Iceland’s famed volcanic hot springs. A pot of batter-like dough is buried under volcanic sand in the evening and dug up in the morning. The consistently warm temperature slow cooks the loaf overnight so all that’s left to do in the morning is enjoy a warm, fresh slice with a little butter.

The bread is cut into thin slices and retains moisture like a hefty slice of cake. It’s great sweet or savoury and is just as delightful with honey and butter as it is with smoked fish and crème fraîche.

If you don’t have a hot spring of your own at home (crazy, I know) then no worries, you know what else maintains a low temperature? The trusty slow cooker.

Feel free to adjust the sugar as you like. It does help bring out all the licorice notes of the rye.

How to make lava bread at home

  • 2 ½ cups rye flour
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Add the above ingredients to a large bowl and mix to distribute.

  • 2 cups milk

Stir in milk to form a thick batter-like dough.

Pour the dough into the greased bowl of your slow cooker. If you have a large slow cooker consider doubling the recipe to achieve a thicker loaf.

Make sure to wrap the lid of your slow cooker in a tea towel to catch drips otherwise your bread will be soggy in the morning.

Cook on low for 8 hours. In the morning, turn out the bread and cool slightly before slicing thin. Serve with butter.

Just make a double batch if you want a nice tall, hefty loaf.

Love the story? Follow the author here: Instagram @cammienoodle

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