Icelandic Thunder Bread

January 21, 2019 Ian Cumming Uncategorized 0 comments

Many wonderful and unlikely things have happened since Bake Off but I think my favourite job was going to Iceland to do an article on geothermal baking for the Telegraph Travel Section.

Cutting up loaf of geothermal bread having been baked for 24 hours, Deildartunguhver, Iceland.

The geothermal bread was an intriguing loaf quite unlike anything I had tried before… but there again not many loaves are baked in geothermal springs for 24 hours. You can read the full article here all about where and how it is made. Rather than just research and write up the bread they wanted me to come up with a recipe for my version of it. However given that most of us don’t have a geothermal spring in our back garden this was a bit of an intriguing challenge! In the end though I realised that a slow cooker was about as close as I could get.

This recipe was a gorgeous surprise. The slow cooking process melts the sultanas into gooey loveliness whilst the sugar and milk gently caramelises. It is slightly different from the original Icelandic version with the addition of sultanas but these can just be omitted. If you do use them though it comes out rather like a fruit malt loaf. Once you have tried it and checked that the water in the slow cooker doesn’t boil dry, I recommend putting it on as you go to bed so you can wake up to a fresh, hot loaf first thing in the morning. 

Butter a mixing bowl that will comfortably fit inside a slow cooker.

In a mixing bowl briefly combine:

  • 150g rye flour
  • 75g wheat flour
  • ½ tsp fine salt  
  • 1 level tsp bicarb
  • 100g molasses sugar or dark brown muscovado sugar
  • 120g sultanas
  • 320ml milk

Turn on slow cooker. Pour mixture into prepared bowl and tightly cover with tin foil. Pour boiling water into slow cooker pot around the edge of the bread tin so it goes about an inch up the side. Place lid on slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours, checking every so often to make sure the water hasn’t boiled dry in the cooker. Turn out and leave to cool for a few minutes. Spread with generous amounts of butter.

Church amongst lava fields at Budir or Búðir at dusk, Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Iceland.

Bakers making bread, Braud & Co bakery, Reykjavik, Iceland.

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