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Rúgbrauð (Icelandic Rye Bread) – Iceland

I is for Iceland. After scouring the internet for icelandic recipes, a few things were clear 1. they eat a LOT of fish in Iceland (which frankly is not surprising given that it is surrounded by the ocean) and 2. rúgbrauð or icelandic rye bread is the bread of choice. I must say, this bread was DELICIOUS…sweet, dense, moist and simply delectable. Plus, it is super easy to make…zero skills needed. You basically dump all of the ingredients in a bowl, mix, pour it in a pan or tin or milk carton lined with parchment paper and bake. I used an 8″ springform pan. It should be noted though that it does take a while to bake… this one listed 8 hours, and probably could have used a bit more. My oven runs a bit cool. Would I make it again? ABSOLUTELY!!!! I set out to make my rye bread and found lots of recipes (print and video) but one stuck out to me more than the other. It was of an Icelandic guy, who I must say, was quite funny. Based on how he described things, it seemed pretty authentic. After reading more recipes etc, it confirmed what I had thought. As we are in the middle of the Omicron peak the dairy supply in the supermarkets is at about 40% so I had to wait an extra day to make it until they had kefir. Additionally, they were out of “golden syrup” which is also called Treacle both in the UK and in the video. If you are saying to yourself, I have never heard of golden syrup before…me neigther. It is esentially a thicker and carmelized simple syrup..sugar and water that you cook down for about an hour with a bit of lemon so it does not crystalize. You can generally find “Golden Syrup” in most supermarkets. However, due to Omicron and supply issues, they were out of it. Having finally received my kefir, I was determined to move forward with this recipe and made my own Golden Syrup. My husband made fun of me for doing it and suggested using honey instead. Once he tried the Golden Syrup he kept finding excuses to come back downstairs and grab just a tiny bit more of it. The Rúgbrauð was delicious and well worth the wait. Scott and I couldn’t stop eating this. It was fabulous and a great accompagnement to the Plokkfiskur (Irish Fish & Potato stew/hash). Highly recommend it. Make sure to serve it with butter.


  • 3 cups rye flour
  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat or all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 750ml kefir (plain)
  • 1 cup golden syrup

Step-by-Step Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 200 C (390 F)
Line an 8″ springform pan with parchment paper.
You can also use an iron dutch oven or a bread pan.

In a large bowl, add rye flour, all-purpose or whole wheat flour, baking soda and salt.
Mix well with a whisk.

Pour in the Kefir and golden syrup.
Mix well with a whisk until all of the lumps are out and it comes together.

Pour batter into the pan.

Bake bread at 200 celsius (390 F) for 30 min.
After 30 min, lower temperature to 100 celsius (210 F) and cook for 7 1/2 hours more.
Depending upon your oven, you may want to cook it at 240 instead of 210.

Remove from oven. Remove parchment paper.
7. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
8. Serve with butter.

Recipe Source: Icelandic Rye Bread – The Sweet – ICELAND FOOD CENTRE #02

Icelandic Rye Bread – The Splendid Table (12 hrs cooking time)

6 thoughts on “Rúgbrauð (Icelandic Rye Bread) – Iceland

  1. What type of kefir are you using? I make my own from a strain of Russian grains.
    Will this work using same amounts as in your recipe?
    Thanks … looks really interesting!

    1. Thanks for the inquiry. I just used the only brand of plain unsweetened kefir that they sold in the regular supermarket. It happens to be called Lifeway. That is cool that you make your own. I would think that it should work with yours as well using the same amounts. I added pictures of the ingredients. Usually I have them, but I had forgotten to upload it. It is up there now. Let me know how it comes out. Oh, also, even if it is a bit extra moist inside that seems to be fine and the bread holds up well. We ate half then kept the rest for a week or 2 to share with my folks and it stayed well (although I would just eat it all sooner 🙂

    2. I would assume it would. I just bought whatever they had in the store. I think the brand is featured on the picture of the ingredients. I would think any kind could work. But be warned, this bread may need a bit more time than indicated. It takes a LONG time to cook, but is really yummy. Also, if there are parts that are still not done, you can always cut a circle in the middle and maybe bake it a bit more in the toaster oven.

  2. Have you tried baking it in a Dutch oven? That’s what I first tried with this same recipe from Iceland food center because it was suggested you could use it. However, I’ve now tried this exact recipe twice in my Dutch oven and both times resulted in an undercooked middle. I even baked it for 8 hrs instead of 7.5 and still soft uncooked center. I put it back in the oven for 2 additional hours thinking that could save it but no. So on my third try I decided to bake it in the spring form pan like you’ve done. I think because it’s a thinner metal it just might make the difference. It’s currently baking and I’ll let you know how it turns out. So hoping 🙏because it’s really frustrating baking twice and both turning out to be failures.

    1. I was frustrated with it too because it was undercooked. I just stuck it back in and left it there until it was done a bit more – I think I left it for a few more hours as crazy as it sounds. If it is moist in the middle, just cut off some pieces and cook them a bit in the toaster oven 🙂 I must say thought, we did love the flavor of this bread and it has been on my mind to make it again. You might want to also try it with the Finish Salmon Soup. That was REALLY good and easy. My mom LOVES that soup. I liked the bread with the Icelandic fish and potato dish too. Best of luck. Let me know how yours turns out.

    2. Had another thought (for the future). Maybe one of those pans that has the tube sticking up in the middle. My mom had a cake that never cooked in the middle so she started using one of those types of pans. If you need a picture of it, I can send it, just let me know. I may try it in one of those types of pans next time since we both had the same problem.

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