Rúgbrauð – Icelandic dark rye bread

  • Author: Sue O'Bryan
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 hrs
  • Total Time: 8 hrs
  • Yield: 2 loaves 1x


A delicious easy to make old recipe for Icelandic dark rye bread, which traditionally was baked in the earth and therefore known as “geothermal bread.”  This version is for the home cook  – the loaves bake while you sleep, 8 hours at 200 degrees!




  1. 3 cups of rye flour (preferably dark rye flour)
  2. 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  3. 4 tsp. baking powder
  4. 2 tsp salt
  5. 1 tsp baking soda
  6. 2 cups buttermilk
  7. 1/2 cup honey (I used raw buckwheat honey)
  8. 1/2 cup light maple syrup (the recipe originally called for “golden syrup”, which I did not want to use, nor did I want to substitute corn syrup)


  1. Mix together flours and other dry ingredients
  2. Form a well in the flour mixture and pour in buttermilk
  3. Add honey and maple syrup
  4. Mix together until dry ingredients are fully incorporated
  5. Pour into two loaf pans and bake at 200F for 8 hours
  6. Allow loaves to cool for at least 24 for hours before slicing into them


Try baking in one loaf pan – you will get a taller loaf, but you will need to cool for at least 32 hours before slicing.  These loaves do not rise much therefore sometimes it is nice to have a bigger, taller loaf.

  • Category: Baking, bread
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Nordic
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