Icelandic Rye Bread (Geyser Bread)

Traditionally baked in a watertight vessel placed in hot ground, saturated with bubbling and very hot water from nearby geysers, this rich rye/whole wheat bread is as versatile as it is unusual. It’s uniform crumb makes it an ideal vehicle for butter and jam, cream cheese and whatever During a visit to Iceland, and stopping at their version of a gas station convenience store, we even had it served with butter and smoked trout. Eat your heart out, 7-11!. The long baking time doesn’t come close to the 24 hours customary in Iceland, but it’s spot on in flavor. Thinly sliced and allowed to get a little hard, it’s uses only multiply. If you’ve a mind to try this, I suggest in investing in a 13″ Pullman loaf pan.


3 cups (310 grams) rye flour
1-1/2 cups (180 grams whole wheat flour)
2-1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup (250 grams) golden syrup (see NOTES)
3 cups + 2 Tbsp (730 ml) buttermilk
1 Tbsp honey


Preheat your oven to 210 degrees.
Use butter, and lightly grease a standard loaf pan; or, if you have one, a 9 x 13″ lidded Pullman loaf pan. (see NOTES)
In a large bowl, stir together the rye flour, whole wheat flour, and baking soda.
Stir in the golden syrup, buttermilk, and honey, mixing gently until just combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan; smooth it down to make sure the pan is evenly filled. Bake in the oven for 6 hours, 30 minutes. Remove from oven. Let cool slightly so you can safely remove it from the pan. Can be served warm or cool.


Golden syrup is an English heavy syrup made from sugar. It has no corn syrup in it, which makes it perfect for those with a corn allergy. I’ve found Lyle’s Golden Syrup in my local supermarket, but you can also get it here. If you use a standard loaf pan and pour in all of the batter, it will come very close to the top, and you will end up with a hood-like crust. A 13″ Pullman loaf pan, with lid, should give you a loaf, 13″ long, and with no dome (as pictured above.

If golden syrup is not readily available, Grandma’s Molasses works,, and gives a slightly different taste – still delicious.

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