Vegan Rúgbrauð – Icelandic Rye Bread

Vegan Rúgbrauð - Icelandic Rye Bread

Today I’m bringing you the recipe for one of my favourite things from Iceland: Icelandic rye bread, called“rúgbrauð” or “hverabrauðA few years ago, I spent a summer working in Iceland and this particular bread was one of the things I missed dearly after returning to Sweden. I couldn’t find anything similar here, so I decided to simply bake it myself – vegan, of course.

Rúgbrauð is a traditional, slow-cooked Icelandic rye bread. What’s so special about it I hear you ask? Well, it’s dark and rich and sweet and fluffy and delicious, all at the same time. The other thing is that the bakers bury the pot in a geothermal spring for 24 hours and let the heat do its job. Even today, a few bakeries around the island bury their bread in the ground to cook. Sadly, I don’t have a geothermal spring in my kitchen, so I improvised and simply cooked it overnight in a crockpot. You can also just bake it at a low temperature for 8-10 hours with wonderful results.

Vegan Rúgbrauð - Icelandic Rye Bread

Vegan Rúgbrauð - Icelandic Rye Bread

Ingredients (Yields one loaf)

1 ½ cups rye flour

¾ cup all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp salt

½ tsp baking soda

1 cup oat or almond milk

2 tbsp sugar

2-3 tbsp syrup or molasses



  1. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients, then add the “milk” and syrup. The dough will be quite firm and sticky. If you have an electric mixer with dough hooks, this would be a good time to use it.
  2. Rub oil/margarine/vegan butter into the bread tin of your choice to keep the bread from sticking.
  3. Spread the dough in your baking tin and cover it with aluminum foil. The dough should only take up about ⅔ of the space now – it will rise in the process.
  4. Place the baking tin into a slow cooker and add hot water so that the tin is about halfway emerged. Cook on low for 12 hours or more, depending on the size of your loaf. If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can also bake the bread at 95°C/200°F for 8-10 hours.
  5. Serve with the topping of your choice, or as a side to a dish called “plokkfiskur”.

A nice little hack in case you don’t have a bread tin: Cut off the top of an empty “milk” container, rinse it and use it instead of a tin. It won’t burn at such a low temperature and you can just cut it off once the bread is baked. 🙂

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