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Icelandic Brown Bread

Icelandic Brown Bread - Easy to make, slightly sweet, soft and perfect for your morning toast - this Icelandic brown bread is amazing. So good with jam for breakfast, you need to try it!

Easy to make, slightly sweet, soft and perfect for your morning toast – this Icelandic brown bread is amazing. You need to try it!

Icelandic Brown Bread - Easy to make, slightly sweet, soft and perfect for your morning toast - this Icelandic brown bread is amazing. So good with jam for breakfast, you need to try it!

So, anyone out there ever had Icelandic brown bread?  Yeah….didn’t think so.

This maybe isn’t a recipe that the masses are clamouring for.  But you know what?  They should be.  It’s a fantastic, easy to make, brown bread that is a bit sweet, super soft, and just perfect for your morning toast.

So why Icelandic brown bread?  Well, because I’m part Icelandic and so I had it fairly often growing up.  My grandma’s family is from Iceland, although I’ll be honest, I haven’t really had a ton of Icelandic food.  There were the few things that we would have at my Grandma’s house whenever we were visiting, but that’s about it.  And occasionally my dad would bring home some dried fish and he and I would happily inhale it (being the only two in the house that actually liked it! As a side note, I haven’t had that in years – I wonder where I can find it?).

Icelandic Brown Bread - Easy to make, slightly sweet, soft and perfect for your morning toast - this Icelandic brown bread is amazing. So good with jam for breakfast, you need to try it!

I have a couple of Icelandic recipes from my Grandma, although I haven’t yet attempted to make my favourite of all, a cake that she made every Christmas.  It’s so good though, and I might need to try making it this year, just so that I can share it with you!

The one I make on a regular basis is this one – Icelandic brown bread.  This recipe was from my great Aunt, and was originally meant to be made in a bread machine.  But I never did really care for the strange square shaped loaves that you get out of a bread machine and so I haven’t used one in years.  If you prefer to use one though, this recipe works well on the whole grain setting – it will make one large, 2 pound loaf.

I like it as two smaller 8×4 inch loaves, made in bread pans.  Either way, it’s the perfect bread for toast.  We love it toasted for breakfast with peanut butter or jam.

Even if you haven’t grown up with Icelandic brown bread – you will love it.  It’s fantastic!

Icelandic Brown Bread - Easy to make, slightly sweet, soft and perfect for your morning toast - this Icelandic brown bread is amazing. So good with jam for breakfast, you need to try it!

Yield: 2 - 8x4 inch loaves

Icelandic Brown Bread

Icelandic Brown Bread

Easy to make, slightly sweet, soft and perfect for your morning toast - this Icelandic brown bread is amazing. You need to try it!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cup (315mL) warm water
  • 1/4 cup (57g) butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (6g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (105g) brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup (90g) molasses
  • 2 teaspoons (12g) salt
  • 2 cups (10oz, 280g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups (12.5oz, 350g) whole wheat flour (plus up to 1/2 cup (2.5oz, 70g) extra, if needed)
  • 1 tablespoon (11g) instant yeast

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attached, or in a large bowl with a wooden spoon or dough whisk, combine the water, butter, sugar, brown sugar and molasses.
  2. Add the salt, all-purpose flour, 2 1/2 cups (350g) whole wheat flour and the yeast.
  3. Mix with the dough hook until everything is combined.
  4. After mixing for a minute or so, the dough should come together and clear the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  5. If it is too wet and sticky to clear the bottom of the bowl, sprinkle in a little more whole wheat flour, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough clears the bottom of the bowl. It should be soft and slightly tacky to the touch, but not overly sticky.
  6. Knead the dough for 8-10 minutes (12-14 by hand) until it is smooth and elastic.
  7. Remove the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning it to coat, and cover tightly with plastic wrap.
  8. Allow it to rise until almost doubled, about 2 hours.
  9. Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly oiled surface.
  10. Divide it into two pieces and shape each into a loaf by pressing it into a thick rectangle and then roll it up from the long edge, pressing the seam as you do so.
  11. Place each loaf seam side down into an oiled 8x4 inch bread pan and cover loosely with plastic wrap.
  12. Allow the loaves to rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until they have almost doubled.
  13. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  14. Bake the loaves for 50-60 minutes, or until browned and cooked through.
  15. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

32

Serving Size:

2 slices

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 68Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 146mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 1g

Nutrition Information is estimated based on ingredients used and may not be exact.

  1. Brian says:

    The Icelandic national league of North America has a pdf of recipes which includes recipes for Vínarterta and Icelandic brown bread.

  2. Susie says:

    I am happy to have your Icelandic brown bread recipe! My grandmother used to make it. I was reading the comments and I just made Vinaterta using my grandmother’s recipe. Not sure I spelled it correctly. Also, my cousins and I have made Rulipilsa (not sure of spelling) as well but this year I purchased some from a Scandinavian store in Seattle. Did any of you grow up with the twisted donuts called kleiners? They are so delicious and sold in Iceland all over.
    Will report back after I make the bread!

    1. Stacey says:

      Hope it turns out the way you remember it! I haven’t tried making Vinatarta yet but I definitely want to one of these years. It was a favourite of mine that my grandma made every Christmas. My kids have never tried it though so I really need to try making it myself. I never tried Kleiners though, never heard of those – can you send me the recipe (I have a contact form for email)? I’d love to try it!

  3. I can’t wait to try this recipe. I grew up loving my aunt Baby’s brown bread. I’m half Icelandic and how I long for authentic, Vinatarta… (I have a hunch that’s the Xmas cake you referred to.) Cardamon flavored layers like thick Icelandic tortilla’s smothered in a prune concoction. A real labor of love to produce, but worth it in the eating. There was also some kind of smoked meat that came out around Xmas time. I want to call it Rulapelsa, but I have no idea how it was spelled, let alone made, or even what kind of animal it came from. Just delicious. The Skyr, you can keep unless it comes with 3 times as much honey. It’s Icelandic yogurt that always tasted more like sour milk curds to me, but my palette wasn’t very developed when dad fed me a spoonful when I was about 6. Dad passed a couple years back and the older generation is pretty well gone now, I’m missing the flavors of my childhood. Glad I found you.

    1. Stacey says:

      Thank you! I hope you love it as much as I do! I LOVE Vinatarta (no clue how to spell it) but haven’t tried making it yet. I have my Grandma’s recipe so one of these days I’m going to have to make it. I haven’t had it in years so that needs to happen soon! Rulapelsa I never liked much but my Dad likes it. Skyr – agreed, not a fan at all! My other favourite (that I have made) is Ponukkukur (spelling?) and Lefse. I haven’t made those for my kids yet, but definitely need to. Hope you like the bread! 🙂

  4. T Guttormsson says:

    I have a small amount of skyr, recently brought to me from Iceland. I understand it can be used as a sort of “mother” to make home-made skyr. Any suggestions on recipes?

  5. Caroline says:

    If you’d like some hardfisskur I can get the address of where to order from. I am half Icelandic and live 3 miles from the oldest Icelandic church in North America

    1. stacey says:

      Hi Caroline – a few people have actually emailed the name of the place in Gimli that you can get it from! And my dad is going to be there this summer too, so he’ll grab me some I’m sure. But thanks!

    1. stacey says:

      Thanks Kel! I have a few other Icelandic recipes from my Grandma that I plan to post eventually – whenever I next make them I suppose! 🙂

  6. Danielle says:

    So, I’ve never tried Icelandic Brown Bread before but I’m so intrigued! This loaf looks absolutely perfect Stacey! I love that there’s brown sugar and molasses in this too, it sounds amazing.

    1. Wanda Sparkes says:

      Hi Stacey,
      If you really want some hard fish, you can get it in Gimli, Manitoba – used to be the center of what was called “New Iceland.”

      I also have some Icelandic brown bread recipes. I use the traditional yeast (for your recipe it would be 1/2 tbsp and 1/2 c. warm water and pinch of sugar – sit 10 min.). Also, I scald 1 1/2 c. milk and then add the molasses, salt, lard and brown sugar, adding the yeast mixture. With less yeast, the bread is a little heavier, but makes heavenly toast! I sometimes use multigrain flour in place of the whole wheat, and it turns out nicely.

      I also make vinarterta and ponnokokur, which I’m sure are in your family recipes! Yummy!

      1. stacey says:

        Thanks Wanda, someone else actually emailed me telling me that Gimli is the place to get it – if I’m ever nearby I’ll have to do so! I’ve used multigrain flour in mine too, and love it, and toast is always our favourite with this bread. Vinarterta and ponnokokur are two of my favourites. Haven’t had either in a while but I’ve been meaning to try out my Grandma’s vinarterta recipe, that’s one I’ve never actually made myself!

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