Baking Bread with Lava in Iceland

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(playful string music)
– [Narrator] Siggi Rafn Hilmarsson
is an Icelandic baker
with an unconventional oven.
He bakes bread by burying it underground,
where it’s heated for 24 hours
by nearby hot springs.
– [Siggi] It’s very
common to see hot springs
here in Iceland.
There is constant lava crawling under us.
This lava is heating up water,
and this water comes
boiling up on the surface.
We could put it in the oven,
but this is much more fun.
– [Narrator] Iceland is one of the most
volcanic regions in the world,
with 30 active volcanoes at any one time.
That helps create an
abundance of hot springs,
some with boiling hot water,
and Siggi uses them to his advantage.
He specializes in baking hverabraud,
a traditional Icelandic rye bread recipe
that dates back hundreds of years.
– I know for sure that in this village,
I can track it down as far
as late 1800 something.
My grandmother taught my
mother how to bake this bread,
and my mother taught me.
In the hot spring rye bread recipe we have
rye, flour, sugar, baking
powder, salt, and milk.
We put this in a pot, we
put butter in the pot,
then we wrap it with plastic foil and we
put it down in our hot
spring hole for 24 hours.
It’s very obvious to see if
the ground is hot or not.
I never use a thermometer.
If I need to check the
heat, I just use this one.
Our biggest challenge is rain.
If it rains a lot, these
holes that we are using
can cool down, and if
they are not hot enough,
obviously the bread
doesn’t bake completely.
Everybody eats our bread:
our visitors, the locals.
Hot spring rye bread has a unique taste
that you don’t get from ovens.
The texture of this
bread is quite special.
It’s quite heavy, it’s not
the typical light bread.
When you show this to travelers
that come to Iceland and
you see their faces, they go “Wow!”,
then you start to think that
this is quite amazing, actually.

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