(March 16, 2014) If anyone would have told us that two years into “Around the World in 12 Dishes” we would still be cooking and baking away, we would have been very happy and also a little skeptical. After all two years are a big deal in the blogging world and yet here we are, at the start of Season 3 of our global project! We are kicking off in Reykjavik, capital of the country of fire and ice, as it is often called due to its many volcanoes and glaciers – Iceland!
Inspired by last year’s theme of trying to bake our way around the world, one bread at a time, our first research focus was, of course, a bread and we came up with one that resonated quite deeply with me: Rúgbrauð (affectionately nicknamed Thunder Bread) is traditionally baked in a pot lowered into a geothermal spring to steam and bake. In an attempt to be as authentic as we can, we went on a search for a geothermal spring and found some in Banff, but for some reason they did not like us try to put our dough into their thermal swimming pool, so we had to come up with plan b: the slow cooker.
About.com was so kind to serve as our inspiration, not least thanks to their ingenious substitution of the geothermal spring with a slow cooker! The assembly was pretty simple. Mix all the dry ingredients together, dissolve the molasses in the warm milk…
…mix it all together and…add more milk…and a little more…and a little extra (in the end a whole cup) and then a bit more flour to counter that last little bit of too much milk and we were in business! We blame the dry climate around here for needing more liquid… And he has found his new favourite toy – our stand mixer!
We greased up two oven safe containers, stuffed as much dough into them as seemed safe, built an aluminum foil tent/dome over it, secured it with an elastic band and off into the slow cooker it went for 4 hours (with two cups of hot water at the bottom to help create the sauna effect), just hoping that the whole thing would bake, since there was no way of checking if it was done… If you were by any chance wondering, if this would also work in a regular oven – we tried that as well (also with some water in ramekins). If out of curiosity, to do you a service or just out of plain necessity since we still had some leftover dough, you be the judge. We put them into small molds, tented them up the same and then put them into the oven at 300 F for 4 hours as well. They looked almost the same, tasted almost the same, at least the one we could actually cut to try, since the other ones turned out to be so hard and crusty that we could probably have used them for target practice instead of bread… But that’s a different story… So slow cooker is the way to go (unless you have one of those springs handy and people who will let you put a bread in them, that is)!
So did the steamed one turn out, you ask? Moist, dense, with some sweetness to it, a distinct rye-y flavour, tickling this bread connoisseur’s fancy And our budding mini connoisseur at almost two slices on his own, so we think that we can call this one a success!
Disclaimer: This bread fits into my love for heavy metal music, being called Thunder Bread. This is why I wore a shirt of Swedish Viking related band Amon Amarth and watched an Iron Maiden DVD while writing this post
Just like in the past two seasons, we also have our colouring placemat and four-page passport to add to your Icelandic experience and since this is the first country of season 3, we also have our passport cover page for you!
Check the other blogs of “Around the World in 12 Dishes” for their Icelandic creations:
Please link up your Icelandic dish and/or craft in our linky below, we would love to see it!