These Icelandic Bakers Use Hot Springs to Make Their Delicious Bread

Geothermal springs, Iceland | © Dennis van de Water/Shutterstock
Geothermal springs, Iceland | © Dennis van de Water/Shutterstock
Photo of Alex Jordan
Travel Expert21 July 2017

It might sound crazy but Icelandic bakers are tapping into the geothermal power of the land to bake their bread.

The technique, dating back over 200 years, has been passed down between generations of bakers and is still practised today.

Iceland lies on the fault line between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates and has a particularly active topography.

Sigurður Rafn Hilmarsson in action | © Laugarvatn Fontana

Each week Sigurður Rafn Hilmarsson, the owner of Laugarvatn Fontana geothermal baths produces around 70 loaves by baking the mixture inside the ground, keeping some for his family and selling the rest.

Digging just 30 centimetres below the black volcanic sand reveals a bubbling pool of water -which can reach temperatures of 95 degrees celsius – into which the pot is placed and left for 24 hours.

Bread made by geothermal baking | © Laugarvatn Fontana

The results are a thick, sweet bread that is often compared in appearance and texture to cake. According to locals it’s best served with simple, salty meats like pickled fish.

It’s estimated that about 70% of Iceland is heated by geothermal energy from springs, however this renewable source comes at a price.

New springs have been known to pop up in unexpected places following seismic activity, destroying roads and even homes.

If you’d like to learn more or even book a tour of Iceland’s volcanic beaches with Sigurður Rafn Hilmarsson and his team visit

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