Icelandic Rye Flatbread (Flatbrauð)

Forced in the past, because of limited fuel, to cook flat, quickly prepared breads rather than oven-baked loaves, Icelanders still enjoy making rye flatbread topped with butter and slices of smoked lamb or fish.

Serves: 10Hands-on: 1 hourTotal: 1 hourDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 10


  • 3 cups rye flour (or combine 2 cups rye with 1 cup spelt flour)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 pan warm water


  • Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment. Turn the mixer to its lowest setting, then pour in the boiling water in a steady stream, gradually increasing the speed to medium until the water is incorporated.
  • Once the flour has been worked into a stiff dough, replace the paddle with the dough hook, increase the speed to a high setting, and knead for 7 minutes or so until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and is smooth and glossy.
  • Divide dough into 10 balls (2½"). Roll each ball into a 4" discs, ½"-thick. Prick the tops of the discs several times with a fork.
  • Over medium heat, heat a dry lefse griddle or nonstick frying pan until a drop of water sizzles on the surface. Working in batches, place the discs on the griddle and cook until they begin to look dry and dark circles begin to form on the bottoms. Flip and cook the other side until browned.
  • Remove flatbreads from the griddle and dip in warm water. Shake excess water off of breads before stacking on a plate and covering with a moistened kitchen towel. The flatbreads must cool in a moist, warm environment to keep from drying out.