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  • Ju Shardlow: We're in the hot spring town

  • of Laugarvatn, Iceland,

  • where out of the volcanic, muddy ground

  • comes the most pristine rye bread.

  • Everywhere you look in Iceland

  • there seems to be something bubbling,

  • whether it's a geyser, a lagoon,

  • and the geothermal bakery here is no different.

  • But how do they cook the bread here without an oven?

  • Let's go find out.

  • In Iceland we met with Siggi Rafn Hilmarsson,

  • general manager at Laugarvatn Fontana.

  • Siggi Rafn Hilmarsson: This is our main tool.

  • Ju: He followed in his grandmother's

  • and mother's footsteps in this hot volcanic sand.

  • This is his bakery, no matter the weather.

  • The process starts with Siggi making the dough.

  • He uses 4 cups of rye, 2 cups of flour,

  • 2 cups of sugar, 4 teaspoons of baking powder,

  • and 1 teaspoon of salt.

  • So, why is it that you use rye, then?

  • Siggi: Well, rye has been used in Iceland for decades.

  • It's something that

  • originally came from Denmark to Iceland.

  • And then we add milk to this.

  • Ju: And that cow's milk.

  • Siggi: Yeah, cow's milk, yeah.

  • The milk is from the area,

  • from the cows in the area.

  • And there is a company in Selfoss

  • about 25 minutes away from here that produces it.

  • Ju: And you get this fresh every day?

  • Siggi: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

  • So it's really a local thing.

  • The butter we use comes from the same company, same cows.

  • Ju: So, what's the art to making this, then,

  • to stirring this up?

  • Siggi: Yeah, just put love in it.

  • Ju: [laughing] Put love in it, yeah.

  • Is this your family recipe?

  • Siggi: Yeah, this is the same recipe

  • my grandmother and mother was,

  • they were using.

  • If you go around the country,

  • this is done in a few places.

  • Some people use honey or syrup instead of sugar.

  • But this is the way it has been done here,

  • and I am just simply honoring that tradition.

  • Ju: So, how will you know this is done, then?

  • Siggi: It's supposed to look

  • basically more or less like this.

  • So I think we have a really good dough here.

  • Ju: When the dough is ready,

  • he pours it in a tin lined with butter.

  • Do you have to use a special tin for this?

  • Siggi: It needs to be strong because,

  • as you can see, on the lid here,

  • it's been banged quite heavily with a shovel,

  • you know, when we are digging it up.

  • The people use all kind of things

  • to bake this bread here.

  • You can even,

  • there are some people that use

  • empty Mackintosh Chocolate box, you know, for this.

  • But this pot works well for us.

  • Stainless steel.

  • Ju: The dough is covered with a layer

  • of baking paper, then wrapped in film.

  • Siggi: Do this here.

  • Just one circle, like this.

  • And then we put the top.

  • Ju: Do you make this with your kids, then?

  • Siggi: My kids love this, yes. Ju: Yeah?

  • And how long will you bake this for?

  • Siggi: 24 hours, yeah. Ju: 24 hours, wow.

  • Siggi: 24 hours in the ground.

  • It's amazing,

  • if you bake it for shorter time,

  • like 17, 18 hours,

  • it usually doesn't turn out good.

  • If we bake it for too long,

  • 25, six, seven, eight hours,

  • it starts to, you know, compress.

  • So, 24 is the magic.

  • So, we are good to go.

  • Ju: My goodness, oh, it's actually quite heavy.

  • Siggi: And this is our main tool for this baking.

  • Ju: It's time to put our bread in its oven,

  • aka the hot springs of the lake here in Laugarvatn.

  • The sand by the lake can host from 10 to 15 tins of bread.

  • Siggi can either dig a completely new hole

  • or reuse one from the day before.

  • Siggi: It's good to pile,

  • make a good pile on top of it

  • just to make this isolation, you know.

  • [shovel grating sand]

  • Ju: Why do you pat it down like that?

  • Siggi: To make it more beautiful.

  • Ju: You can't have ugly bread with this view.

  • Siggi: And the mark.

  • Voilà.

  • And we always mark the holes with a stone like this

  • so the other locals know that we are baking.

  • Ju: Yeah.

  • Siggi: No matter how the weather is,

  • the recipe is always the same.

  • When we have a lot of rain

  • and the snow melting from the mountains,

  • this lake can rise up to meter, meter and a half.

  • Then this area here will all be under water.

  • Ju: Ah, right.

  • Siggi: So,

  • few times, our breads have basically drowned.

  • Ju: Oh, no, poor bread!

  • Siggi: It's like, "It's over there!"

  • Ju: Oh, no! [laughs]

  • And I'm guessing that's not good to eat, then.

  • Siggi: Nah, nah. Ju: Just start again, yeah.

  • Siggi: More like a bread soup or something.

  • Ju: This one's been in for 24 hours?

  • Siggi: Yeah.

  • And you can see there's a lot of energy going on here.

  • Ju: Oh, wow.

  • Wow, that is hot. How hot is that?

  • Siggi: It's about boiling temperature, actually.

  • Ju: Mm.

  • Wow.

  • [water boiling]

  • Siggi: Just love that sound.

  • Ju: Yeah.

  • That's why it's called lava bread, then?

  • That's the reason for lava bread?

  • Siggi: Yeah.

  • [shovel grating sand]

  • I'm gonna take most of the sand away from it,

  • and then we open it up just to

  • let the air come in.

  • And...

  • aah.

  • That's good.

  • OK.

  • It's looking very promising.

  • Ju: Oh, really? Got a good one.

  • Siggi: You want to do it?

  • Ju: Um, I'll have a go.

  • Siggi: Yeah, sounds good.

  • Ju: Right.

  • [groaning] There we go.

  • Siggi: Beautiful.

  • Ju: My bread children.

  • Siggi: Yes.

  • Now, we are gonna try this inside.

  • I'm gonna cut it into slices

  • and serve it with smoked trout from the lake.

  • But it also tastes really good with boiled eggs.

  • Hot-spring-boiled eggs.

  • So, we're gonna....

  • [water boiling]

  • One cracked open a little bit.

  • Ju: That is the most novel way

  • I've ever seen anyone cook an egg.

  • Siggi: And we leave them here for 30 minutes.

  • I mean, look at that. [laughs]

  • Ju: That is incredible.

  • This is such a delicate process with such a big spade.

  • [Siggi laughing] Ju: It's just like....

  • Siggi: Yeah, with this.

  • Ju: It's so delicate. I love it.

  • Siggi: If you touch the sand -

  • Ju: Can I touch -

  • Siggi: Feel how hot it is.

  • Ju: Ooh, yeah.

  • Siggi: And it's also fun to touch the lake.

  • Ju: [gasps] Wow.

  • And people just swim in here every morning?

  • Siggi: Nah, not every morning.

  • If you, it's,

  • you want to be swimming out there,