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  • (playful string music)

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

(playful string music)

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