Bread Soup: An Old Icelandic Recipe by Bill Holm

Iceland licensed Elena Pyatkova

Bread Soup: An Old Icelandic Recipe
by Bill Holm

Start with the square heavy loaf
steamed a whole day in a hot spring
until the coarse rye, sugar, yeast
grow dense as a black hole of bread.
Let it age and dry a little,
then soak the old loaf for a day
in warm water flavored
with raisins and lemon slices.
Boil it until it is thick as molasses.
Pour it in a flat white bowl.
Ladle a good dollop of whipped cream
to melt in its brown belly.
This soup is alive as any animal,
and the yeast and cream and rye
will sing inside you after eating
for a long time.

NOTE: Recipe and background for Brauðsúpa from See below.

Icelandic bread soup – Brauðsúpa

Thriftiness is a strong trait in many older Icelanders, especially the generations that were born before World War II. Everything had to be used up, and throwing away edible leftovers was considered criminal. This thick soup is one way of using up bread leftovers and crusts. (Recipe serves 5)
200 grams (1 cup) rye bread or assorted bread leftovers. Must be at least half rye bread.
1.25 liters (about 42 ounces) water
2 Tbs raisins OR 4 prunes
1 Tbs orange marmalade (optional)
6 slices lemon, OR orange/lemon zest or a cinnamon stick
2-3 Tbs sugar
100 ml (about 1/2 cup) cream, whipped
Directions:  Soak the bread in the water overnight, or until the crusts are soft. Purée (use a blender if you have one) and cook on low for 1 hour. Add the raisins, lemon slices and sugar and cook for about 10 minutes more. Serve warm with whipped cream.

Recipe translated from Helga Sigurðardóttir’s recipe book Matur & Drykkur, Mál og Menning, Reykjavík, 1986 (1947).

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