From Iceland — Food of Iceland: Flatkaka (rye flatbread)

Food of Iceland: Flatkaka (rye flatbread)

Published February 7, 2020

Food of Iceland: Flatkaka (rye flatbread)
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Flatkaka is an unleavened rye flatbread. It is made by mixing boiling water with flour and then cooking the dough. Back when Iceland was settled, ingredients such as grain were scarce, so moss was often used to supplement the flour. As time passed, moss was replaced with rye flour. Today, wheat flour is often used with the rye.

The final product is soft, round, thin, and dark. This efficient vehicle of flavour can be cooked in many ways, but the most traditional method is to place the dough directly over hot coals. Today, most people use a hot plate, and they cook it outside to avoid filling the house with smoke. Others use a pan specifically for cooking flatkaka, also outside, or at least in a well-ventilated space like a garage.

Flatkaka may also be purchased in stores all over the country, but as with most foods, homemade is better. Either way, it is best to eat flatkaka with some sort of topping, with the most common being butter and hangikjöt. The smokiness of the hangikjöt perfectly complements the rye flatbread’s flavour, and the butter binds it all together in holy matrimony.

It is also possible to top flatkaka with cheese, lamb paté, and other savoury goodness. For a less traditional but still delicious flavour combination, try it with hummus, or peanut butter and bananas

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