Text BIRNA GUÐRÚN BALDURSDÓTTIR
”When we moved to Iceland, there was a rather limited range of breads available and one of the few things we missed from our homeland was the German bread. I therefore began reading up on bread and sourdough baking and eventually I decided to learn to be a baker.”
Dörthe and her husband Jens, who both come from Germany, met while travelling in Iceland in 2001. They continued visiting Iceland during their summer holidays but in 2011, they decided to move to the country. “We wanted to experience the Icelandic winter and planned to stay here for six months, but nine years later and three children richer, we are still here and together run the bakery Litla Brauðstofan in Hveragerði village. When we moved to Iceland, there was a rather limited range of breads available and one of the few things we missed from our homeland was the German bread. I therefore began reading up on bread and sourdough baking and eventually I decided to learn to be a baker.”
Since graduating, Dörthe has made interesting experiments with Icelandic ingredients for her breads. “I place great emphasis on using Icelandic ingredients and for a while we produced three different kinds of breads which were 100% Icelandic; Iceland Moss Bread (Fjallagrasabrauð) with wholewheat and barley flour, Ice Corn Bread (Ískornabrauð) with rye flour, and Potato Bread (Kartöflubrauð) with wholewheat, potatoes and thyme. I don’t know whether this is the only wholly Icelandic bread but I have not heard of others.”
Dörthe says that the baking qualities of the Icelandic corn are quite distinct and adds that this past summer was unfortunately not favourable to Icelandic corn farmers. “We had to pause the production of the wholly Icelandic bread, at least for a while. We nonetheless mix a considerable amount of Icelandic ingredients in our other breads, such as wholewheat, common barley and common barley flakes from Móðir jörð and ingredients from Þorvaldseyri farm, such as rapeseed oil and barley flour.” We also use Iceland moss, thyme and other herbs, as well as Icelandic salt. I am pleased with the Icelandic wholewheat and feel that it gives more flavour and is more satiating than imported corn”, Dörthe finally says. She says that she will continue experimenting with the Icelandic ingredients, as well as teaching the public how to bake using sourdough in courses held by Litla brauðstofan.