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Icelandic Christmas: Laufabraud

  • Blog
  • Louise Jones
  • 05-12-2016 14:33:48

It's not Christmas without some tasty home baking, right? It's no different in Iceland, home to laufabraud.

Laufabraud is a staple of Icelandic food, and you won't see a Christmas spread at an Icelandic home without it. The word translates to "leaf bread" in English- the name comes from the fact that laufabraud is as thin as a leaf. It's also sometimes called "snowflake bread" because of its intricate patterns and designs (and the fact that you normally only see it out in winter!)

laufabraud leafbread

Laufabraud originated in north Iceland, and the first recorded instance of this food is in 1736. Flour, sugar and salt were extremely hard to come by in those days, and used to be seen as a sign of wealth (because importing them was such an expensive task). The Enlightenment era brought stones used for grinding flour which made the ingredient a little cheaper, but it was still preferable to use a miniscule amount.

Enter laufabraud which uses only a small amount of ingredients, and is so thin that you can read a page of writing through it. Suddenly not just the rich could enjoy delicious baking!


Nowadays laufabraud is a staple of Christmas preparation in Iceland, and some households see the whole family come together to bake the breads. A batch will keep for weeks (providing you don't eat it first) so they're prepared on the first Sunday of advent, and saved for Christmas dinner on the 24th December. The breads are fried in oil or mutton fat and are served generally with some smoked lamb. Mmm!

The process for making laufabraud is very important- if you fancy making it yourself, check out these instructions from Iceland Review!


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