Rye-Bread Porridge with Skyr and Toasted Hazelnuts

Extract from The Scandi Kitchen by Bronte Aurell.

This porridge, known as ‘Øllebrød’ in Danish, features in the Academy-Award winning Danish movie Babette’s Feast. It is a very old recipe for rye-bread porridge, and was originally a way to use leftover rye bread and drabs of beer, hence the name Øllebrød, which translates as ‘bread and beer soup’. You can make it with a malt beer or ale, but it’s just as nice made with water. Some people eat Øllebrød as a dessert, but I love it in the mornings. I also love not wasting food, and it is a great way to use up end bits of rye bread.

Serves 2–3

 Danish beer and rye porridg


200 g dark rye bread, ideally not seeded

600 ml water

1 piece of unwaxed orange peel (2.5-cm/1-in. diameter)

1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1⁄4 teaspoon cocoa powder

40 g tablespoons caster sugar

1–2 teaspoons orange juice

skyr or plain yogurt, toasted hazelnuts (roughly chopped) and fresh berries, to serve


Cut the rye bread into small pieces, then add to a saucepan. Cover with the water. Leave to soak for at least 15 minutes (or overnight in the fridge).

Add the orange peel, cinnamon and cocoa and bring to the boil. Leave to simmer for around 15–20 minutes until all bread has dissolved and you are left with what looks like a very thick gravy. Remove the orange peel. Add the sugar (hold back a little bit in case you prefer a less sweet version). Add the orange juice (you can add a little more, to taste). There may be the odd lump of bread left – I quite like these, but you can push it through a sieve if you prefer a smoother version.

If you have used seeded rye bread, the seeds will still be present. You can pulse the mixture a few times in a food processor if you want a smoother consistency.

Serve hot with a dollop of skyr (or plain yogurt), toasted hazelnuts and fresh berries, such as blueberries or raspberries. If serving as a dessert, add double cream instead of yogurt.


The Scandi Kitchen by Bronte Aurell

Published by Ryland Peter & Small

Photography by Peter Cassidy