Estonian Barley Skillet Bread Recipe - Made with Barley Flour & Caraway Seeds

Estonian Barley Skillet Bread

Estonian Barley Skillet Bread Recipe - Made with Barley Flour & Caraway Seeds
Region / culture: Estonia | Preparation time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 50 minutes | Servings: 6


Estonian Barley Skillet Bread
Estonian Barley Skillet Bread

Estonian Barley Skillet Bread is a traditional dish that has been enjoyed in Estonia for generations. This hearty bread is made with a combination of barley flour, all-purpose flour, and whole-wheat flour, giving it a unique and delicious flavor. The addition of caraway seeds adds a subtle earthy taste that pairs perfectly with the sweetness of the brown sugar. This bread is perfect for serving as a side dish or as a snack on its own.


Estonian Barley Skillet Bread has been a staple in Estonian cuisine for centuries. Barley has long been a popular grain in Estonia due to its ability to grow in the country's cooler climate. This bread was traditionally made in cast-iron skillets over an open fire, giving it a rustic and hearty flavor. Today, it is still a beloved dish in Estonia and is often served at family gatherings and celebrations.


How to prepare

  1. 1. Strain the dry ingredients and caraway seeds (if using) together in a large bowl.
  2. 2. Whisk together the egg, buttermilk, and vegetable oil.
  3. 3. Add the dry ingredients and mix until blended. Do not overmix. The consistency should be between batter and dough.
  4. 4. Preheat the oven to 375°F (191°C). Brush an 8-inch cast-iron skillet with the butter.
  5. 5. Spoon the mixture into the skillet and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
  6. 6. Sprinkle the remaining butter over the top.
  7. 7. Bake until golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean, approximately 50 minutes.
  8. Serving:
  9. Serve it slightly warm. This recipe serves 6.


  • Add chopped nuts or dried fruit for added texture and flavor.
  • Substitute the buttermilk with yogurt for a tangier taste.
  • Experiment with different herbs and spices, such as dill or thyme.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

Be sure not to overmix the batter, as this can result in a tough bread. Mix until just combined.

- Brushing the skillet with butter before adding the batter helps to create a crispy crust on the bread.

- Serve the bread slightly warm for the best flavor and texture.

Serving Suggestions

Estonian Barley Skillet Bread is delicious on its own or served with a dollop of butter or jam. It pairs well with soups, stews, and salads.

Cooking Techniques

Preheat the oven to the correct temperature to ensure even baking.

- Use a rubber spatula to smooth the top of the bread for a more even texture.

Ingredient Substitutions

Use whole milk or almond milk instead of buttermilk.

- Substitute the barley flour with rye flour for a different flavor profile.

Make Ahead Tips

Estonian Barley Skillet Bread can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave before serving.

Presentation Ideas

Serve Estonian Barley Skillet Bread on a wooden cutting board for a rustic presentation. Garnish with fresh herbs or a sprinkle of sea salt for added flavor.

Pairing Recommendations

Pair Estonian Barley Skillet Bread with a hearty soup or stew for a complete and satisfying meal. It also pairs well with a crisp green salad.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store leftover Estonian Barley Skillet Bread in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven at 350°F (177°C) for 10 minutes or until warmed through.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving



- Total Carbohydrates: 32g

- Dietary Fiber: 3g

- Sugars: 5g


- Total Fat: 11g

- Saturated Fat: 5g

- Trans Fat: 0g


- Protein: 6g

Vitamins and minerals

Vitamin D: 1%

- Calcium: 8%

- Iron: 10%

- Potassium: 4%


Contains wheat, dairy, and eggs.


Estonian Barley Skillet Bread is a good source of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. It also contains essential vitamins and minerals, making it a nutritious addition to any meal.


Estonian Barley Skillet Bread is a delicious and hearty dish that is perfect for serving as a side or snack. With its unique combination of flavors and textures, this bread is sure to become a favorite in your household. Enjoy it warm with a spread of butter or jam for a truly satisfying treat.

How did I get this recipe?

I can't forget the first time I saw this recipe for Estonian Barley Skillet Bread. It was a crisp autumn day, with a slight chill in the air and the leaves just starting to turn shades of red and gold. I was visiting my dear friend Margit, who was originally from Estonia, and she invited me into her cozy kitchen to watch her make this traditional bread.

As I sat at the kitchen table, watching Margit expertly mix together the ingredients, I was captivated by the simplicity and beauty of the process. She explained to me that this bread has been a staple in Estonian households for generations, passed down from mother to daughter. The recipe was not written down, but rather ingrained in the memory of each cook who had ever made it.

Margit poured the barley flour into a large mixing bowl, adding in a pinch of salt and a generous amount of warm water. She stirred the mixture with a wooden spoon, her hands moving with a grace and ease that only comes from years of practice. As she worked the dough, she told me stories of her own grandmother making this bread when she was a young girl, and how it always brought the family together around the table.

After kneading the dough for what seemed like hours, Margit formed it into a round loaf and placed it in a cast iron skillet. She brushed the top with melted butter and sprinkled on a few sesame seeds for added flavor. Then, she covered the skillet with a lid and placed it in the oven to bake.

The smell of the bread baking filled the kitchen, a warm and comforting aroma that made my mouth water in anticipation. Margit and I chatted as we waited for the bread to be ready, reminiscing about our shared love of cooking and the joy it brought to our lives.

Finally, the timer dinged and Margit pulled the skillet out of the oven. The bread was a beautiful golden brown, with a crusty exterior and a soft, tender interior. She sliced it into thick wedges and served it warm, with a dollop of creamy butter on the side.

As I took my first bite of the Estonian Barley Skillet Bread, I was transported back in time to a simpler era, where the act of breaking bread with loved ones was a sacred ritual. The flavor was earthy and nutty, with a hint of sweetness from the barley flour. It was unlike any bread I had ever tasted before, and I knew in that moment that I had to learn how to make it myself.

Margit saw the look of wonder on my face and smiled knowingly. She handed me a copy of the recipe, written in her elegant script on a piece of yellowed paper. As I read through the instructions, I felt a sense of gratitude for the opportunity to learn this ancient skill from a dear friend.

Since that day, I have made Estonian Barley Skillet Bread countless times, each loaf a tribute to the generations of women who came before me. I have shared the recipe with my own daughters and granddaughters, passing on the tradition and love that Margit so generously shared with me.

Every time I bake this bread, I am reminded of that crisp autumn day in Margit's kitchen, and the bond that we formed over a simple loaf of bread. It is a reminder of the power of food to bring people together, to create memories and traditions that will last a lifetime.

And so, as I sit here in my own kitchen, kneading the dough for another batch of Estonian Barley Skillet Bread, I am filled with gratitude for the journey that brought me to this moment. I am thankful for the recipes and stories that have been passed down to me, and for the love and friendship that have enriched my life in so many ways.

As the bread bakes in the oven, filling the air with its delicious aroma, I say a silent thank you to Margit and all the women who came before me, for teaching me the art of making this simple, yet profound, bread. And I know that as long as I have this recipe in my heart, I will never be far from the warmth and comfort of home.


| Barley Flour Recipes | Brown Sugar Recipes | Buttermilk Recipes | Caraway Seed Recipes | Estonian Recipes | Estonian Snacks | Wheat Flour Recipes |

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