Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Ontbijtkoek

It's actually called "breakfast cake", this ontbijtkoek, but Dutch spice bread seems a more appropriate term in English. Favored by young and old, ontbijtkoek is an integral part of the breakfast table in Holland. It also shows up as a quick pick-me-up around four o'clock with a cup of tea, and it performs as the key ingredient for a children's birthday game called "koekhappen", i.e. cake nipping. This is where slices of ontbijtkoek are strung on a piece of wire or string and held above the heads of blindfolded children. Like birds in a nest, they strain their little necks up, mouths open wide, in hope of catching a crumb. The joke for the grownups is of course to lower the cake within reach and then yank it up, so that the kids bite into air instead of a sweet treat. One of the commercials that still has me laughing out loud is this one for a famous ontbijtkoek brand.

Ontbijtkoek, just like that other Dutch favorite, honey cake, is not traditionally baked at home. Not many breads or cakes are any more, unfortunately, and these breakfast beauties are of course produced commercially. Isn't it sad, in a way, that the recipe I am developing is based on a benchmark product that has been produced en masse and in ways that I could possibly never reproduce at home. Just the thought is almost enough to want you to give up, but heck! I wouldn't be Dutch if I didn't at least try! And am I glad to say that the homemade version is as good, or even better, than the store-bought version!?  Go on, have a try, you'll be glad you did!

Ontbijtkoek
1 cup of rye flour
1 cup of all purpose flour
3 teaspoons of baking powder
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of cardamom, ginger, coriander and ground cloves each
1/2 cup of dark brown sugar
1/4 cup dark molasses
1/2 cup of honey
1 cup of milk
pinch of salt

Mix everything together into a smooth batter. Heat the oven to 300F, grease a cake pan and pour the batter in. Bake for 80 minutes or until the cake is done.

Cool on a rack, then wrap in aluminum foil or plastic wrap for that extra sticky outside crust. Eat sliced with a lick of good butter.




Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmm.........the house smells wonderful and of course I couldn't wait until the bread was totally cooled off before I sliced into it. Ah...bad girl. Nevertheless, it was worth the damage: it has that typical je-ne-sais-quoi that ontbijtkoek has: chewy, sweet, spicy....... The picture made the loaf darker than it is, it has that pretty toasty brown that the slices have.

35 comments:

  1. This is exciting! Do you really use coriander in the recipe? And no nutmeg?
    I am looking forward to seeing how it turned out.

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  2. Hi Cisca,
    Yep, coriander works like a charm. I tend to forget about nutmeg because I don't care for the flavor but in mixed spices such as these, I'm sure it would be great!
    Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. I lived in the Netherlands for a short time & loved this cake..I like that your recipe includes rye flour, many recipes omit this but I love the tangy taste of rye. I shall be baking this soon, cheers!

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  4. Hi Phil,
    I'm glad you like the rye too, it just adds that little "something" that makes it so flavorful, doesn't it? Let me know how it turned out!

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  5. Hi Nicole,

    I followed your recipe (almost) exactly...not sure which type of rye flour you originally used, but I used a wholemeal stoneground and the cake turned out marvellous!

    I baked another rye cake at the same time which was equally delish, Dan Lepard's rye apple cake, do try it yourself!

    regards,

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  6. Phil, I'm glad you liked the spice bread! I used a standard bulk rye flour from the store, I am sure that with wholemeal stoneground it must have been amazing! Thank you for the link to the rye apple cake, I've bookmarked it and will try it soon, the rye/apple combi sounds fantastic. I love trying new things!!

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  7. I just made this tonight and it was absolutely delicious! I used all rye flour, replaced the sugar with honey and cut back the milk by 3/4 cup. Thanks for sharing!

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  8. I dreamt of this 'bread' for about 12 years... I used to ate it while I was a kid... I still remember the taste, so clear in my mind. I'll try this recipe as soon as I can... Thank you for sharing!

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  9. I made this the other day and posted it on my blog. I got an overwhelmingly emotional email a few hours later from my great-uncle who lives in South Africa now (he emigrated from the Netherlands shortly after WWII) saying his wife recreated the recipe and it brought back the happy memories of his childhood. So thank you for helping make an old man happy!

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  10. Juls, it pleases me to no end that this recipe made your great-uncle happy, thank you for letting me know!

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  11. Thank you so much for posting this recipe. I made it the other day and it's PERFECT!! I have been searching for a good kruidkoek/ontbijtkoek recipe ever since I moved to the US (from the NL). So excited I found this one!! Thanks again!

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  12. I used your recipe this afternoon, my first time ever making ontbijtkoek, and was nervous about how it would turn out. I have to say, this tastes almost EXACTLY like the ontbijtkoek you would find at the Albert Heijn in the Netherlands!

    Thanks so much for posting this. I'm glad I found your blog! Many more Dutch treats will be made in my household now.

    Oh, and I hope you don't mind if I use your recipe for my blog. I'll give full credit of course. :)

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    1. Lauren, glad you liked it! It's one of those breads that no substitute will do if you're craving it, and I'm glad the recipe delivered once again. You are welcome to use the recipe for your blog, and I appreciate you asking, thanks for the credit. Love your photography, by the way, it's fantastic!

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  13. Well, first of all, I'm happy to have found your blog (as I was born in Amsterdam and have fond memories of Dutch breakfasts on visits with my grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins) and have also liked the facebook page.

    This recipe I have been looking for. I shall try it today. I like a slice of ontbijtkoek with gouda cheese.

    And I see you also have a recipe for Zeeuws bolus, which my aunt served with tea on the afternoon of an informal memorial service and tree planting for my parents in Wolfaartsdijk nearly 18 years ago. My dad was from Zeeland and my mother was from New Jersey!

    Thanks for your wonderful blog.

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  14. Dit is een geweeldig recept! Vorheen gebruikte ik een ander recept wat ook erg lekker was, maar het was meer cake dan ontbijtkoek.
    Dit recept, met roggemeel is gewoon perfect. 't is echt ontbijtkoek en ik zit nu lekker te smullen met een laagje boter erop en een kopje koffie erbij.
    groet, Dagmar

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  15. crunchy ,chewy, ans spicy great on a cold morning

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    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  16. Thank you for sharing this FABULOUS recipe. My Dad was raised in Tilburg and my Mom is from Antwerp, now they live in Plymouth MN. I really love the special peperkoek with sugar on top. My Dad told me it's called kandij suiker. Do you know how I might order some to add to my next batch?

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    1. Linda, your dad is right, the sugar is called parelkandij, and the ontbijtkoek therefore kandijkoek. I have been able to find it as Belgian Pearl Sugar at a local store, but you may also look online. Kandijsuiker as such will mostly render results showcasing rock sugar, which is too hard to eat. In a pinch, add several sugar cubes to a towel, give it a good whack with a rolling pin and incorporate the broken pieces into your breads!

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  17. I tried to make an ontbijtkoek but so far no luck... First of all, Australian molasses is too strong. But the worst thing is that the cake overall is a bit wet and doughie. What to do about it?

    Verder natuurlijk de groeten uit Australie waar het zo'n 50 graden warmer is dan in Nederland op het moment.

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    1. Hi Matthijs, I also live in Aussie and Australian molasses is very strong indeed. I replace about half of the molasses with golden syrup. If you still think it's too strong add more golden syrup. I did some research online and I found out that keukenstroop is glucose syrup to which molasses and sugar syrup have been added! So, no wonder it tastes too strong.

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  18. Hallo Matthijs...gelukkig is het lekker warm bij jullie, hier zijn we in een strenge winter belandt! Wat betreft de ontbijtkoek, het is moeilijk te zeggen wat er mis is gegaan. Wat bedoel je precies met wet and doughie? Bak je misschien op een high altitude? Ik wil graag helpen maar heb iets meer informatie nodig! Zou je een email met misschien wat fotos kunnen sturen naar nicole@thedutchtable.com, dan kijk ik of ik een oplossing voor je heb.

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  19. I am baking this afternoon, even though in my new country (singapore) I can actually buy ontbijtkoek (crazy town...)
    One question, why wheat four? It is normally made with only rye flour. I suppose it makes it a bit milder, but you might lose the characteristic flavour.
    Will test my own recipe and let you know if it is any good, you will see it on my blog soon in that case!

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  20. Karien, you lucky girl! Singapore is a fascinating place, how fun! Rye flour by itself has very little gluten and creates a fairly dense bread unless you use commercial leaveners. Adding wheat flour adds the necessary gluten to give it more of a chewy consistency and a bit more body, and is easier to obtain for the homebaker.

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  21. Well - I grew up in Holland and now live in England. We can get it quite easily here but am looking forward to baking it myself!

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    1. Where do you buy this in England? I have not seen it around but would love to have some

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  22. I don't know if you are still reading comments on this page, but I just wanted to say that this recipe is AWESOME!! It tastes like the koek I remember as a child. I've made slight changes--I use all whole wheat flour and I have doubled the ginger amount. The cardamom is the magic touch. I'd have never figured that out on my own.

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  23. Can't wait to try this recipe and many more! Thanks!

    Esther Vandergugten

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  24. Geweldig! Thanks so much for posting this recipe. I've lived in the US for 10 years and just could not find a good recipe for ontbijtkoek. While this is not the exact same thing, I think I may even like this better. Will definitely keep baking this regularly!

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  25. I am in the States and my great grandmother had this for us when I was a child today I had a spiced cookie and I had a flood of memories my cousin sent me here.

    I am excited!!!!

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  26. dear Nicole, thx for the recipe. I had a similar recipe, from the Boerinnenbond but altered it and lost the book by moving. I replaced from their recipe the flower by rye flour, since this is what I did not like from the recipe of the Boerinnenbond. I also replaced the milk by tea. I got this idea from a British chief, unfortunately I do not know his name anymore. And I added canded ginger. The milkreplacement might be an improvement for patients who do not digest milk. Kindest Regards

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  27. Rye flour is hard to find where I live Can I use whole wheat?

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    1. Anneke, you can order rye flour online or maybe try some of the health stores in your area. Now, having said that, there is no reason why you couldn't try to substitute whole wheat for the rye flour and see what happens. It will be an edible product and you might enjoy it just as well!

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  28. Hey!

    So we made the ontbijtkoek the other day and as we did not have molasses we replaced that with some extra dark brown sugar (as it is considered to be a good substitute for molasses). Unfortunately the cake turned out quite hard to cut with a big knife, although it was not so hard to bite in. So I was wondering if it was the fact that we didn't use molasses or that maybe it needed some kind of fat? like vegetable oil or butter? All in all people enjoyed it but we would prefer it more soft and moist. Thanks for the reply and keep on cooking and baking!

    Fellow food lover and blogger
    Electra

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