Fryske Sûkerbôle

Sûkerbôle or suikerbrood is a traditional bread from the northern province of Friesland, in Holland. Other provinces such as Limburg and Brabant have a similar recipe for sugary bread loafs but what makes it Frisian is the high amount of sugar. In comparison to other regional recipes, Frisians use twice as much sugar.

The sûkerbôle was often given to a new mother to celebrate the arrival of a baby-girl; for baby-boys it was a raisin cake.

The sugar used for this recipe is called pearl sugar and hard to find in a regular store. Crushed up sugar cubes are a good substitute: add half a cup of cubes to a towel, fold it and whack it with a rolling pin. Not too hard! You want to have sugar lumps, not finely ground sugar. Handfold these lumps in the dough after the first rise.

Fryske Sûkerbôle
4 cups of flour
3/4 stick of butter, melted
pinch of salt
3/4 cup of warm milk
1 teaspoon of dry active yeast
3 tablespoons of ginger syrup*
2 eggs
1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
1/2 cup of crushed sugar cubes plus one tablespoon, divided

Add the yeast to the warm milk. In a mixing bowl, mix the flour with the salt. Pour in the milk and yeast and mix together. Knead in the ginger syrup, the eggs one by one and 3/4s of melted butter until the dough forms a soft and flexible dough. Cover and rise until double its size.

On a lightly floured counter, roll out the dough in a square and cover with the sugar and the cinnamon. Now roll the dough into a loaf shape (first fold the sides towards each other, covering the sugar and cinnamon, then roll forward into a loaf). Butter the inside of a bread loaf pan heavily. Put a tablespoon of sugar in the pan and tilt it forward towards each side so that the sugar coats the whole inside. Place the loaf inside, seam down. Cover and rise for about 15 minutes, or until loaf peaks out from inside the pan.

In the meantime, heat your oven to 375F degrees. Brush the top of the loaf with the rest of the butter and spread the remainder of the sugar over the top. Bake for 30 minutes or until loaf is done. If the top browns too quickly, tent the loaf with aluminum foil.

Cool the loaf for about twenty minutes, then carefully loosen the bread from the pan: some of the sugar may have caused the bread to stick to the pan. Remove the loaf and continue to cool on a rack.

Awesome with a curl of real butter!

* If you don't have ginger syrup, don't worry. I boil a small piece of candied ginger and a tablespoon of sugar in a cup of water for a minute or two and let it steep overnight. Should be just fine!


  1. Ah, my one attempt to make this did not end well; it was a recipe from Bernard Clayton's Complete Book of Breads, and the sugar cubes dissolved throughout the loaf when I kneaded them in. It did not include the ginger syrup in the formula, either. I can't wait to try this!

    My father is Frisian (Veltman probably doesn't seem very Frisian, not ending in a -sma or a -stra, I know). Which I suppose, makes me part Frisian - by descent only of course, as I can't even speak Fries, much less Dutch. I figure if I can master this, it will be something!

  2. Maria, you'll do just fine! I'm always hesitant to knead in lumpy or sharp things like sugar cubes, seeds etc because they can cut through the strands of gluten the yeast has been working so hard on. In this recipe, I pat out the dough, sprinkle the sugary lumps and the cinnamon on top, fold it and roll it into a loaf after the first rise. That way, the sugar doesn't cut the dough nor does it melt as much. You will find some sugary, gooey pockets though, that's what makes this bread so unique! Have fun with it, it's a great bread for these wintery days.

  3. I have been baking breads regularly for the last 10+ years, and in searching for an alternative to Bernard Clayton's Frisian Sugar Loaf recipe I came across this web site. Unfortunately I have to report that this is easily one of the worst bread recipes I've ever tried. I'm known for my obsessive attention to detail when it comes to bread baking, so I find it hard to believe that the error is mine, though anything is possible.

    I never even made it to the first rising--what is described as "a soft and flexible dough" ended up being more like a tough, crumbly mass. This is what I get for trying an internet recipe.

    1. I agree! It was like there was no sugar with the yeast in order for the yeast to activate. Mine ended up the same way. I was disappointed but inspired to look for another recipe. Hopefully the next will turn out delicious! :)

  4. My Dad was a baker in Frisland by trade before immigrating to Canada in 1952 when I was 7 months old. We grew up eating home-baked breads, cookies, and cakes of all kinds and my favorite was his sukerbole; especially warm out of the oven slathered with butter. It's making my mouth water even now. Unfortunately we never wrote down his recipe. He also made the best krentenbole (sp?) absolutely full of currents. Delicious!

    1. Fran, thanks for the note! You lucky girl...warm sukerbole out of the oven sound like heaven! Krentenbollen are good too, but sukerbole.....yum! How unfortunate that you do not have the recipe....I would say, just start baking and adjust the recipe as you go. Keep us posted!

  5. in Chinese/Asian stores you can get the sugar you need for this.


    1. Jenny Viersen My sister brings sugar lumps from a baker in Holland ,when she comes for a visit

  6. Hello
    In Australia, butter is sold in 250 gram blocks, not sticks. Could you please tell me how many grams of butter is required for this recipe.
    Thanks so much

  7. Hello Telksie! A stick of butter here in the US weights approximately 115 grams. At the top of the website is a tab called "What's in a cup?" that also gives several different weight and volume conversions. Hope that helps!

  8. My husband was so disappointed yesterday that the sugar bread we had ordered from the Dutch Store did not come in our order yesterday because they were out so I thought I would try my hand at this recipe. I never made bread from scratch before so was not familiar with how yeast works. After my bread was rising, I started reading the comments here and I started to worry that my dough would not rise since there was no sugar added to the yeast and milk mixture. (In another recipe I read to let it sit for about 10 minutes until the mixture is frothy.) I did not have any ginger syrup but had some ginger chews and used one of those to make the syrup as mentioned at the bottom of the recipe here. Probably should have added two of those to get a little more flavor.

    I did not read the instructions as well as I should have. Here is what I missed but it worked out okay anyway:
    - Save some of the melted butter to later brush on top of the loaf before putting in the oven.
    - I also used parchment paper as some reviewers commented to line the pan but did not know if I should still spread it with butter. It did not seem to adhere to the paper very well. The sugar that the recipe mentions should be used for coating the pan should be regular sugar. The extra tablespoon of crushed sugar cubes is what goes on top once you put the dough in the pan and spread it with the melted butter.
    - I probably should have baked it 35 minutes instead of 30 minutes in my oven.

    After shoveling snow I did not have a lot of energy left to crush the cubes as well as I should have so the chunks were a bit large at times, lol. Overall the taste was good and definitely a repeat. I will first buy regular ginger syrup though and use that.

    I also want to say thank you for all the work you did in putting all these recipes on this website. So much appreciated!

    1. You are very welcome! It's a pleasure. As for the yeast in the dough, yeast does not need sugar to rise, it simply helps to feed the yeast to work faster. After all, there is no sugar in traditional Dutch whole wheat breads, or in French baguettes or sourdoughs, and they still rise beautifully. In this recipe, the natural sugars in the milk and the sugar from the syrup are enough to give the yeast a boost. If the dough doesn't rise, it is quite possible that the yeast is dead, which I suspect must have been the issue with the two comments above. No amount of sugar is going to bring that back to life! I am glad you enjoyed the bread, it must have been a real treat after shoveling all that snow!


I welcome your comments! Please be so considerate as to include a name, as anonymous comments will be deleted. Comments will appear as soon as they are monitored (usually within 24 hours). If you have a direct question, please consider emailing me at nicole at thedutchtable dot com for a faster response, or post on our Facebook page.