Zeeuwse Bolus

"Come and eat poop? What an invitation!" my friend Naomi joyfully exclaims when I ask her and my friend Ann to come over for coffee and a Zeeuwse bolus. This Dutch baked delicacy from the SouthWestern province of Zeeland is colloquially called "turd", as the shape reminds one of eh...well....a lump of excrement, pardon my Dutch. Of course the pastry's name stems from the Latin word for ball, referring in this case to a ball of dough, and the nomenclature was adapted afterwards to describe the eh...other stuff. Unappetizing, for sure, but don't let that put you off this delectable treat!

Bolussen are traditional for various regions, mostly Amsterdam (a ginger bolus) and Zeeland (the cinnamon bolus). These Dutch bolussen were originally baked by Sephardic Jewish bakers in Holland and date back to the first half of the seventeenth century.

Since 1998, on the Tuesday of the twelfth week of the year, Zeeland holds baking competitions for their kind of bolus, and professional bakers strive for the famous Bolusbaker of the Year Award.

Bolussen are best consumed slightly warm and are a great substitute for cinnamon rolls or sticky buns. They are sticky and gooey but their tender texture makes up for the heavy sugar. Some eat their bolus with a thick layer of butter on the bottom (flat) side of the bolus. I have tried it, and I can't say I blame them! Especially salted butter seems to really match the sweetness of the bun.

Zeeuwse bolussen
Ready to rise
3 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of powdered milk
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 1/4 cup of milk, warm
1 tablespoon of active dry yeast
6 tablespoons of butter, melted and at room temperature

For the sugar
2 cups of the darkest brown sugar you can find
1 heaping teaspoon of cinnamon, ground

Mix the flour, salt, powdered milk and sugar together. Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk and add to the dry mixture. Knead the dough for a good couple of minutes, then drizzle in the melted butter. Continue to knead for fifteen minutes, then place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise for fifteen minutes in a warm spot.

Punch down the dough carefully and divide into 2oz pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. Mix the brown sugar with the cinnamon and roll each ball through the sugary mix. Place the dough balls back into the bowl, cover and rise for another fifteen to thirty minutes.

Take each dough ball and carefully roll out to a rope, about 7 to 8 inches long. Roll each rope through more sugar and cinnamon, until fully covered. Pinch one end of the rope between your thumb and index finger and with the other hand roll the rope around your index finger in a circular fashion. Tuck the end of the rope underneath the bolus and place them on a sheet of parchment paper or on a silicon mat on a baking sheet. Leave about an inch and a half or two between the rolls. Sprinkle the rolls with more sugar. Cover and rise for at least an hour or until doubled in size.

Sprinkle the rest of the sugar on top of the rolls. Preheat the oven to 450F and bake the rolls puffy and done in seven to eight minutes. The sugar tends to burn rather quickly so keep an eye on the rolls. They will be gooey and sticky (so let them cool for a minute before you pick them up), and they will smell up your house something divine.

Enjoy with a good cup of coffee either by themselves or with a nice layer of butter spread on the flat side of the bolus.


  1. ooooooohhhhhhh aaaaaahhhhhh they were soooooo good. Also been a long time since I ate one. Thanks for making these while I was there.

  2. Yes it was very good.. But the Dutch waffles with the crunch sugar bits are addictive.

  3. Once again, very interesting & slightly comical story to go along with the recipe!! They sure look great.

  4. I like your recipe, I will do it!! Just a quick question... Which powder milk do you use? I am currently in the Netherlands :)

    1. Any powdered milk will do, it's called "melkpoeder" in Dutch.

  5. I made these and they were an instant hit!! I will be making these again and again! Thanks for the wonderful recipes, I hope to try some more soon!

  6. I made these and they're just like I remembered.
    I moved to Canada 30 years ago,but while we live in Holland we used to travel to Zeeland, where my parents were born. The highlight for me was a trip to the bakery to get a bolus! I've missed them, but now I can make them myself!!!!
    Thank you so much for the recipe!

  7. Wonderfull, thank U for this recipe! At this minute I am watching Hairy Bikers' Bake-ation, where they showed this treat, but without the recipe, so found your blog and recipe and will make this to display on my own blog. I can link to your blog and this recipe if you ' d like:)
    Cheers from Norway. ~ Mona

  8. These were my mother's favourite. There was one bakery in our part of Ontario who used to make them but they are no longer available so I'm happy for the recipe. How many bolussen should I expect to make from this recipe? What measurement is a 2 oz ball? I don't have a food scale.

  9. These were my mother's favourite, probably because she was from Zeeland. My son alerted me to the recipe. Thanks. What measurement or dimension is a 2 oz. ball? I don't have a food scale. How many does the recipe make?

  10. Thank you for this recipe! They are in the oven and look so good. I couldn't find dark brown sugar so I added 2tbsp of molasses to the brown sugar I had and mixed it really well. It tastes just like super dark brown sugar.


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