The month of December is one of our sweetest and richest months, food-wise. We kick off the festivities with Sinterklaas and all his goodies, then move onto Christmas where we eat and indulge in more sweets, baked goods and candies, and we wrap up the year with Oudjaarsavond, New Year's Eve, where oliebollen and appelbeignets will be a mandatory part of the celebrations. Inbetween eating, cooking, baking and shopping, I sometimes crave just a simple bowl of good old-fashioned porridge. If it's later in the evening, I might indulge in some bierpap, but for a solid start of the day I often get a bowl of homemade Brinta.

Growing up in the Netherlands, a child's palate is subjected to a vast array of pap, or porridges. It usually starts out with Bambix, a creamy, sweet porridge of mixed grains that is mixed with milk and given to toddlers and preschoolers. It is comforting, velvety and has a tender and sweet taste.

When you're a little older and have been graced with teeth, regardless of whether you're sporting a "fietsenrek" or a full set of pearly whites, you traditionally "graduate" to a grown-up version of Bambix, a so-called porridge called Brinta.

Made only with whole wheat flour, Brinta could either make or break your day. If you were at the breakfast table the moment the hot milk was mixed in with the powdery flakes, life was good. If you were but five minutes late, to where the porridge had cooled considerably and the fibers had had an opportunity to soak up all the liquid, your lovely, warm, early morning breakfast was now fit for slicing. It had turned into a cold, lumpy, mushy bowl of wet concrete. Ewww!

Permission granted Brinta
Brinta, short for Breakfast Instant Tarwe (wheat), was created in the province of Groningen in 1944. The partially English name was given to the product as a tender (or commercially sound) gesture to the English and American armed forces who were stationed in our country during that time, and who were much more familiar with robuster breakfast grains. In 1963, the year of the coldest Elfstedentocht yet, the winner of this long distance skating event happened to mention that all he had had for breakfast was "een bordje Brinta" (a serving of Brinta porridge). The connection between sports and Brinta was made, and it continues to this day.

Since then, Brinta has expanded their product line with breakfast beverages, a variety of porridges or mush and even loaves of bread, all made with the goodness of whole wheat flour. It is available in Canada but not in the United States, unless you purchase it from a Dutch food importer. A similar product is possible to make at home.

3 tablespoons (25 grams) whole wheat unbleached flour
3 tablespoons (45 ml) milk
2 cups (500 ml) milk
4 tablespoons (30 grams) whole wheat bran (optional, not in original product)
Pinch of salt

Mix the flour with the tablespoons of milk and make it into a paste. Bring the two cups of milk to a simmer, and stir in the flour paste. Stir to dissolve, and add in the (optional) whole wheat bran and the salt. Bring everything to a boil and continue to stir while the porridge thickens, for about five minutes. Depending on how thick or thin you like your pap, adjust the amount of bran accordingly!

Serve with brown or white sugar, and eat hot!


  1. Just made this, Delicious!!! Thanks.
    Agnieta Meinhardt

  2. These are beautiful! What a great addition to any meal!

    Sathish from Organic Beauty Products

  3. How does Brinta compare to Cream of Wheat? I only know that brand.

  4. Did eat it every morning from 5 until 30 years old.

  5. I started eating brinta for breakfast a couple of years ago. It's delicious! I certainly enjoyed reading this peace of history!

  6. I got a box of Brinta delivered today. It says 35g for 250ml milk. However there are no instructions other than with a microwave (at least I think that's what they mean!) so I don't know how it's made.


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