For the month of December, Andrea from 4pure took us on a trip to the Netherlands. She challenged us to take our taste buds on a joyride through the land of sugar and spice by baking three different types of Dutch sweet bread
This was my second challenge with the Daring Bakers and it was a suitably spiced one in time for Christmas. We were challenged to make Ontbijtkoek (which I still haven’t figured out how to pronounce…), which is a Dutch sweet, spiced quick bread. It is generally baked with rye flour and contains no fat which led to it being promoted by the food industry as a healthy snack despite the fact that 50% of the total ingredients consist of sugar…
Ontbijtkoek literally translates as breakfast cake, and it is traditionally served for breakfast, spread with a thick layer of butter, or as a snack. There are various different types of ontbijtkoek, using different spice blends and sweeteners; I chose to bake kruidkoek (which translates as spice cake), which is a simple mix of rye and plain flours, baking powder, dark brown sugar and milk, and is flavoured with cinnamon and nutmeg. The result is a dense, chewy loaf with a flavour similar to gingerbread and a sticky crust.
The loaf is incredibly quick and simple to make, you just whisk everything together, pour the mixture into a tin and bake for and hour and a half. The bread is very tasty and makes a good snack, but I can hardly call it a challenge considering how simple it is to make!
Ontbijtkoek - Dutch Sweet Bread
- 250g (2 cups) plain flour
- 250g (2 cups) rye flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 500g (2 1/2 cups, firmly packed) dark brown soft sugar
- 500ml (2 cups) milk
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 and line a 2lb loaf tin with greaseproof paper. Whisk the flours, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg together in a bowl. Put the milk in a small saucepan and heat until it almost comes to a boil. Remove from the heat, add the sugar and whisk until the sugar has dissolved.
Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk until the batter is completely smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake in the centre of the oven for about 90 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean, cover with foil if it starts to get too dark. Allow to cool in the tin for five minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Will keep for about four days in an airtight container.