This is my first serious kitchen project in more than 2 months. We spent the last couple of months travelling through Asia and while it was a memorable trip, I’m glad to be back in the kitchen among the pots and pans.
Suikerbrood is a sticky sweet loaf of bread that’s traditionally eaten during Easter in Holland. I’ve never had an authentic Dutch one but since we’re in a cosy little corner in France with Peter’s parents nearby, it seemed like the perfect setting to bake a loaf of this sugary bread.
After going through quite a few recipes, both in English and Dutch, I mainly followed this one here while incorporating a few other tips and tricks.
The tricky bit was deciding what type of flour to use. French supermarkets carry quite a few different kinds each with its own specific purpose. So you have flour for gateaus, white bread, multicereal bread, brioche, for making fluid batters, for pâtisserie and so on and so forth. While it is a bakers’ paradise, it is also mind boggling and this is when I miss the simple straightforward ‘plain flour’, ‘self raising flour’ and ‘strong white flour’ classification I was used to in Irish supermarkets.
Anyway, after much deliberation, we decided to use flour for brioche as the consistency of this bread is supposed to be somewhat brioche like. It turned out to be a good choice as the result was a great looking loaf with puddles of melted sugar in it with a nice buttery consistency.
500g plain flour
1 sachet of dried yeast
a good pinch of salt
1 tsp powdered cinnamon
a few drops of vanilla extract or essence
200ml lukewarm milk
250 – 300g sugar cubes broken into small pieces (we used pearl sugar as it’s more readily available in French stores)
a small cube of butter
Place the flour, yeast, salt, cinnamon and vanilla extract in a large bowl and mix together. Make a well in the centre and pour in the lukewarm milk. Mix until it all comes together. You may need to add a little warm water to make it a soft dough.
Leave it to rest for 10-15 minutes and then transfer it to a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it’s smooth and elastic. Form into a ball and place it in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with oiled clingfilm and leave it in a warm place to rise.
Prepare a loaf tin by lining it with aluminium foil or baking paper and then generously buttering the insides.
After about an hour, the dough should double in size. Knock it back a little and transfer it to a lightly floured surface. Roll it out into a large round shape patting with your hands or using a rolling pin. Sprinkle the crushed sugar cubes and mix it in by kneading the dough lightly.
Once the sugar has spread somewhat evenly through the dough, shape it into a ball and place it into the prepared loaf tin. Leave to rise in a warm place and wait until it doubles in size once again.
Place the tin in a preheated oven at 200 C (conventional). Let it bake for about 25-30 minutes until the top is a nice deep golden brown colour. If the surface is browning too quickly, cover the top with a piece of foil.
Take the tin out after the loaf has baked, cool on a wire rack, run a knife along the edges to free the loaf and turn it out onto a plate or board.
Get yourself a nice thick slice or two, slather them with butter and enjoy with a hot cuppa!