I was born in Holland, but I moved away when I was 2 years old. Obviously I remember nothing of Holland, which kind of sucks. There was a good article in the most recent issue of Penzey's One about someone doing a semester abroad in Holland, and included some excellent-sounding recipes. I decided my mom and I should bake a loaf of this Dutch sugar bread while I was in Connecticut for the holidays. So we did!
It was kind of fun to make, since I didn't have my bread maker and we had to knead it by hand. It was really tasty. It's not too sweet, despite all the sugar, since it's made with whole-wheat flour. It was good warm but even better when it was room temperature. It is nice for breakfast. And it looks really neat, because you roll it up before you bake it, so the sugary areas shrink and there are these neat pockets inside the bread. I may make it again now that I have a bread machine.
Henriette's Sugar Bread: Suikerebrood
Sugar Pearls are large pieces of sugar, available in grocery stores with large baking sections. If you can't find them, buy a box of sugar cubes and crush them into pieces with a rolling pin.
3 cups wheat flour
1 2/3 cups white flour
2 cups warm water
1 packet yeast
1 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar pearls
1 cup sugar pearls
1/2 cup vanilla sugar or regular granulated sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1 pinch each: cloves, cardadom, ginger, nutmeg
1/2 pinch white pepper
1Tbsp milk, for brushing top of loaves
In a small bowl, cover yeast with warm water, add granulated sugar, stir and let stand 5 minutes. If it's frothy it means the yeast is working. In a large bowl, combine wheat and white flour, butter, and salt. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until you can't tell where it is anymore. Make a well in the center of the flour, pour in the yeast water. Stir with a wooden spoon until reasonably combined. Add 1/3 cup sugar pearls, stir again, then turn out onto a floured table. Knead dough 5 minutes, adding white flour a bit at a time to keep it from sticking. Knead with a light hand;it should be a soft dough that almost sticks but doesn't. When it is springy and stays in a nice ball, divide in half, knead briefly into 2 nice balls, then roll each in a butter bowl, covered with a cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled - 45-60 minutes. Starting with one loaf, punch down (pop with your finger), turn out on the table, and knead briefly to form a ball again. Let rest 5 minutes before rolling. Roll out into a long rectangle. Flip and sprinkle flour a bit at a time on the table to keep dough from sticking. Combine the spices with the vanilla sugar and mix. Sprinkle 1/2 of the sugar pearls and spiced sugar evenly over the dough, saving about 2 Tbsp of sugar pearls. Roll up from both ends so the rolls meet in the middle like a scroll. Tuck the ends of the roll up so it is the size of your loaf pan, then flip upside down into a buttered loaf pan. This is the tricky bit - don't be afraid! Just rearrange if it hits the pan goofy. Brush the loaf top with half the milk and sprinkle with half the remaining sugar pearls. Repeat for second loaf. Let loaves rise again until doubled, about an hour. Bake in preheated 375° oven for 30-35 minutes.