My new post on Honest Cooking about wonderful, sweet, sticky, luxurious sugar loaf.
Actually, I don’t know much about the history of sugar bread. It origins in Friesland, a province in the northern part of the Netherlands, but nowadays you can get it practically everywhere in the supermarkets across the Netherlands. It really is a festive, luxurious bread, because of the richness and the high percentage of sugar in it. For me, this still is the best luxurious bread there is, and eating it on special occasions is a real treat. It is best eaten with a thick layer of good, real butter on top.
The pearl sugar melts when the bread is baked, which forms soft and gooey pockets of sweetness. The sugar on the outside caramelizes to a dark brown and makes the bread even more sticky. But take care, all that sugar can burn easily and fast. The cinnamon, vanilla and ginger syrup give it a hint of spiciness, but nothing to much, but it does help to emphasize the sweet flavour of the bread. The recipe that I tried suggested to use some chopped stem ginger as well (you can see it on the picture), but I found that this didn’t work really well and it isn’t traditional as well. So the recipe below is corrected for that.
Take care when preparing the bread tin. It may seem tempting to skip this step, but don’t do it, since it is essential for a good result. Covering the bread tin in aluminum foil is essential, as it is the only way of getting the bread out afterwards. Also, the aluminum foil is used to wrap the bread in when cooling, to ensure a nice soft and gooey and sticky outside. The thick coating of butter and sugar inside the tin is also necessary to get this sticky, caramelized outside.
Dutch Sugar Loaf
Sweet, sticky and gooey sweet, luxurious bread.
400 gram flour
10 gram salt
40 gram yeast
200 ml milk
3 tbsp ginger syrup
1 bag vanilla sugar (alternatively use vanilla extract)
1 tsp cinnamon
300 gram pearl sugar
50 gram butter, very soft
100 gram granulated sugar
Make sure that all ingredients are on room temperature.
Mix the flour, salt, vanilla sugar and cinnamon.
Dissolve the yeast in the milk.
Mix the egg and ginger syrup with the yeast-milk mix.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
Stir with a fork until a lumpy dough is formed.
Knead by hand for about 10 minutes, the dough will be very soft and supple.
Mix in the pearl sugar.
Place the dough in a bowl, cover and leave to rise for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, prepare the form.
Take a few layers of aluminum foil, cover the bread tin with it and make sure to have generous overhang.
Cover the inside of the tin with a thick layer of the soft butter and sprinkle with ⅔ of the sugar.
After the first rising, knead the dough for a minute.
Place it in the form, cover and leave to rise for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 225C.
After the second rising, sprinkle the remaining sugar on top.
Bake the bread in the bottom part of the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, checking regularly to prevent burning.
Take the bread from the oven, fold the aluminum foil overhangs over the bread, take the bread out of the tin and leave to cool inside the foil (use some extra if necessary).
Notes: If you can’t get hold of pearl sugar, you can use mini sugar cubes, or ordinary sugar cubes slightly broken up by banging on them with a rolling pin. But make sure to put them in a clean tea towel or a sturdy plastic bag, otherwise they will fly through the whole kitchen.