Originally called ‘peperkoek’, because most spices were called “pepper” back when they were first introduced in Europe. It is a kind of sweet bread that is used to sweeten and bind stews or to eat for breakfast, as the name implies. This recipe is part of my recipe for Zuurvlees!
The dough is made with rye flour, spices and honey. This dough was so hard that it was sometimes un-knead-able, so they invented a machine to do it for them. Many monasteries in Europe made this machine, so they could all use this recipe. For this recipe, we’ll make the dough in one go and then let it rest, instead of making the dough, letting it rest and then adding more honey. Ontbijtkoek is a recipe known in many countries, only with different names. You might notice that this is recipe has a lot of resemblance to gingerbread.
The dough will need to rest for at least 12 hours to make it less “dense”
- 400gr honey
- 200ml water
- 500gr rye flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 100gr dark caster sugar
- 2tsp baking powder
- 1tsp cardamom (ground)
- 2tsp cinnamon (ground)
- 1/2tsp ginger (ground)
- 1/2tsp cloves
- 1/2tsp nutmeg
- 1/2tsp black pepper
- oil or milk to brush
Mix the flour with spices, baking powder and salt in a heatproof mixingbowl. When weighing the honey, take a saucepan and pour it directly in there. Then add the sugar and water and bring to asimmer. Add the honey mixture to the flour and knead it into a dough using either a bread maker or mixer with kneading hook. Not by hand please! This is not a blurry picture, that’s steam! When the dough is smooth, knead for another 5 minutes or longer.
Line a cake or bread tin with parchment paper and scoop in the dough. Lightly press it into the corners so the bread bakes evenly. Use a wet spoon to smooth the top and cover with cling film. Let the dough set for at least 12 hours. Room temperature is fine, but you may also place it in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 160°C. Remove the cling wrap and brush the top with oil or milk. Bake for 70 minutes, but check after 45 minutes and cover with tinfoil to prevent a dry cake. Remove the cake from the tin by lifting it out by the parchment paper. Remove the paper and let the cake cool on a rack.
Enjoy a slice with a thick layer of butter. Or maybe use it in the traditional Dutch children’s game of koekhappen!