Saturday, 18 October 2014

{Day 18} Krentenbollen!

On Monday my family and I are hosting an evening with some other homeschool families. This is the first in a series of evenings in which each family chooses a country to teach the other families about. We chose The Netherlands as the country we will present about on this first evening of the series. As a result, I have been having to get together various Dutch foods! Bread is an obvious choice (breads are pretty common to most cultures) and there were a couple choices that I was considering. One is oliebollen which is a deep fried dough with raisins (and sometimes apples) ... kind of like a fritter, I guess. But I don't have a deep fryer so the only other way to make it is the way my mom did it - in a big pot of oil on the stove. Darran didn't like the idea of me doing that with little girls running around me and, honestly, it is a lot of work and since this month was so busy, I wasn't too keen on doing that either. Also, oliebollen is traditionally made for New Year's and, for some reason, it just seems wrong to make it at this time of year instead of New Year's. :) Then there's roggebrood which is a thick, heavy, dark rye bread but I honestly never really liked that and I have this thing about not really enjoying serving guests things that I don't like. I do remember my parents eating roggebrood with cheese when I was growing up. It must be an acquired taste. :) Then there are raisin buns or "krentenbollen". (Actually, with the name krentenbollen, they should also have currants in them but I prefer them with just raisins ... probably because I grew up eating them that way.) I LOVE raisin buns! I remember we'd often have them on Sundays. They are so delicious with a little bit of butter or margarine spread on them and then sprinkled with white sugar! :)

So, I decided today that I would make raisin buns. That way I wouldn't be stressing about it tomorrow or Monday (and I need to make boterkoek on Monday) and I can just put them in the freezer and take them out to thaw on Monday. I looked online for recipes since I don't have a recipe for them. Neither did my Mom. She never made them but always bought them at a local bakery. Actually, I don't remember her ever making bread from scratch! I wonder what made me want to start?! :) The recipe that I found to be the easiest to follow can be found following this link to the blog called Weekend Bakery. This recipe was very similar to other recipes but it had included instructions that I remember my mom commenting about when we moved to a new town and that local bakery was just not making the raisin buns quite right. She conferred with the baker in our old town and gave some tips to the bakery in the new town. (The secret was soaking the raisins.) The results were, of course, wonderful! So, the above link will take you to the best recipe for Krentenbollen. While it looks like an intimidating recipe with some of the steps (sweetener with zests, soaking raisins), it is actually very easy! I made a couple of very slight changes. :)

First, with the soaking of the raisins, they say to let them dry for 2 days before making the dough (at least they say that is the preferred method). However, I don't have the counter space to have a tray of raisins sitting there for 2 days. I need my counters for other things, too! So I opted for their alternative method - drying them really well (I ended up actually squeezing out some of the water they soaked up while they were soaking in the water) and then dusting them with flour. This worked very well and the raisins still retained enough moisture to result in a deliciously soft, moist bun once all was said and done! :)

Second, where the author describes how to incorporate the raisins, we are told you can do it by hand, "pinching" them in so they are evenly dispersed throughout the dough (can we say OCD?!), or you can use a "spiral mixer" to mix them in. Since I was using my Cuisinart with the dough hook, I opted for trying that to mix in the raisins. Yeah, that didn't work so well - started turning the raisins to mush! Ack! I took it out of the bowl and mixed them in by hand, kind of just kneading them in. They were not very evenly distributed through the dough but it was alright.  In the second batch of dough, I added the raisins as the dough was kneading (towards the end of the kneading process). This worked quite well but the dough started separating so, for the last few minutes, I had to pull out the dough and knead it together a bit. This was not as intense as the work required with the first batch and the raisins were much more evenly distributed.

I found the recipe a bit of a challenge to follow at first because it was all in grams and I'm, of course, used to cups, mL, etc. :) BUT, it was recommended to me to pull out my kitchen scale and do the measuring on there. I did that and it was really easy and worked wonderfully! Because, seriously, who knows how much 220 g of milk is?! :) That's European recipes for you I guess! :) It was a good learning experience for me.

I HAD to taste one of the buns, obviously. I couldn't just leave them until Monday and hope they'd be good enough to serve to guests! I had to be sure they'd be yummy! So, I cut one in half while it was still warm, spread on some butter and sprinkled both halves with white sugar. Then I shared it with my oldest daughter who'd been begging through the whole process for a taste! :) She LOVED them (but then, she thinks raisins are like candy so that was expected). I was flooded with memories of childhood as I ate my half. It was that good!! I couldn't stop at just one and had to have a second. (Don't worry, there's still plenty to share with our guests!)

I let my husband have a bite but he didn't like them. BUT, he really doesn't like raisins and he thought it was too sweet with the extra sugar sprinkled on. Our youngest daughter also, surprisingly, didn't like them. She took one bite and spit it out! :) I don't know if it was the raisins or the extra sugar that did it for her though because I know she doesn't like very many sweet things and I was pretty sure she liked raisins but I could be wrong on that. However, I figure 50% of our family enjoying them is pretty good. And it just means that, next time I make them, there's more for me and Annalise! :D

I wish I had taken pictures through the whole process (that's an area I really have to work on with my blogging) but I didn't - sorry! I will try to take photos the next time I make these and then I can add them to this post at that time (maybe)! :) But here are the photos I did take ...

This is the beautiful sugar mixed with the lemon zest and orange zest. This is so very delicious! It smells so fresh and gives the buns a wonderful flavour. Honestly, I'd like to just take a spoon to this and eat it all up straight! :)

My dear husband, Darran, insisted he had to take this photo of me kneading the dough (in my not so tidy kitchen). He thought it was rather funny since I was living a lovely cliché - barefoot and pregnant ... in the kitchen! lol
This is the first batch. No, they don't LOOK exactly as they are supposed to look. I was lazy in the shaping of the buns so some ended up being really wonky. The one on the bottom left is the one that Annalise and I shared since it looked the weirdest. BUT the flavour is what counts and that was spot on! :) Aren't they just so beautiful?!


  1. Do you think the would work with craisins? And your little belly bump is too cute!

    1. I imagine it would work with craisins but it would probably change the flavour more. You would still have to soak them as you would with the raisins. And thanks about the belly! :) I'm liking my baby belly this time around ... and this picture doesn't really do it justice - it's bigger than it looks in here! :)