Sûkerbôle or suikerbrood is a traditional bread from the northern province of Friesland, in Holland. Other provinces such as Limburg and Brabant have a similar recipe for sugary bread loafs but what makes it Frisian is the high amount of sugar. In comparison to other regional recipes, Frisians use twice as much sugar.
The sûkerbôle was often given to a new mother to celebrate the arrival of a baby-girl; for baby-boys it was a raisin cake.
The sugar used for this recipe is called pearl sugar and hard to find in a regular store. Crushed up sugar cubes are a good substitute: add half a cup of cubes to a towel, fold it and whack it with a rolling pin. Not too hard! You want to have sugar lumps, not finely ground sugar. Handfold these lumps in the dough after the first rise.
4 1/2 cups of flour
3/4 stick of butter, melted
pinch of salt
3/4 cup of warm milk
1 teaspoon of dry active yeast
3 tablespoons of ginger syrup*
1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
1/2 cup of crushed sugar cubes plus one tablespoon, divided
Add the yeast to the warm milk. In a mixing bowl, mix the flour with the salt. Pour in the milk and yeast and mix together. Knead in the ginger syrup, the eggs one by one and 3/4s of melted butter until the dough forms a soft and flexible dough. Cover and rise until double its size.
On a lightly floured counter, roll out the dough in a square and cover with the sugar and the cinnamon. Now roll the dough into a loaf shape (first fold the sides towards each other, covering the sugar and cinnamon, then roll forward into a loaf). Butter the inside of a bread loaf pan heavily. Put a tablespoon of sugar in the pan and tilt it forward towards each side so that the sugar coats the whole inside. Place the loaf inside, seam down. Cover and rise for about 15 minutes, or until loaf peaks out from inside the pan.
In the meantime, heat your oven to 375F degrees. Brush the top of the loaf with the rest of the butter and spread the remainder of the sugar over the top. Bake for 30 minutes or until loaf is done. If the top browns too quickly, tent the loaf with aluminum foil.
Cool the loaf for about twenty minutes, then carefully loosen the bread from the pan: some of the sugar may have caused the bread to stick to the pan. Remove the loaf and continue to cool on a rack.
Awesome with a curl of real butter!
* If you don't have ginger syrup, don't worry. I boil a small piece of candied ginger and a tablespoon of sugar in a cup of water for a minute or two and let it steep overnight. Should be just fine!