Sunday, November 15, 2009


Oliebollen (Dutch Fried Raisin Bread Dough)


4 cups warm water
2 packets or Tbsp active dry yeast
2 Tbsp sugar
1 cup dry milk
4 cups whole wheat flour
4 cups white flour
2 tsp salt
3 cups raisins
4 large eggs

Cultural background

Oliebollen is a traditional Dutch New Year's Eve treat. Making oliebollen makes me remember my father. Every year, during the last weekend in December, he would make a HUGE batch of oliebollen dough and turn out  hundreds of oliebollen. We literally would have buckets full of oliebollen all over our kitchen and dining room.

We always had lots of visitors on New Year's Eve, and they all would eat tons of oliebollen and appelflappen (another Dutch treat).These visitors included one of my aunts, who always ended up drinking too much, and whose stories got more and more unlikely over the course of the evening. I still shudder when I remember her stories about the ghosts in Indonesia who somehow were connected to a big and bloody magical sword (kris). I would like to tell more details, but the story was too convoluted and senseless to remember beyond 'Wow, she really drunk a LOT tonight!'

You would think that all those visitors would be enough to eat the oliebollen, but it never was. Which meant we ended up with oliebollen for weeks into the new year. Oliebollen for breakfast, oliebollen for lunch, oliebollen for dessert. We would beg everyone visiting us 'Please!!! Take some oliebollen! Come on, you know you want them!' 'Friends don't let friends be stuck with 200 oliebollen, really!'

The very first year we have moved to the States, I couldn't imagine a New Year's Eve without oliebollen. Of course, they weren't very available in the US. No problem, I would just ask my father for his recipe. Let's just say that somehow the yeast got mixed up and I wasn't very experienced yet and that the dough seemed to keep rising. It rose out of the bowls, ran around on the counter playing tag, and tried to forcefully take over my kitchen. It grew, and it grew, and it grew and we almost ended up having oliebollen dough in our bed that night. That was quite an interesting experience ^^

Directions (
This recipe is from the King Arthur cook book, with a few small changes to make them more Dutch.)

Pour the water into a mixing bowl. In it dissolve the sugar, yeast, and dry milk successively. Beat in the eggs. In another bowl, measure the flour and salt. Add the raisins to the flour and stir into the wet ingredients. This will produce a very wet dough which you want to cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel so it can bubble away and expand for an hour or so.

About half an hour before you want to cook the Olie Bollen, stir down the dough and let it rest. After 20 minutes, heat 3 to 4 inches of vegetable oil or shortening in a large saucepan until it reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Dip an ice cream scoop into the hot oil and then transfer a glob of dough to the hot fat. Cook several of these at a time, but allow enough room for them to expand. To help them expand somewhat evenly, flip them over after they've first risen to the surface. Continue cooking them until they're a warm golden brown on both sides, flipping them back and forth as needed. Remove them with a slotted spoon to a paper towel to drain.

Eat them with confectioners sugar, they are best if they are still warm, but very tasty when cold too.


Lisa said...

Nice memories. They made me smile on a cold, rainy November morning.

Starr said...

really great blog. Full of love. single and 7 kids. I couldnt do it.

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