In the Netherlands and in Flanders ‘ontbijtkoek’ is a delicacy, which is eaten at breakfast, lunch or as a snack. It is similar to Dutch honey cake and is made of rye flour to which sugars, baking powder and spices are added. These spices generally consist of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. In the south of the Netherlands and in Flanders this is called ‘peperkoek’ (gingerbread).

There are different kinds of ‘ontbijtkoek’ available to which for example raisins, nuts or honey is added. ‘Ontbijtkoek’ is easily digestible and contains little fat.

Production of ‘ontbijtkoek’


The quality of ‘ontbijtkoek’ is mostly determined by the quality of the rye flour. Generally rye flour with an asgehalte of approximately 0.7% is used. Because a higher asgehalte gives a less clear brown colour. As well as the asgehalte is the amylase-activity of the rye flower relevant. When the amylase-activity is too low, the probability of a break in the crumb increases, while too low of a volume and a sodden crumb occurs when the amylase-activity is too high.

The ‘ontbijtkoek’ contains a lot of sugars. Therefore a too big stiffening of the starch is prevented, so the available water is divided well. These sugars can be added in different forms. A mixture of invert sugar syrup and glucose syrup is often used. Glucose syrup contains a high percentage of dextrins, which keep the cake longer tender. But the cake does get a smaller volume because of this. Instead of the glucose syrup, ‘massé’ , glucose in crystal form, is sometimes added. Because of this the specific volume increases, but the tenderness decreases faster. Generally natriumbicarbonate is added as baking powder. To neutralise the released natriumcarbonate, a certain quantity of acidic natriumpyrophosphate is added as well.


A big part of the molasses and possibly added honey are heated to 100°C together with a large amount of water and old cake/gingerbread or ‘kantkoek’. The ‘ontbijtkoek’ stays longer tender when approximately 20% old cake or ‘kantkoek’ is used to cook it.


All the rye flour is at once added to this boiling syrup. The whole is mixed in a Z-arm mix machine because of which a partial stiffening of the starch occurs and a homogeneous mass with a temperature of approximately 70°C. is formed. This is celled the motherdough.


The motherdough is places in metal trays so that the dough can cool down to 15°C. The dough is left resting at this temperature for at least 1 day. When a big part of the starch in the motherdough is stiffened, the starch will be broken down in the doughrest by amylase. By so doing is an ‘ontbijtkoek’ with a large volume and good eatqualities obtained.


The remaining sugars, spices and baking powder are added when the motherdough has rested enough. ‘Braken’ is the process in which extra sugars and spices are added during the second stage. This completes the aroma of the ‘ontbijtkoek’. ‘Braken’ takes place in a ‘braakmachine’. At this point raisins, nuts etcetera can be added to the formed enddough.


Next the enddough is distributed over baking trays, so that long bars of ‘ontbijtkoek’ are formed. The dough can be sprinkled with other sugars, pieces of fruit or starches as extra completion.


The baking trays are automatically transported to an continuous oven. The ‘ontbijtkoek’ is baked at a temperature up to 300°C for 1 or even 3.5 hours, depending on the kind of cake.


The ‘ontbijtkoeken’ are taking of the baking trays and placed on shelfs by means of automatically turningappliances.


The still warm ‘ontbijtkoeken’ are placed in a conditioned space where they can cool down and lose a part of the remaining fluid. However, the ‘ontbijtkoeken’ may not lose too much fluid.


When the cakes are cooled down sufficiently, the long bars of ‘ontbijtkoek’ are cut to the desired size by using carving machines. The ‘ontbijtkoek’ can also be cut in slices by a beltcutmachine.

Wrapping up

After a check for conformity, the ‘ontbijtkoek’ is wrapped up in foil and provided with a tag by means of a machine. Before the cake is put in a box, there is a metal detection and weight check which removes deviating cakes.

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