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Het Nederlands Bakboek Cookbook Review

Dutch Treats Served with a Helping of History

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Het Nederlands Bakboek Cookbook Review

Het Nederlands Bakboek

Photo © Kosmos Uitgevers
In her stunning new cookbook, Het Nederlands Bakboek (The Dutch Baking Book), food historian and cookbook author Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra demonstrates that when it comes to baking, the Netherlands has a long and proud tradition and a unique baking culture with a true identity.

The author is Guyanese by birth, but has spent much of her adult life living in the Netherlands, where she developed an enduring admiration for local baked goods. According to Pagrach-Chandra, the secret to Dutch baking is good butter, which is widely available in the Netherlands. Partly based on the author's earlier book, Windmills in my Oven (Prospect Books, 2002), which appeared in English, Het Nederlands Bakboek is written for the local market and reads like a love letter to traditional Dutch baking.

Het Nederlands Bakboek was recently nominated as a finalist in the Dutch Cookbook Category of the Kookboek van het Jaar 2012 (the Netherlands' annual cookbook awards).

Storied Recipes

The book highlights all manner of baked goods for the holidays, from old-fashioned oliebollen to duivekater (a sweet festive bread) and speculaas, as well as regional specialities, such as the well-known Zeeuwse bolus (brown sugar rolls) and the perhaps slightly lesser known Amsterdamse korstjes (honeyed rye cakes). But, while the author never actually makes any claim to providing a complete guide to Dutch baking, we feel she overlooked a couple of crucial and enduringly popular delicacies, notably stroopwafels, pepernoten, wentelteefjes, tompoezen and the banketstaaf.

Pagrach-Chandra shares the stories behind some of the Netherlands' most beloved baked goods, and presents this information along with useful ingredient- and baking tips and easy to follow recipes that are suitable for home bakers of all levels. She also outlines how industrialization has impacted Dutch bakers. It is this combination of finger-licking recipes and fascinating historical text, along with beautiful photography and delicious design that makes the book as much a practical cookbook as an amazing armchair read. It's a must for home cooks with an interest in Dutch food culture or anyone looking to broaden their baking repertoire. In fact, this cookbook is high on our list as the perfect present for baking enthusiasts, who are sure to find it as much a treat as the recipes themselves.

Publication Details

  • Title: Het Nederlands Bakboek
  • Author: Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra
  • First published in 2012.
  • Published by: Kosmos Uitgevers
  • Retail price: €29,95
  • ISBN: 9789021552606
  • Language: This version is only available in Dutch, but is partly based on the English-language Windmills in my Oven.
  • Try a Recipe from the Book

    Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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