Traditional Dutch breakfast and brunch meals are pretty low-key in the Netherlands. You'll typically find plenty of bread, dairy, and fruit, along with breakfast favorites such as ontbijtkoek and beschuit (rusk-like rounds). On Dutch holidays, more luxury items such as smoked fish platters and fruited breads are the stars of the show. Of course, any overview of Dutch breakfast and brunch recipes needs to include a good recipe for whole wheat bread. And while pancakes and poffertjes are more often found on Dutch lunch and dinner tables, we've added them here, too. These are our favorites.
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This is the ultimate whole wheat bread recipe. It's pure, honest, and wholesome, with no additives, bread improvers, or sugars added. The ingredients include freshly milled whole wheat flour (ideally), water, yeast, salt, and a touch of olive oil. This recipe comes from Hartog's, an artisanal whole wheat bakery in Amsterdam. It makes a dense, hearty loaf, which goes a long way because it is so filling. Typical Dutch bread toppings include cheese, (salty) Dutch peanut butter, appelstroop, cold meats, jam, honey, hazelnut-chocolate spread and hagelslag (sweet chocolate, aniseed or fruit sprinkles).
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Another variation on the traditional Dutch breakfast, uitsmijter is the Dutch word for "bouncer." It has been said that the dish was once served to bar patrons at closing time, before kindly showing them the door. Instead, fix this for yourself at home, regardless of the time of day—or night. It's a popular breakfast, brunch, and lunch dish.
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These are the most famous Dutch pancakes; plate-sized and hearty, and very, very popular due to the combination of sweet, tart, and salty flavors. Dutch pancakes are usually served with a dark syrup called stroop, which you can buy online if you can't find it in the grocery store. The Dutch tend to eat savory pancakes like these for lunch or the evening meal, but they're an excellent hangover cure—and therefore, great for brunch, too.
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Poffertjes are another version of Dutch pancake, in miniature. They are cooked in a special poffertjespan, a cast iron pan with little indentations to cook the blini-like Dutch treats. Like blini, poffertjes are made with buckwheat flour, which lends a nice tang and a bit of extra nutrition to these indulgent bites. Classic poffertjes recipes are served them with butter and confectioners' sugar. But you could also indulge in poffertjes with strawberries and whipped cream or poffertjes with a delicious date sauce. Load them up on skewers for a popular Dutch kids' party snack.