The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

honouring my mother(s) update! here are the pics and the recipe :-)

freerk's picture

honouring my mother(s) update! here are the pics and the recipe :-)

(scroll down for update and pictures!!!)

My mother passed away long before her time, now almost 15 years ago.


She left behind a bread recipe that still goes around by her name; "Renny-bread" Even distant cousins seem to know the recipe; last summer I visited one of them here in Amsterdam, after she had been really helping me out for my wedding (she has THE most wonderful flowershop here in Amsterdam). To thank her I brought her a "Renny-bread", thinking she would see and eat it for the first time in her life...


When I showed her what I had made, she shouted out: "Ohh wonderful, a Renny-bread!"


That, of course, brought a big smile to my face; she remembered eating the bread when she was a kid, and loved it very much!


At the wedding a good friend of mine pointed out that my mother in law shares her name with my mother. She is Venezuelan and her name is Reina. Both names mean "queen", which I think is a wonderful name for a mother, OR a mother in law for that matter :-)


After all this (coincedence or fate, we will never know I guess) I played around with the idea to invent a bread in honour of these two wonderful women in my life; a bread fit for a queen!


There is one small problem with this bread though.... It's not really bread, it's more like a cake. It's a real simple recipe involving self raising flour, basterd sugar, a mixture of milk and water and some all-spice that makes it taste very X-massy.


I have decided that it should be a braided bread, even though the original "renny-bread" always came out of the oven in a shape, that, once cut into slices, resembled the outline of the province that we were all born in, here in the Netherlands. That was completely coincedental, but it always made us laugh.

My mother was good at making braided breads; she never ceased to amaze me with them, so I guess it would be the appropriate shape, all the more because I wouldn't have a clue how to bake the outline of a province into a bread...


I'm looking around for a nice sumptuous sweet bread recipe that I can use as a base, and tweak into a loaf that will, most of all, taste like the original. But it has to be special (fit for a queen!)


That's why I would like to ask my fellow members here at TFL to help me out. Is there any one out there who can point me in the right direction, or maybe has a better idea that I haven't thought of yet? I would love to hear from you!!!!


to be continued!


warm greetings from Amsterdam




Happy New Year every one!

I think the Gods were with me on my second attempt to make a bread in honour of my mother and my mother-in-law:


The crownshape is definitely there :-)


It is very close to what I had in mind, both visually and tastewise. Here is what I did:


2 eggs

4 cups of bread flour

1 cup of milk

1/4 cup of unsalted butter

7 grams instant yeast

1/4 cup + 2 tbs of white caster sugar

cracked seeds from 9 cardemom pods

1 heaped tbs of coriander seeds

2 tsp cinnamon

pinch of salt

pinch of white pepper


Beat the eggs and put aside.

Heat the milk over low heat until bubbles form on the edge of the pan and the milk smells cooked.

Stir in the crushed cardemom seeds and melt the butter into the milk. Let it cool to about 40°C (104°F)

Add the milk mixture to the eggs little by little, constantly stirring. Make sure the milk has cooled enough!

Stir in the yeast into the mixture and let it rest for a few minutes.

Combine 2 1/2 cups of the bread flour, the cinnamon, the coriander seeds, the sugar, salt and white pepper in a coleander.

Pour half of the milk-egg mixture into the dry ingredients to make the dough come together. Add the other half of the mixture and mix for about 5 minutes on low speed. The dough will not "clear the bowl", it is too moist for that.

Flour your work surface with some of the remaining flour. Turn out the dough and work in as much flour to make it kneadable by hand. Don't "overflour" or overwork the dough at this point.

When the dough is smooth, put it in an oiled container, cover it well and let it rise until doubled in size (about one hour).

When the dough has doubled in size divide it in half. Divide one of the halves in two equal parts. Divide the other half in three equal parts.

Thoroughly grease a round pan with high sides. If you have a big baking ring to act as a support during proofing the dough, grease it as well, and place it in the middle of the round pan.

Take the two big pieces of dough, shape them into two strands and make a two-braid (twist) that will fit the inside of your round pan. Carefully place it in the pan, pinching the ends together. Cover to prevent crust forming.

Take the three smaller pieces of dough, three-braid it and put it on top of the two-braid.

Put the pan in a big plastic bag and let the dough proof until fully developed (about one hour). The upper braid will rise over the edge of the round pan, creating a crown effect.

45 minutes prior to baking preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F) and put a baking stone on the second highest shelf. Clear out any other baking sheets.

Give the dough a thorough egg wash and royally sprinkle with maple sugar.

Bake for about 35 minutes, turning it halfway through the bake to ensure even browning.

Let it cool on a rack before taking the bread out of the pan and remove the baking ring.


The taste and texture were perfect. What I suspected happened: the cinnamon gets a little lost in he battle of tastes, so next time I will put in a little extra, to come closer to the tate of the "original" recipe my mother used to make. The peppery crushed cardemom seeds give wonderful bursts of intense flavor, battling with the much sweeter coriander seeds. I left out the vanilla in the end because I thought there was more than enough going on, tastewise.


Thank you all so much for your wonderful and inspiring suggestions, ideas and contributions in completing this project. I can't think of a better way to start 2011 than with this wonderful tribute to the two most important women in my life. Couldn't have done it without you guys!!


Let me know what you think of the result (picture of the crumb will be added later!)


X Freerk





clazar123's picture

What taste or texture are you trying to capture? Is there a filling?or a topping? Is it all sweet or is there a savory component? Nuts? Jam? Cheese? Fruit? Meat? Is it meant to eat in slices for sandwiches or hunks torn off to be dunked in soup? Tell us more! Post a picture of the "Renny-bread".

If I were going to design a sweet bread fit for a queen, it would have to be a form of a brioche dough- perhaps with my favorite jam as filling or even the 2 favorite jams of both mom and mom-in-law. It could be a braided crown!

What a wonderful project!

freerk's picture

I never asked myself the question where my mother got the recipe for this bread (we call it bread, but it's really more like a cake).

Yesterday I started browsing around for possible recipes to start with, and it didn't take long before I started to realize that she most likely took her inspiration from a German/Scandinavian Christmas coffeebread, very much like the cardemom braid posted on this site by Terrell or the Finnish Pulla.


Cardemom was most definitely not available in the late sixties in the small village I grew up in, so she used cinnamon and vanilla instead, equally X-massy in taste.

My educated guess is that she started using Self Raising Flour once it became available, and after a while stopped braiding it and just baked it cake-style in a loaf-pan.

I had a go at it yesterday night; I put the cardemom back into the equasion, mixing it together with cinnamon and vanilla (to honour her tweaking of the original recipe)

I made a simple three braid. It came out looking good, but with very poor lift, a very dense crumb (almost undercooked). I could still taste that the mix of spices wasn't half bad and compares to the taste I'm looking for, but other than that it was, well.... not very tasty...

I will repeat this recipe once more, but with new instant yeast, because i get the feeling mine is approaching its expiration date and I haven't really taken proper care of it storing it the way it should be stored. To make it look  more "royal" I'm going to try a four or five braid.


To answer your questions: tastewise: cardemom, cinnamon and vanilla (I would like to chuck out one of those three but i haven't decided which one yet, I fear it's going to be the vanilla)

Texture should be quite dense, moist but not too wet or doughy, with a thin crust that has a nice crunch to it (on the first day at least)

There's no filling or topping

it's sweet, but with some complexity in taste because of the cardemom (I don't know if you could call it savory, but cardemom is not all about sweetness I think)

I'm contemplating the thought of actually putting some cardemom pods into the bread.

This bread is great with coffee, it's not a breakfast bread I think (although I eat the "original" at any time of the day, with anything on the side that even remotely combines :-)


I really like the idea of braiding it into a crown shape, or to try and incorporate a crown into the bread (stencilling small crowns on strategic places with cinnamon?) Great idea!


After my second attempt at this recipe I'm going to go for a brioche, actually the Glezer recipe that is suggested by YY later on in this thread!


Thanks for thinking along with me, that is why I love this site so much!!!



yy's picture

I'd like to find out the shape of the province, because I'm very curious about the braiding technique involved. In terms of a good sweet bread recipe, "Baking Team USA Sweet Dough" from Maggie Glezer's book Artisan Baking is a good basis for something nice and rich. It has a 30% butter content, which effectively makes it brioche.Below is the formula, taken from

Baking Team USA Sweet Dough

Milk, any kind 125 g (1/2 cup)
Instant yeast 6 g (2 tsp.)
Unbleached all-purpose flour 400 g (2-2/3 cup)
Eggs 3 large
table salt 8 grams (1-1/2 tsp.)
granulated sugar 75 g (6 Tbsp.)
unsalted butter 116 g (1/2 cup)

Microwave milk on high power for 4 minutes or heat in a small saucepan on stove top until bubbles form around the edge, steam rises and the milk smells cooked. Let it cool to 40 to 46 degrees C (105 -115 degrees F). Sprinkle yeast over milk, stir and let stand 5-10 minutes.
Add the flour to the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, then add the yeast mixture and the eggs. Mix the dough until well combined. Let the mixture rest for 15 to 20 minutes.

Add the salt to the dough and using the dough hook, mix the dough on low speed until it is smooth, about 3 minutes. This is a soft dough that will never clean the bowl. Add the sugar in 2 additions and the butter in 2 additions, mixing until each addition is completely incorporated before adding the rest. Continue to mix the dough until it is satiny smooth, soft and glossy.
Place the dough into a container at least 3 times its size and cover it tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 2 days. Let the dough warm up to room temperature for 2 hours before shaping it.

About 30 minutes before the dough is fully proofed, arrange a rack on the oven's bottom shelf and clear away all racks above it. Preheat oven to 160 degrees C (325 degrees F).

Bake until the loaves are richly browned all around, 35-40 minutes, rotating them halfway through the bake


freerk's picture



I am most definitely going to try the Glezer brioche. As you can see higher up in this thread, my experimenting has begun (and the first attempt was a massive fail :-)


The name of the province is Drenthe

The bread/cake my mother made would always come out looking like that, when sliced.

This was completely coincidental by the way, it just always made us laugh!!

My mother was a very good braider, but somewhere in time she stopped doing it; my guess is that with three kids growing up she had no time for it any more. So she started baking it in a bread-pan, and that's when this shape came into being :-)

I'm going to start working on a braided "finnish pulla" and your suggested Glezer Brioche right now, and I will come back here to share the results!


Thank you for the recipe!


X Freerk

Trialer70's picture

Would you share the recipe for Renny-bread that you make?

freerk's picture

I most certainly will do that once I succeed in creating the sort of bread I am looking for!


clazar123's picture

Take a look for some inspiration at these 2 threads. Apparently cracking the cardamom seeds can make a flavor difference, if whole cardamom is available. I like to pair ground coriander with cardamom. It seems to offer a bit of a sweeter balance to the peppery cardamom.

I've made the "Lazy Man's Brioche" recipe (Floydm posted here) many times in the last few weeks for the holidays and it has turned out every time. THe key is to own a mixer that can mix it well and the butter should not be too soft or it will turn the dough oily.

How about a loafed bread with a twisted top? Make a long,thick rope,join the ends into a circle and twist it,tuck the ends under. Then fit it into the loaf pan.

This looks like what I'm thinking-about halfway down the page. Isn't Google wonderful!



freerk's picture

Yes! cracked cardemom pods and coriander. That sounds exciting!

Lucky for me, I have access to an amazing array of herbs, spices and nuts. There is this Turkish shop around the corner from where I live. I know he sells the cardemom pods.

I guess with two such rather strong tastes competing, the cinnamon and vanilla have indeed become superfluous. Unless...

What if I DO use cinnamon as the base-flavor, and instead of using ground coriander, use the seeds , probably cracked, just like the cardemom? Keeping these two tastes confined to "bursts" when you happen to stumble upon either of them in a bite?

Hm, chances are that after two bites the cinnamon gets lost anyway.... but I might give it a try. What do you think; will the cinnamon "survive" on the tastebuds?

And WOW! I like the 'twister". It certainly gives a lot more height than with the "traditional" braid, judging from the picture.

Actually... do you think I could get away with making the twisted rope into yet another circle? Instead of tucking the ends under, could I make them tuck under as far as the dough will let me? Or letting it proof in a smaller pan, so that it will have to go up and out?

Looking at the pics in your link of the twisted bread in the pan; it ALMOST forms the shape of a crown already.

If I can work the middle part more "straight", and push the two at both ends a little to the side, i would be there! Put a little something on top in the middle (a little roll?), sprinkle royally with maple sugar for diamonds. That might work...if I would be a great shaper... which I'm not... Gonna try anyway ;-)


And yes, Google rules!!!


Let's see! I'm going to get my pods tomorrow and start working it.


Thank you for your inspiring feedback and suggestions.



whosinthekitchen's picture


I love that you want to tweak up a recipe in honour of your moms...

about cardomom pods... break the pod to get the seeds from inside.

Simmer these in a vloume of milk you use in the recipe to capture the flavor or put the seeds through a coffee grinder if you don't want to use ground cardamom.

Sometimes in such recipes not to meant to be too sweet a bit of white pepper is added for adifferent zing.


I think this recipe will make the texture you seek and the dough is divided to form ropes for braiding.

Nisu Wreath 

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/4 cup butter

1 TB. yeast (quick rise is fine)

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 + 2 TB sugar

1-2 tsp cardamom (or 7 seed pods shelled and crushed and ground; I like the essence of cardamom anduse even a bit more than this.  I bake for Finnish friends.... this is similar to the Pulla)

3-4 cups bread flour ( I am in the US and our flour may differ from yours)

1 egg beaten and 1/4 c coarse sugar for glazing top optional


Beat eggs and set aside.  Warm the milk and butter overl ow heat, stir oftn.  Remove from heat when butter hasmelted.  Cool slightl. Add slowly to the beaten eggs mxing all the while.  Add yeast to the bolw and stirl  Add vanilla salt cardamom and 2 1/2 cups of flour.  Beat in the half of the milk.  Then the last half of the milk.  The dough is ready for kneading at this point. Turn out on a floured surface.Add flour as needed to prevent stidking. Caution regarding over kneading or adding too much flour.  When the dough is smooth place in a greased bowl to rest and rise til doubled. Once doubled, remove dough ad cut into 2 pieces. Each half should then be divided into htree pieces.   Rest for about 5 minutes.  Then these can be rolled into 10-12 inch ropes.  Braid ad shape as you desire.  Allow to rise til nearly doubled.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  While you wait, bruch the loaf with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the coarse sugar if you want.  I make this  with a few favorite nuts, either almonds, pecans, or walnuts.  Maybe with a few raisins, golden is my favorite.  This year someone gave me dried craberries and they were wonderful in this.  these are added at the time of making ropes before briading... jewels of decoration style.  This loaf braided in a wreath shape bakes for about 35 minutes.

I hope this recipe helps you create your desired outcome.  Guys honoring mom with a family recipe tweaked to be fit for her as a queen is wonderful.  I look forward to seeing and trying your final recipe.  For all moms remebered this holiday season,

Here's to you, Freerk!




clazar123's picture

This next one is more of a filled bread but I like the "heart" shaped serving.


whosinthekitchen's recipe sounds perfect!

freerk's picture

Whooa! This is getting better and better! This IS a crown already, and that is what I am looking for! Great! Thank you!!!!!!!

whosinthekitchen's picture


What a wonderful tribute, beautiful result.  So happy for your success in this creation. Thanks for sharing the project, the result and photos.

I will be making this in February with the girlfriends as we get together to celebrate our mothers and grandmothers.

You do your Ma proud!

Happiest of New Years to you and yours,


freerk's picture

Hey Lisa,

I feel honored that you are going to bake my new recipe :-)
As a matter of fact I think it's safe to say it will be OUR recipe.

This is why social media and the Internet in general are so great!
It may sound silly, but this whole bread baking craze that has suddenly hit me is deeply important to me. I guess it's my way of DOING something to counter these crazy times we live in.

People that bake their own bread are good people!

And I really like good people...

Have a beautiful 2011 !!!

whosinthekitchen's picture

for freerk's bread..... 

The can in the middle is brilliant!  Previously baked mine in a bundt cake to prevent the cave in effect...

but I didn't care for the 'over structured' outsde the bunt pan left.

This is perfect. Thanks for sharing.

breadsong's picture

Hello freerk, You did a wonderful job creating this sweet bread in honor of your mother & mother-in-law - how very special.  Regards, breadsong

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven


whosinthekitchen's picture

Hi Freerk,

"Our recipe"?!   Why thank you; it is an honor, indeed.

I will tell the girlfriends how this recipe came to be. The journey of the recipe  and story will then be launched...... and mothers honored all along the way.  What a wonderful beginning to a NEW Year.

I don't know that  I can wait until February to make this luscious crown of tasty goodness!



clazar123's picture

What a wonderful crown of bread! It is gorgeous and the flavor profile sounds delicious. It really came together for you and it was totally fun helping out. I think your mom would be proud of your accomplishment-I know I would be!

Did you grind or crush the coriander seeds?Or did you leave them whole? From your commentary it sounds like you left them whole. THat must give some nice flavor bursts as well.

Thank you!

freerk's picture

Once I knew what I was going to do, it all went like clockwork :-)

Your input had a huge impact as you can tell from the final recipe. The shape is spot on I think. And the real winner is the coriander-cardamom taste battle.

As I sort of suspected, the cinnamon gets lost as the base flavor after a few bites. It is still there, and certainly makes a difference, but next time I will probably put in some more, just to make it taste a tad more the way my mother made it, even though I believe anyone who has eaten the original will recognize taste and texture.

I ended up putting the coriander seeds whole. They're easy to eat, and didn't need cracking at all.

I put the cardamom in the milk and let it give off it's flavor there already. That worked. I did give the seeds one single whack with my rolling pin though (before putting it in the milk of course ;-)

Thank you so much for your inspiration! If you would be closer I would come by and bring you the result of our digital meanderings. Alas, for the moment the pics and the recipe is all I have on offer :-)

Have a good week!


breadsong's picture

Hello freerk,
I baked this as an extra gift for Mother's Day - thank you so much for your beautiful idea for this bread.
Mine did not turn out as nice as yours!
My braiding was a bit uneven!
But I hope my mother-in-law enjoys her 'queen for a day' bread.

Thanks again for creating this pan de reina - I was touched when I read your post and thought this would be the perfect thing to make for Mother's Day.
from breadsong


freerk's picture

hey breadsong,


It looks wonderful! And did your mother in law enjoy it?

It really makes me feel proud that you have chosen to make my pan de reina :-)

Maybe we should call it Mothers Day bread, marketing wise that would be a good move I think :-)


Let me know if you liked the taste of it :-)


breadsong's picture

Hello Freerk,
Dear mother-in-law loved your pan de reina, as did we.
I tried using coriander in a sweet bread for the first time, when making Syd's Hot Cross Buns at Easter.
Mother-in-law and I both loved the flavor coriander brought to the baked bun.
I used Syd's spice mix in your pan de reina; next time, I'll try it with cardamom.
I want to make this bread again - to celebrate someone special, for birthdays, too!
:^) from breadsong