Traditionally made in the Dutch province of Friesland. A unique sweet yeast bread with soft crunchy bits of sugar throughout.
Dissolve the yeast in the milk. Make a dough using all the ingredients, except the sugar lumps!, and adding the butter last, when the dough starts forming a ball. Knead until you have an elastic dough, about 8 minutes with a spiral mixer, with your hands it takes longer, about 15 minutes. Let rest in a covered bowl for 30 to 40 minutes. Make sure this is done in a room that has the right temperature (about 24ºC / 75ºF to 27ºC / 80ºF would be ideal).
The 200 g of sugar lumps are broken into pieces by putting them in a towel and breaking them with a hammer. The pieces can be all different shapes and sizes. In the oven they will melt and caramelize in the loaf, giving the bread it’s distinctive look and taste. Now carefully pinch or fold the the sugar lumps through the dough. You can leave most of the finer grit out of it, the bigger lumps and pieces are the most important to incorporate. When they are distributed evenly, carefully shape the dough into a ball, cover and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
Now form the dough into a loaf shape. First make a rectangle and fold both ends left and right so the ends of the sides are only just overlapping ‘envelope style’, then roll it up. You may use a loaf pan or cake tin, (I have used both in my pictures above) which gives a much flatter loaf (like rolls that have joined together), and I advise placing parchment paper in the bottom and placing the loaf on a baking sheet, (sugar will come out of the loaf and can drip on your oven floor, the baking sheet is to make sure this will not happen!). Cover with greased cling film and let it prove for about 1 hour or so, again in a warm place. When you think the loaf has risen enough, use your floured finger to carefully make a very small dent in the dough. If the dent remains, the bread is ready to bake, if the indentation disappears, the dough needs a little bit more time.
Preheat the oven at 200ºC / 390ºF. Bake the loaf for about 30 minutes, depending on your oven. Keep a close eye on it so the top will not burn (you can cover the top with aluminum foil if it browns too fast or turn the oven down a notch). Take it from the oven and do NOT touch the bread with your hands because the caramelized sugar is very HOT! But when it has cooled to just warm, be the first to taste it!
* Sugar Lumps - Rock candy type sugar comes out best for this, the harder the sugar the better, though Sugar Cubes can be used in a pinch. "Candi Rock Sugar" can be purchased inexpensively at any reputable home brew store and Amber Belgian Candi Rock Sugar has a wonder flavor. Other options are Christmas candy canes (these come in far more flavors than peppermint these days) smashed, or even Red Hots.