Dutch Language Blog

Rainy Days Make me Want to Bake Posted by on Aug 27, 2014 in Culture, Dutch Vocabulary

Summer seems to be over in the Netherlands. Most days have been bewolkt and the sun only makes short appearances. The temperatures have also cooled down and an umbrella is a must in my purse.

These days have brought out the inner bakker in me. Perhaps its because I’ve been drinking more tea to stay warm, or perhaps I like the warmth of the oven. Regardless of the reason, I have been experimenting a bit with baking, and with it, the words and customs of it in the Netherlands.

My first bak experiment was with my grandma’s cookie recipe. The ingrediënten I needed were bloem, suiker, zout, bakpoeder, kaneel, dooiers, ei, and the most difficult ingredient to find: shortening. I learned with this project that everyday baking in the Netherlands doesn’t require shortening. I stood in front of the butter section of the grocery store (someone told me I could find shortening there) for about 20 minutes sorting out the different types of butter hoping to find something similar to bakvet. When that failed, I spent another 20 minutes in front of the baking section looking through the boxes to see what ingrediënten were used instead of bakvet. Most recipes called for roomboter which is a creamy version of butter, but this is made from milk, and what I needed was vegetable fat.

It took over an hour for me to consider that perhaps the specialty baking store nearby might have shortening. Someone has to have shortening, right? Lucky for my grandma’s recipe and me, the store did have shortening, and the very nice woman told me they always have it in stock. She could even order bigger cans if need be.

My second baking experiment was an appelflap or an apple strudel. Some months ago, Riccardo and I ate a very delicious appelflap in a small bakkerij in Amsterdam and since then, I have longed for one. It turned out to be a very simple endeavor because in the frozen food section, you can find bladerdeeg, which comes in plakjes or pre-cut slices. You only need to prepare your filling, stuff and put in the oven for about 20 minutes. I was set on appelflap so I simply peeled and chopped one apple, mixed in about 2 theelepeltjes of suiker, a dash of kaneel and citroensap.

The appelflap was delicious, and I am now eager to learn to bake what Limburg is most famous for: taart (which is actually called a vlaai in Limburg dialect)! I found this video and I cannot decide which I like most. What do you think?



Useful Vocabulary:

bakken– to bake

mengen- to mix

de bakker– baker

de bloem– the flour

de boter– the butter

de roomboter– the creamy butter

de suiker– the sugar

het bakpoeder– the baking poweder

het zout– the salt

het kaneel– the cinnamon

de dooiers– the egg yolks

het ei– the egg

het bakvet– the shortening/the baking fat

het ingredient– the ingredient

de appelflap– the apple strudel

de bakkerij– the bakery

het bladerdeeg– the puff pastry

de plakjes– the slices

het theelepeltje– the teaspoon

het eetlepeltje– the tablespoon

de oven– the oven

de mixer– the mixer

de maatbeker– the measuring cup

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About the Author: Karoly Molina

Since I was a little girl, I was fascinated with languages and writing. I speak English, Spanish, Italian, Dutch and a little bit of French. I am a writer, reader, language teacher, traveler, and a food lover! I now live in The Netherlands with my husband Riccardo, our cat Mona, and our dog Lisa, and the experience has been phenomenal. The Dutch culture is an exciting sometimes topsy-turvy world that I am happily exploring!


  1. Ilja DeYoung:

    Have you tried “Plantaardige margarine” in stead of shortening? It comes in packages and is found in the cool section (next to the ‘roomboter’)and is quite cheap.
    If you want it to be really non-dairy, you will have to check ingredients. A lot of the “plant’-margarines have milkpowder in them (what plant is that from???).
    I know AH’s own brand is all plant.

    • Karoly G Molina:

      @Ilja DeYoung Ilja, thank you for the suggestion! I will try it next time I make cookies 🙂