raisinbuns10

Recipe for Raisin Buns / Krentenbollen

Yes, you need that many raisins, so stick to the recipe!

I have been making raisin buns for a while now, and I think I have tweaked and tried the recipe quite to everybody’s satisfaction. Raisin buns are called ‘krentenbollen’ in Dutch, although they are usually made with a combination of raisins and currants (‘krenten’ means currants (for a lecture on the difference between currants and raisins, see end of this post)). I usually make double the amount of this recipe. The buns keep wonderfully well in the freezer and you can give them a quick ‘pick me up’ in the microwave, have some fresh butter at hand (also good without though) and away you go. But nothing can beat eating them slightly warm, fresh from the oven of course. The following recipe is a slightly ‘tuned down’ version of the one I use myself, because I work with prefermented dough and different types of flour etc. But if you want to try raisin buns for the first time, this recipe is a great point to start.

Before you start!

You need to prepare a so called ‘sweetener’ which gives the raisin bun dough it’s distinctive and pleasant taste. For this you mix 40 grams of sugar with the zest of 1 unwaxed lemon and one unwaxed orange. You can store this mixture in your fridge, it will keep for a long time. You also have to wash and soak your raisins. First wash them and then leave them for 10 minutes in warm water. Rinse with cold water and leave to dry on a plate for two days (cover them against dust). If you do not want to wait two days, or you forgot, just drain them well and roll them lightly in flour before using. The amount of raisins used is usually the same as the amount of flour used. It seems like a lot, but you need this amount to get a good raisin bun so you do not ‘have to bicycle from one raisin to the next’ as we say. As you make them more often, you will come to your own preferred amount.

Note: if you use American bread flour you probably need 3 to 5 % more milk than we use with our European flour.

Ingredients for the Raisin Buns

makes 12 raisin buns

400 g bread flour / all purpose flour / French type 55 flour

40 g fresh yeast or 14 grams instant yeast

8 g salt

50 g fresh dairy butter

1 egg yolk

220 g milk

10 g sweetener (sugar and lemon/orange zest mix, see ‘before you start’))

400 g raisins, washed and soaked (you can also use a mixture of raisins and currants)

Making the Raisin Buns
Make the dough with all the ingredients (except the raisins) and with 170 g of the milk. Then gradually add the rest of the milk and kneed the dough until well developed. If you are using fresh yeast, first dissolve it in some of the milk, before adding it to the other ingredients. With a KitchenAid type mixer, mix for about 8 to 10 minutes, by hand it will take about 15 minutes of good kneading. Make sure the dough is not too sticky or too dry. Aim for a bit tacky, which means that when you poke the dough with your dry finger it should stick for a second but then peel of as you remove your finger. Leave to rest for 5 minutes.

Then add the raisins and ‘pinch’ them through the dough very carefully by hand, so they are evenly distributed. If you are lucky enough to own a spiral mixer, you can use that instead and it will only take one minute to add the raisins. If not, just do the work by hand.

Now press the dough down with both hands into a flat disc and roll it up cover it and leave to rest for 15 minutes.

Divide the dough into 12 equal parts and make rolls. Again leave to rest for about 15 minutes. Now press the rolls with your hand until slightly flat and round the dough again into a smooth ball.

I always weigh each piece of dough before shaping to make sure they are all the same size and bake evenly.

Place the rolls on a baking tray covered with a baking sheet (we use our reusable thin fiber baking mats).
Preheat your oven to 200ºC /390ºF. Now the rolls are ready for their final proofing. Loosely cover them with plastic wrap. Depending on your room temperature and the temperature of the dough this should take at least 1 hour, but more likely 1.5 hours or even more. Just be patient and check regularly. When you think it has risen enough, use your 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 (10 to 15 minutes).

When ready place the buns in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on your oven. They should have a nice golden brown shine. You can brush the tops with some melted butter while the buns are still warm, this way they also stay softer and get extra taste. Leave to cool on a wire rack. Eat with fresh butter!

Note: The difference between raisins and currants
Dark raisins: These are the most common variety found in most markets, usually made from Thompson seedless grapes. Although they start as green grapes, the fruit naturally darkens as it dries.

• White or golden raisins: These are also called muscats and are generally made of white muscat grapes which are seeded, specially oven-dried (rather than by sun), and treated to retain their light color. Some golden raisins are dried Thompson seedless raisins which have been kept light by the use of sulfur dioxide.

• Sultanas: More popular in Europe, these raisins come from a seedless yellow grape and are usually softer and sweeter than other varieties. The American variety of sultana grape is the Thompson seedless.

• Currants: Although there is a gooseberry relative known as the currant, the dried currant raisin is actually made from Black Corinth grape called Zante. They are tiny, seedless, and very sweet but do bear a resemblance to the currant berry. The name confusion comes not only from the currant raisin’s similar appearance to the currant berry, but also due to the similarity of the sounds of the fruit names, ie., currant sounds like Corinth, the variety of grape. Tiny dried currants are extremely sweet and aromatic. (source Wikipedia)

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18 Responses to Recipe for Raisin Buns / Krentenbollen

  1. Jan & Donna Kohler says:

    Hello Marieke,

    What a great website you have! I found your website from The Fresh Loaf and your postings. When I saw the spelling of your name I thought you were Dutch. What fun to find someone from Holland. My husband was born and raised in Baarn and immigrated to the U.S. in 1981. We met in California and lived in Holland for 3 years, 1990 to 1993, in Soest then Amersfoort. As an American it was a great experience for me. I loved the Dutch breads and visited the bread museum in Hattem.

    We started making no-knead bread a couple of years ago, much better than the grocery store breads and much cheaper than the artisan bakeries. After starting Jan took over and makes our bread every week and slices and freezes. He makes a very nice no-knead bread with cranraisins, nuts and cinnamon, just had a piece for breakfast with peanut butter and Dutch chocolate paste that we buy from a baker that comes every 6 weeks.

    We just printed out the Krentenbollen recipe and Jan is started to make them. I remember the raisins in Holland were different, had some sand and were tougher. The raisins we get are pre-washed so we will skip that but are soaking just to make them softer, they are already pretty soft but Krentenbollen needs soft raising.

    Thank you for such a great site!

    Donna Kohler

  2. Marieke says:

    Hello Donna,

    So nice to hear from you. Thank you for your kind words on our site.
    The krentenbollen are a real favorite with our family. I hope they work out for you too with this recipe. Of course you have different ingredients, especially the flour and how much moisture it needs to get a good dough. But I would love to hear how they turn out! I call my krentenbollen raisin buns because I do not actually use ‘krenten’ in them but the more juicy raisins.
    Fun to hear that you eat the pindakaas and the chocolade pasta! No hagelslag (another ‘Dutch’ treat)? I would be curious to hear what you think of Holland now. Things change so quickly and it’s rather busy everywhere. People I know who moved years ago and visit cannot get used to it anymore. In the US you usually have a lot more space.
    But we still have enough room for baking and for our little stone oven. Although it is our dream to one day have a wood fired one, maybe in a large garden, to make bread and pizza!

    Have fun with the baking!

    Marieke

  3. Carla says:

    Hello Marieke,
    Your website is a source of inspiration for a novice baker like myself (and many others I’m sure). Next weekend I will give this krentenbollen recipe a try; also in memory / honour of my granddad. Your story about the amount of raisins brought back happy memories of my grandparents.
    My granddads reply to my granny’s request if her “oliebollen” (dutch new years treat) were filled enough with currants and raisins would be: Yes dear, I don’t need my bike! And my granny knew then that they were alright. Lovely to read that you use a similar expression!

  4. Nor says:

    Sounds really good, but when it comes to recipes, I understand cups, tblspoons and tspoons, etc, grams are not my bag. So it would really help to have this in my language.
    Thanks

  5. Jim Wheeler says:

    Hi, I made the Krentenbollen today. I had some issuesa and maybe you can help me. I followed the recipe as closely as I could.I used King Arthur unbleacked flour, Red Stat Platinum yeast, and equal grams of raisins to flour. They seems to be doing ok until after 14 minutes in a 390 degree oven they were notbrowned like your picture and a lot of raisins sticking out every where. I switched to the convection mode in my oven at the same temperture and they browned a little in 5 more minutes but the center never achived a nice egg yellowish fluffy crumb. What do you think I did wrong? I remember these as a kid and they were much lighter fewer raisins and look like your picture on the web site. they did taste mighty good though!!

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hello Jim,
      First of all ovens are tricky things to compare. Maybe yours works a little different and you need to set it a bit higher next time. These are the things you always have to figure out and ‘tweak’ to make the recipe work for you.
      Incorporating the raisins so they do not stick out has to do with shaping technique. First of all you have to make sure the raisins are equally divided throughout the dough, at this point of course some will stick out here and there, but when it comes to the part of making the rolls, this is where you must make sure (almost) all of them are covered by the dough. When you master the technique of tightly rolling the balls, first with rather a lot of pressure with your cupped hands and gradually releasing the pressure, you will see that the raisins that are on the outside also get covered with a film of the dough. The yellowness of the crumb also has to do with how yellow to orange in color your yolk is and also a bit with the orange lemon zest sugar. It is no problem making these with less raisins if you prefer of course. And last but not least, for fluffiness it is also essential you make absolutely sure they are very well risen to their full extend. So when your dough and/or surroundings are colder this could take quite a while longer than the times given in the recipe.

      Hope this is helpful and you will give it another try.

      Marieke

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  7. Jan Rendek says:

    Loved them when I studied in NL.
    Now I prepared them using your recipe for my colleagues in the office in Bratislava, Slovakia. And they loved them too :-)

    Thank you!

    Jan Rendek
    Slovakia/Austria

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hello Jan,
      How wonderful that ‘our’ krentenbollen are liked all the way in Bratislava! Thank you so much for sharing. Makes us :)

      Greetings from Holland,

      Marieke & Ed

  8. Henry Poole says:

    Krentenbollen are my wife’s favorite treat. We just returned to the U.S. from a visit ‘home’ (for her) to The Netherlands. She packed as many packages of Kerentenbollen in the carry-on luggage as would fit and by the time we landed there was only one package left! I bake as a hobby and will try out your recipe for her in the near future…she has a very discerning taste so success on my part will not be easy.

    Henry & Joke
    Warner Robins, GA

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hello Henry & Joke,
      Hope you had a great visit over here and you will give the krentenbollen recipe a try. Maybe the recipe needs some tweaking because of the flour you use (most of the time American flour asks for a bit more water than our European) but Home baked and fresh can never be a bad thing!

      Groetjes uit Holland,

      Ed & Marieke

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  11. Jessica says:

    Thanks for yet another great recipe!
    The krentenbollen are in their final proof right now, and I can’t wait to taste them.
    I do have one question: in the ingredient list you talk about 270 GRAMS of milk, but later in the instructions you talk about ML. Is that right? Or should I be using ML the whole time??
    Thanks!

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hi Jessica,

      You are right, thank you for noticing. The 270 g is correct so it is best to stick to that. I already corrected it in the text. But as there is not that big a difference between 270 g and 270 ml of milk you can use both. Depending on what milk you use 100g milk will equal around 97 ml (because of milk solids) when you use water it makes practically no difference 100 ml is 100 g.

      Hope your raisin buns will be great!

      Marieke

  12. Karryn Persson says:

    Hi we have just returned back home to Sweden after spending a week in Holland for the Tulip Festival, we ate these buns everyday, so I have decided to try and bake them, will let you know how they turn out. In Holland we found that you could buy these buns in different sizes, we liked the very large ones. So I’m hoping that your recipe for 12 is the same as the large buns we bought back with us. best regards Karryn.

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hi Karryn,
      Hope you had a great time in our little country and the tulips were doing their best to enchant you. I do not know what size the buns you bought would have been exactly, but I am guessing you would come close if you make 8 bigger ones of about 150 grams each. I find the recipe works best using fresh yeast and the type of flour you use also makes a difference of course.
      If you use bread flour they will be denser, using a lighter (type 55 flour) works great, types like Italian 00 and Manitoba (if available) will also give very good results.

      Happy krentenbol baking!

      Marieke