Friday, October 29, 2010

Gember bolus / Ginger buns


Nice and sweet with a little bite!

“The making of” started with a readers question; since I lived in the Netherlands, would I have a recipe of the Jewish ginger rolls that are served in some tearooms in Amsterdam?

Eh… ginger bolus/rolls? Jewish? Amsterdam? Well Jewish and Amsterdam sound familiar but I had to admit I never had any ginger buns… I didn’t even know they exist! Oops!
So I searched and tried and mailed some sort of guideline back and decided to try myself since the boys were going to stay with my parents for a while and my dad happens to love anything ginger.

So we need a sweet bread dough recipe, a ginger syrup to go on top for the shine and sticky extra flavour, and of course candied ginger to fold inside.

Jewish Ginger buns:
500 gr ap flour
1.1/4 ts salt
1.1/2 ts yeast
300 gr water or 320 gr milk (I like milk!)
75 gr butter
optional but nice: zest of one lemon or lemon extract

200 gr candied ginger* 
4 el ginger syrup *
2 el sugar

4 el water
4 el sugar
2 el ginger syrup
4 el butter

For rolling: (optional, I didn’t)
4 el sugar
1 tl cinnamon

Mix a straight forward dough, combine ingredients, knead, either by hand or stand mixer! We are looking for a slightly slacker white bread dough, malleable and windowpane test-proof. You might want to play with the liquid here, but I think the 300 water / 320 milk should do the trick for you as well.
The first rise is a fairly short one, approx. 45 minutes. It doesn't necessarily need to double, half way there is fine. Now, proceed to divide the dough in pieces of equal weight. I like to have pieces of 40 to 50 gram each which will give you around 14-16 pieces of dough.

For the filling:
I used half ginger jam, half slivered ginger on syrup, because I had it on hand and it was the fastest thing to do.
Otherwise: make a nice puree out of the crystallized ginger together with a little sugar and some ginger syrup using either a food processor or a hand held blender.

Basically a sugar syrup with the addition of a little ginger syrup and some butter; combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a soft boil. Leave to boil for a couple of minutes and cool.

Shaping your dough into a bun follows the same principle as you would make cinnamon rolls. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces, roll each in a rectangle and place some filling lengthwise in the middle. Now roll up from the long side and pinch to seal.
Shape into a bun by spiraling the dough rope as a snail shell. Brush with syrup and leave to rise for 30-45 minutes, again not much visual rise here.

Preheat oven to 180 C and bake off for 15 minutes or until they are golden brown. These buns are best when they are just about done in the middle, trust me on this and make sure not to over bake!
Set them out to cool on a rack and give them another syrup brushing while hot.
Enjoy with tea!

* The ginger syrup used is one we can buy bottled here. It is a by product of candied or preserved ginger. Preserved ginger here is usually found in jars in marble sized balls. Want to make your own? Fellow Babe Cookie Baker Lynn has a recipe which will give you the candied ginger AND the syrup!

My parents loved these! And I am happy to see Tim liked the recipe as well, if you would like to see his version please go here. His idea of folding the ginger puree into the bun is a quick and less trouble some way of doing it.

I made a couple of small ones and couldn’t resist to make one biggie:



  1. Komt dat even goed uit!! Was net op zoek naar `iets` met gember om mijn moeder te verrassen op haar verjaardag. Bedankt voor het recept!!
    Ennu haha leuk het vorige verhaal. Ik zag het al helemaal voor me.:-))

  2. These look delicious. Next time I make these I'm planning to use my caramelised ginger and add some quince. I'll keep you posted!


  3. These sound amazing. I love candied ginger. (We get dried candied ginger slices at one of our vegetable stores; but I'm going to Lynn's now to find out how to candy it myself.)

  4. You've been busy! Looking good these buns,love the coil shape!

  5. i love ginger in my dessert, but have never tried it on breads. This sounds good!

  6. Looks delicious! Shall add this to the "must bake" file!

  7. love the taste of ginger! I really hope I can talk my husband into making this for me.....I don't think it will be too difficult after showing him your directions! Thank you for sharing~


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