Visiting The Dutch Countryside

Travelblog about The Netherlands | Exploring The Netherlands beyond the crowds

Jan-in-de-zak Recipe: A Traditional Dutch Dessert Cake From The Netherlands

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A photo of a traditional Dutch recipe: Jan-in-de-zak, or Jack-in-the-bag: dutch bread filled with raisins and rasberries & blueberries and vanilla ice cream on top
Are you looking for tasty Dutch bread recipes? Then this old fashioned Dutch bread, called Jan-in-de-zak, recipe will be perfect for you! (Photo by Rene Mesman)

One of the things you might not know about The Netherlands, or maybe you do: We like bread, a lot of it. And this practice has been the same for centuries. One of the eldest traditional dishes from The Netherlands we have is this Jan-in-de-zak recipe. It’s tasty, comforting and delicious: basically, everything that you could wish for.

History Jan-in-de-zak

Jan-in-de-zak was a dish that used to be eaten as breakfast, especially when many institutions all over Europe had their roots in the feudalism of the Middle Ages. These institutions in The Netherlands were abolished soon after the French invasion of The Netherlands in 1794 and 1795. Jan-in-de-zak is one of the ancient traditional Dutch dishes that we have in The Netherlands, and there is quite a bit of variation throughout the country. I will write and publish those Dutch bread recipes later on. Nowadays it’s either eaten as breakfast, lunch or dinner during special moments and as a Dutch dessert. I hope you will enjoy this simple but tasty Dutch bread dish.

Jan-in-de-zak (Jack-in-the-bag) Recipe


  • 250 g flour
  • 1⁄2 tsp salt
  • 2 dl milk
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 30 g fresh yeast
  • seeds from 1 vanilla pod
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 75 g raisins
  • 75 g currants
  • 75 g dried cranberries
  • 50 g candied ginger, diced
  • 50 g candied orange peel
  • diced 1 vanilla pod, emptied

serves 8 – 2 hours preparation – 2 hours to cook


1. Wash and drain the currants and raisins.

2. Sift the flour over a bowl and add the salt.

3. Warm up the milk with the vanilla seeds, sugar and cinnamon until lukewarm.

4. Pour 3 tablespoons of the warm milk in a cup, add the yeast and stir until it is dissolved.

5. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the milky yeast.

6. Add the egg and with a wooden spoon stir from the inside out until you have a nice dough.

7. Bit by bit, pour in the rest of the vanilla milk and give it a good stir.

8. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm spot for 1 hour.

9. Then knead the raisins, currants, ginger, cranberries and orange peel through the dough.

10. Put the dough in a clean, damp and floured cotton or linen bag (if you don’t have any, you could use a pillow case) and tie the top. Make sure there is enough space for the dough to rise and hang the bag in a warm spot for at least 1 hour.

11. Fill up a big pan with enough water to cover the whole bag and bring the water to the boil. Add the filled bag and boil it on low heat for about 11⁄2 hours until done.

12. Remove the Jack-in-the-bag from the water, peel off the bag and let it dry.

13. Cut the Jack-in-the-bag into slices and serve, still warm, with a dollop of vanilla cream and red fruit.

Tips: you could also make the Jack-in-the-bag ahead. In that case, fry the slices in butter in a frying pan on high heat. Again, serve with a dollop of whipped vanilla cream and red fruit.

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Or make the traditional Jack-in-the-bag: eat the slices still warm with treacle, butter and brown sugar or a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and leave out the ginger, cranberries, orange peel and fresh vanilla: these ingredients were really way too expensive!

A photo of a traditional Dutch recipe: Jan-in-de-zak, or Jack-in-the-bag: dutch bread filled with raisins and rasberries & blueberries on top
Photo by Rene Mesman

Handy tools to use for this recipe

The Netherlands is filled with interesting Dutch food. I hope you’ve liked this bread recipe from The Netherlands and enjoyed making it. This Jan-in-de-zak recipe is the ultimate Dutch comfort food. So, please sit down and enjoy it.

Don’t forget to share your photos of the dishes you’ve created with me on Instagram @visitingthedutchcountryside and at Facebook @visitingthedutchcountryside so I can share your works of art.

Share this traditional Dutch bread recipe with your friends, or family members, who you think will love this Jan-in-de-zak recipe!


A photo of the cover of the cookbook The Dutch Kitchen: written by Claartje Lindhout

This recipe comes out of the Dutch cookbook: The Dutch Kitchen, a fantastic book that exists out of twelve Dutch food menus: for every Dutch province one. It is filled with traditional, regional Dutch foods and written by Claartje Lindhout. It was published by Brecht and costs around 13,99 euros.

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