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Roti Gambang (Betawi Bread with Cinnamon Flavor)

Posting Date: 12/05/19

Roti Gambang (Betawi Bread with Cinnamon Flavor)

Roti Gambang (Betawi Bread with Cinnamon Flavor) originated in Betawi (now called Jakarta) and has Dutch influence. Roti means bread and Gambang is a name of one of musical instruments from Betawi. Roti Gambang tastes slightly sweet with cinnamon flavor and has sesame seeds on top. The bread is denser than the regular bread and has consistency almost similar to American biscuit, i.e. it is crumbly rather than fluffy. When I was growing up, my mom used to buy it from the street vendors on a bicycle who came to the neighborhood every morning. The vendors sold other breads in addition to Roti Gambang. The bread would be my breakfast. Growing up, I ate roti gambang as is. However, I think it tastes even better if you cut it lenghtwise and spread butter, jam, or cream cheese on each half. I like cream cheese the best because it compliments the cinnamon flavor on the bread. Not only the bread tastes good, it is also easy to make. You won't even need a mixer to mix the ingredients. All you need is your hands to mix the ingredients.

The recipe makes 14 breads.


  • 250 g palm sugar. You can find palm sugar in Asian stores. Some big local grocery stores sell it nowadays in the sugar aisle.
  • 175 ml water
  • 375 g all purpose flour
  • 125 g plain bread crumbs
  • 25 g powder milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 100 g unsalted butter, melted
  • vegetable oil to brush parchment paper
  • For brushing top of dough: 3 tablespoons water
  • 2-3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • Optional: jam
  • Optional: butter
  • Optional: cream cheese


  1. Place palm sugar and 175 ml water into a pot. Heat the pot over medium high heat. If your palm sugar comes in a big chunk, you may want to break it once it has softened during cooking so that it can dissolve easily and faster. My palm sugar is in powder form, so all I need to do is to stir it from time to time to dissolve it during cooking. Once the sugar has been dissolved, remove the pot from the heat and set it aside to cool down.
  2. Place all purpose flour, bread crumbs, powder milk, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon powder into a bowl. Stir to combine. Once the palm sugar mixture has cooled down, add palm sugar into the flour mixture. Add vanilla extract into it. Using your hands, mix the ingredients. Add egg yolks and melted butter. Mix the ingredients using your hands. Knead the dough for about 10 min. Shape the dough into a ball and place it back in the bowl. Cover the bowl with kitchen towel. Set it aside to rest for 30 min.
  3. Preheat the oven to 310 deg F.
  4. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Brush parchment paper with a little bit of vegetable oil.
  5. Divide the dough into equal pieces of 75 g of dough each. Shape each piece into a ball. Place the ball in between the palms of your hand, rub the ball against your palms, and shape it to become an oval log. Repeat with the remaining balls.
  6. Place the logs on the baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Make sure you leave at least 2" space between the logs because they will expand during baking. Brush the top of the log with water. Sprinkle the top with sesame seeds. Bake on the middle rack of a preheated oven for 25 min. Remove baking sheet from the oven once done. Remove the breads and place them on a cooling rack.
  7. Once the breads have cooled down, serve them with tea or coffee. You can eat it as is or slice it in half and spread butter, jam, or cream cheese on each half. If you have left over, put them in a ziploc bag. They can last for 2-3 days.

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