Old-fashioned Melk-kos

I see there are several posts on melk-kos doing the rounds at the moment – mostly for the butter and flour dough version.  Here’s my family’s version, re-posted from July last year, for those who would like to try the other method!

Melk-kos (literally, ‘milk-food’) is as South African as braai-vleis, bobotie and boerewors!  To me (and my kids) it’s the ultimate winter comfort food!

It’s warm, sweet, stodgy, cinnamony and just delicious – trust me on this one! A bowl of melk-kos on a cold wintery afternoon, while sitting in front of a fire, is the perfect comfort food, very satisfying.  Smile

This is one of those vintage recipes which my mother taught me to make – her mother used to make it when my mom was a little a girl during the Depression years. My mother grew up on a farm near Potchefstroom; her father grew wheat, and, of course, they had cows for milk. Melk-kos makes use of ingredients that would be on hand on a farm in that area even when times were hard – flour and milk. Melk-kos was one of my father’s favourite foods – he always asked my mom to make it on cold Saturdays on the farm in Rhodesia when I was a child; I learnt to make it as my mom’s assistant.

Making melk-kos looks complicated, but it’s easy enough when you know how, so here’s my family recipe, step by step:

Old Fashioned Melk-kos

1/2 cup of flour

A little salt

Cold water

3 cups of milk

Cinnamon and sugar to serve


  • Place the flour in a bowl, mix in the salt and add enough water to make a workable dough.
  • Tip the dough out onto a floured surface (I usually work on a bread board) and knead it slightly to combine – no need for more, it’s not a bread dough, you just want to be able to roll it out.
  • Cut the dough in half, set one half aside and roll out the other half until it is a paper-thin rectangle (roughly).  Use plenty of flour to prevent sticking.




  • Cut the rectangle into strips about 5 or 6 cms wide.
  • Pile the strips up on top of each other, with plenty of flour between them.  



  • Now cut across the pile with a very sharp knife to form thin little strips – try to almost ‘shave’ the dough. 
  • Place them in a bowl and add several more heaped tablespoons of flour. Work the flour through the strips so that they are separated, adding as much flour as you feel it needs.
  • Repeat the process with the other piece of dough. You should have a bowlful of floured strips of dough when you are finished.



  • Measure 3 cups of milk (and it may as well be full-cream, people, this is NOT a diet recipe Laughing) into a large pot, and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat.
  • Now sprinkle the strips of dough and the extra flour into the boiling milk, stirring as you do so.
  • Allow to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until it is thick and cooked (do a taste test), stir often to prevent it from sticking and burning.


Dish up into bowls, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon (or let each person do their own!); it makes enough for 4 generous bowls. I think this could also be served as a dessert, then it would be enough for 6, but it must be served immediately.

And yes, I have made this when camping!!!!!!  Laughing

Do let me know if you try it!


19 responses to “Old-fashioned Melk-kos

  1. Pingback: A Call to remember… | Rolbos ©

  2. Thank-you, this is the way my mom used to make it but I never found the recipe among her stuff. I have tried to find this method before but only found the “other” way. Never thought to look in the camping food sites… I know it is summer but I am making it now!


  3. So interesting. Something to try for a cold winters day in France!!!


  4. Thank you so much for sharing this Zabs, Im definitely going to try it now that I have made the frummeltjie one…..;) Have a great weekend. Hugs xxx


  5. pinkpolkadotfood

    I just looove melkkos,but I have never tried this method! Will definitely give try it!


  6. I still have to try this!


  7. Had never heard of this but even though we´re sitting here melting from the heat, I´m craving them! As an aside, I worked as a Consultant for one of the major UK dairy companies, and learned a lot about milk and cheese…most of it pretty interesting I have to say! You and Mandy are both right about the small difference in fat between full cream milk and semi skimmed…it´s minimal, and for the amount that most people consume daily, it´s not going to do you any harm (unless you have to be on a seriously low fat diet for health reasons). And yes, it hasd less “done to it”.


  8. I really am going to have a go at this Melk Kos! Sounds interesting. Where does this dish originate from? I understand that it’s a classic but would love to know where it originated, France? Holland? xxx jan


  9. Recipes from our moms and granny’s are the BEST! Never seen melk-kos made this way before – it has been added to the “have to try” recipes.
    Oh and I only buy fresh full cream milk – it only contains about 1.5% more fat than low fat and I think less is done to it too. I don’t know, I just like fresh full cream. 😀
    Have a happy day.
    🙂 Mandy


    • I also love vintage recipes, especially one’s that connect me to past generations of family women. I fully agree with you on the milk, I never buy 2% or fat-free, nasty thin stuff. I read somewhere that ‘full-cream’ is actually only 3.5% cream, don’t know how true it is, but real full cream should have cream on top, right? 🙂 Hope you try the recipe!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s