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Ryebread – Cutting it too thin?

In Danish, Dutch, Eats, Swedish on September 25, 2010 at 11:23 am

I tend to be easily influenced by the people around me, that means new habits rub off quickly and without conscious awareness. Often, I don’t realize it until I receive comments like: ‘do you always eat your sandwiches open?’ - the Hawaiian wwoofer asked as he passed me the top half of a sliced-open crusty bun to complete my sandwich.


Yeah, I’ve picked up a new habit of eating dense ryebreads while living in Copenhagen for 5 months earlier this year. Rye is a cereal grain that is higher in fibre, darker in colour and stronger in flavour than wheat. It is nutritionally better than its wheat counterparts, keeping one full for longer (not to mention, more sensory satisfaction) due to its high soluble fibre content. However, because of its heat-stable amylases that break down the weak gluten content, rise of the dough is greatly inhibited, and this is partially mitigated by the use of sourdough starters to inactivate the rye amylases by creating an acidic environment. That of course, results in a sour and dense-but-not-so-dense-as-it-would-otherwise-have-been product, that is sliced thinly because of its density but threatens to crumble into ruins if you try to sandwich more than a slice of cheese between it.


And then the habit of snacking on crisp rye bread (a long-shelf-life dried cracker-like bread) caught on, and I grew to love it as an alternative base for my open sandwiches–2 meals of rugbrød a day is enough.

And during my recent backpacking travels through N.eastern Europe, I fell in love with the dense yet soft wheat-rye breads of Czech Republic and Poland. These breads are soft enough to be made into typical sandwiches (if you wish to), but dense enough to be sliced very thinly (<1cm) without being able to see your dining partner through it.

While I once used to marvel at the thinness of these breads after being used to the thick fluffy slices all my life, the novelty has mostly worn out over the past year….

UNTIL I SAW THIS:
With a thickness / thinness of <4mm, the Brabants roggebrood leaves me confused whether to eat 2 slices or 6 for breakfast. With 15 slices in a loaf for 85 euro cents, a slice works out to about 25 calories and <6 cents each. I ate 2 slices with Camembert cheese (another habit I picked up from my recent travels), and I’m satisfied for now. For Now. I guess it’s a great way to fool the brain that is used to portion control by the number of slices.

I had thought the Danish ones were thin enough at about 1cm thickness…..why cut this so thin then?
(1) obsession with low carb diet?
(2) to complement the delicatessen ingredients popular in the south without engulfing them in fluff?
(3) value for money? 7 breakfasts for 85 cents?
(4) so lunch takes up less space in the bag?

Why? Why? Why? I wanted an answer,… so I asked a Dutch man. His reply was:
Because the Dutch don’t like the taste of ryebread.” LOL.

Orange Overload!

In Dutch, Eats on May 5, 2010 at 11:13 am

It was great to be back in NL, even better that it was QUEEN’S DAY and SPRING! The Dutch sure are one crazy bunch of party-ers with their wild spirit of wacky orange party antics! With the biggest annual Dutch celebration of the Queen’s (mother’s) birthday, orange is the colour to be in and partying is the central activity on the agenda. But despite being one of the most creative and comedic bunch of people I’ve ever met (when it involves partying or funny random discussions), they aren’t exactly the most adventurous when it comes to food (or as the saying goes: Wat de boer niet kent dat eet hij niet / what the farmer does not know, he does not eat LOL)…..but WAIT, don’t go yet, I’ve still got some treats coming up for you!

Although I once complained loads about the monotony of breakfasting on bread with excessively sweet toppings, lunching on the same bread with ham and gouda cheese (one cheese, one ham to be specific. unexplainable.), dinner on potato mashes (stamppot)… and snacking on cakes and cookies of every shape and size of the same flavours (butter or speculaas)…..experiencing Dutch again after being away for 3 months in Copenhagen was surprisingly comforting. Now, ontbijtkoek (spiced breakfast cake) and broodje hagelslag (bread with chocolate sprinkles) possesses a new charm for me- a feeling of comfort and familiarity that tugs at the heart the way ice-cream sandwiches and kaya toast does for homesick Singaporeans. That’s when I realized I’ve been such a food snob* to judge the Dutch for what is simply Culture.

*’anyone who practises overt social or cultural bias… who insist too loudly on a scale of values’ -Alain de Botton
hagelslag | stroopwafel |ontbijtkoek | fluffybread | bischuit | gouda cheese | bapao | littleparties | bigparties | soppymusic | dutchbarstandards | orangefever | multitaskingcyclists | dutchifiedindonesianess | coolbunchofwagbuddies… miss them alllll!:)

If you’re not in the Netherlands and don’t have access to a whole supermarket shelf of hagelslag varieties, you’ve gotta grab some plain ol’ chocolate sprinkles from your baking department and try this:

Generously topped on buttered fluffy bread. Delicious!

PS: I’ve now got an ample supply of ontbijtkoek with me. Any suggestions on NEW ways of eating it are most welcome! :) Maybe brunost. hahaha…. we’ll see! :D

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