Monday, May 12, 2014

Meergranenbroodjes

Bread plays an important role in Dutch food. Holland, or the Netherlands, is one of the largest bread consumers of Europe, purchasing about 120 lbs of this fantastic fare per year. Many a tourist, when stepping inside a Dutch bakery, grocery store or sandwich shop, is surprised by the large amount of bread varieties and toppings to choose from. But for a country where two out of three meals mainly consist of bread and bread toppings, the variety is not so much an option as a necessity. 

These two meals (usually breakfast and lunch, although some families will eat a warm lunch and consume their second bread meal at dinner time) will generally contain a variety of breads, with white and whole grain breads as the most common choices at the table. This is not by accident.....bread meals tend to consist of two servings: a slice of bread with a savory topping such as cheese or cold cuts is eaten first, the second serving usually consists of a sweet spread, and finishes the meal, so to say. Besides the standard sliced white or brown (i.e. whole wheat) loaf, a large selection of rolls, luxury breads and crispier options such as beschuit and knäckebröd is also available. 

The Dutch are well-known for their large variety of breads: all variations of wheat are represented, the whole gamut from white to whole wheat, rye, malt and sourdough. Ancient grains such as spelt and emmer have made a fabulous comeback. And not many countries have as many bread toppings as the Dutch do, ranging from sweet to savory and just about everything in between, which makes eating a bread meal interesting and tasty! Where else but in Holland can you put chocoladehagel, chocolate sprinkles, on your bread without anybody raising an eyebrow?!  

Beside white rolls and Dutch crunch, a popular roll is the multigrain roll, or the meergranenbroodjes. A favorite choice for weekend brunches, these rolls are usually eaten with savory toppings, such as cheese or ham. They are also a favorite for that other ubiquitous sandwich, the broodje gezond, the healthy sandwich. 

Meergranenbroodjes
2 tablespoons of barley malt syrup
1 ½ cup warm water
3 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup of bread flour
1 cup of whole wheat flour
1 cup  rye flour
½ cup barley flour
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons flax seed
2 tablespoons rolled oats
2 teaspoon salt

Topping
1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon rolled oats
2 tablespoons flax seed

Dissolve the two tablespoons of barley malt syrup in the warm water, and sprinkle the yeast on top to proof. While you wait, mix the different flours together with the seeds and the salt. When the yeast has proofed, stir it into the flour and mix until the dough comes together, then knead for a good five to six minutes to develop the gluten. Round the dough into a ball, rest in a greased bowl and cover. Allow to rise at room temperature until double its size, approximately 40 minutes.

Punch down the dough and roll back into a ball. Dust the counter with a little bit of flour and relax the dough, covered, for about ten minutes. In the meantime, put parchment paper or a silicone mat on a baking sheet, and mix the seeds for the topping. Place them in a shallow plate. Carefully roll the dough into a circle, about seven inches wide. Use a dough cutter or a sharp knife to divide the dough into 8 wedges, much like a pie. Brush the top of each wedge with a little bit of water, then dip the wet top into the seeds. Repeat with each wedge. Lay the rolls on the baking sheet, with enough space to expand. Cover and let rise for thirty minutes.

Heat the oven to 425F. Bake the rolls for 20 minutes or until they reach an internal temperature of 195F.

Makes 8 rolls.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Spotted!

Every now and then I spend some time seeing who visits the website of The Dutch Table, and how they found us. I love the fact that so many are interested in Dutch Food and so willing to write about it, cook it and share their stories. Most of all, I am grateful that you list the source! I am only too happy to return the favor.

The last couple of weeks, we had people visit The Dutch Table through the links posted on these websites: take some time to visit the blogs, forums and read people's stories. We are all connected through our wonderful Dutch food!


Now tell me, how amazing is that! Give these folks a round of applause, they know what good food is all about! :-)