Kochi’s Dutch Roots Lead to a Mysterious Loaf

Is the famous Breudher bread in Kochi a bread or a cake? Ask the Dutch

LF Team

A visit to Kerala is incomplete without a visit to Fort Kochi. A potpourri of cultures, Fort Kochi has a quaint charm, in part thanks to the mixing of cultures that centuries of colonisation by first the Portuguese, then the Dutch and later the British. One such remnant is the Dutch Breudher bread available at Quality Bakery here. Tasting like a cake but textured like a bread, Breudher beckons a gastronomical dilemma: should we call it a bread or a cake? Well, it is both a bread and a cake.


Brown in colour like a plum cake, it looks like a loaf of bread and comes at size and weight larger than the ordinary bread. “Unlike the normal bread which is 400 gms, Breudher weighs 1 kg,” says Biju of Quality Bakery. Priced at Rs 100, candied orange peel and dried plums go into the making of Breudher. This sweet bread is a part of the cuisine of Anglo-Indians in Fort Kochi who trace their roots back to Dutch ancestry.


Ananya Rajoo who writes about the bread and its ancestry in her popular blog Route Cochin, says that Breudher is a breakfast cake eaten on special occasions, especially on Christmas mornings. She traces its culinary origins to 1663 when the Dutch colonised this part of the country. “The cuisine of the coloniser and the colonised intermingled, often creating culinary wonders which were an interesting synthesis of distinct cooking styles and elements,” she writes in her blog.


Breudher boasts of a distinct flavour and aroma. Made with maida, sugar, eggs, butter, yeast and raisins much like a cake, the making of it is more elaborate. The flour is first kneaded with yeast to make the dough which is then slapped for hours to make it buttery smooth. It is then poured into a special pan and sprinkled with a generous amount of dried plums or raisins before being baked. The mixture is also kept in the sun before baking, as it is believed that it helps the dough to rise better, making it softer.


While Quality Bakery is very popular for the sweet Breudher, our quest for this special bread directed us to another bakery, Elite Bakery that makes a spicy variant of the bread where plums and raisins are replaced by masalas. While Breudher is certainly an interesting bread, you may not find a Breudher bread in Dutch cuisine now. According to Ananya, ‘Ontbijtkoek,’ literally translated as ‘breakfast cake’ comes close to it, but it’s not the same.

 Pictures Courtesy: Routecochin.com



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