World Cup Bread–Spain vs Netherlands

Six loaves of Tijgerbrood (Tiger Bread) or Dutch Crunch

Mixed: 10:30 am

Molded: 11:50 am

Baked: 12:30 pm

Gave to Mark, Michele and family, two Bodnars and two Shannons

I was definitely a good sharer this day–and if I’d known how good this Dutch bread would be, hmmmm, I might have sided with the stingier me. Horray for innocence!

Okay, there were four teams in the semi-finals of the World Cup. Uruguay, and I posted about that country’s bread choices just yesterday;¬†Germany, and I really did make a German sourdough rye, but it was so awful to look at that I kept my camera hidden until it was eaten; the Netherlands, and you’ll hear more about their bread in a moment; and Spain.

Spain. We raced home from church to catch most of the final today, and in the past days I dedicated quite a bit of time trying to find a Spanish bread to fiddle with. But the more I looked, the more I realized that the Spanish really are much better when it comes to rice (paella!), and red wine, and Valencia oranges. In one bread book it says that the pan cateto looks like a “squashy cottage loaf,” that the pan gallego is a “rather misshapen round,” and that the ensaimadas look like “little Moorish turbans.” I was not inspired. I was not in the mood to bake little Moorish turbans.

On the other hand, I had quite a good time making a Dutch favorite: tiger bread. Just the name made me curious, and the more I hunted down recipes the more I realized what a really large fan base there is of this Dutch Crunch. People will travel miles for a good loaf, and many will eat this bread every week, for their whole lives.

And indeed, it was delicious! I followed this recipe to the letter and the bread came out beautiful and with no snafus. We shared the six small loaves between 14 people and believe me, there wasn’t one tiny crumb to spare.

So, with Spain winning the world cup, I’m wondering what the regional foodstuffs might tell us about their success.

  • 4th place–Uruguay. The faina deserved 32nd place from the 32 teams, but the sweet anise bread was amazing. HOWEVER, it did have a 1/2 cup of butter in it–not an everyday training bread for the troops.
  • 3rd place–Germany. German sourdough rye can fuel you for a long while, and not kill you with an overdose of fatty stuff… But, it’s kinda ugly.
  • 2nd place–Tijgerbrood. The name is inspiring, and the bread is sooo good. But, maybe the Dutch ate just a few too many slices Sunday morn before the match? I would have.
  • 1st place–Spain. They prefer rice.

Okay, you got me. I don’t know what any of it means. But I did enjoy the weeks of play and especially rooting on those teams who played hard, and creatively, ¬†and clean… Now it’s time for us to call the cable company and remove the television from our lives. I’m looking forward to four years of quiet until 2014 when I’ll find myself baking an international line-up once again.

Predictions anyone?


Rhode Island Play-by-Play

Two loaves of French bread
Mixed: 9:45 am
Molded: 11:30 am
Baked: 12:15
Gave to: the neighbors down the road who sell eggs

We’re renting a house this week in Rhode Island as we explore New England. It’s a two-pronged adventure. Travel=new experiences, relaxation and fun. New England=many fine colleges for my son who is already set to fly the coop, and fly far.

It’s hot. It’s humid. And there are no measuring cups or spoons in this rental house.
To start the play-by-play, I first have to tell you that this house

is not air-conditioned. Sooooo hot. Like a baker’s proof box.
I woke, still drowsy, but was rousted by an eager John Ronan who wanted to do anything but sleep. I came down the stairs, stairs that are wooden and so noisy that it sounds as if gun shots explode from each of them. I dressed. I cooked three very brown eggs that we bought from the house up the road

(we bought a full dozen and four of the 12 were green. I was so happy!) We turned on World Cup soccer and I started to mix.

I had to improvise. Guessing on the amounts, I fiddled with the water, added more flour, worried that I added too much salt, and had to knead on the glass cafe table. But it all came together nicely; it looked like bread dough!
Then John Ronan got stung by an angry yellow jacket. Poor little fellow. We tended to him and I forgot all about the dough, and meanwhile, South Africa scored a couple of goals against France. Can’t say I was too upset about that, even though I was in the middle of making two loaves of French bread.
The little one fell asleep

and I got back to baking. I molded the loaves, admiring the super speed of the yeast in this climate, and fiddled with the oven. The oven actually worked!

Baked. Finished watching the games and right now I’m awaiting the return of my two big kids to hear of their giving adventure. (I normally would have set off on my own to give away the bread, but I felt I needed to monitor the little one to make sure he wasn’t allergic to the sting…)

Here they are!

Mom: “So, tell me how the giving went.”
Andrew: “Fine.”
Madeleine: “We ate it ourselves…”
Mom: “No, really.”
Andrew then sang this (stupid, sorry for the naughty word) song he made up that goes like this, “lol, oh, lol. lol, lol, lol, lol…”
Mad: “The giving went like a roller coaster. We gave the egg people bread; she was nice. I was terrified out of my wits; it was embarrassing to give to a total stranger.”
Then, both my kids started quoting Shakespeare… “to take the bread or not to take the bread. Tis nobler in the mind to suffer…”
Andrew: “Those people might think we poisoned the bread.”
Madeleine: “She offered us more eggs.”
They then agreed that they felt relieved to have been done with that assignment. Reluctant givers, but givers all the same.

John Ronan is still sleeping off his sting. And I’m off to eat a slice of bread and cheese and watch yet another few matches of World Cup soccer.

I like Rhode Island. I’ve seen more mushrooms here than I ever dreamed existed

and I made the acquaintance of two very handsome frogs…

and a beautiful luna moth…

With all these wonders, who needs measuring cups?!