In Fort Kochi, Taste The Chronicles Of A Dutch-Origin Loaf, The Breudher Bread

by Tejashee Kashyap
In Fort Kochi, Taste The Chronicles Of A Dutch-Origin Loaf, The Breudher Bread

When the Dutch arrived in Kochi in the early 17th century, they established their colonial power for more than a century. They brought in new elements in cuisines that led to interesting and distinct cooking styles.  And in the lanes of Fort Kochi, a reminder of these culinary exchanges is the story of sweet, buttery bread, called Breudher (also spelt as, Bruder) bread, thanks to a few veteran bakers who went above and beyond to preserve the recipe.

Tantalising Tales Of Breudher

Breudher Bread
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

A culinary memoir of the opulent colonial past, Breudher is still very much present and a favourite of the Kochi people.  The bread has a distinct flavour and a tantalising aroma. The Anglo-Indians even call it, the Dutch Cake. Mostly because the texture seems more like bread whereas the flavour is more like cake. You can draw a resemblance to the Kerala plum cake. It is sort of a cross between a regular loaf of bread and plum cake. Ingredients like maida, sugar, eggs, butter or ghee, yeast and raisins go into its making.

Like the Anglo-Indians of Fort Kochi, many Eurasian communities still have Breudher in their cuisine and part of their daily eating habits.  However, the name and the recipe vary within these communities.  Some regions in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Malaysia still have this Dutch-origin loaf in high demand.

The Dutch have many breakfast cakes and bread but it is difficult to find something exactly like Breudher. But with many Anglo-Indians moving out from Fort Kochi and the popular foods overshadowing the traditional dishes, Breudher is now a rarity in this colonial town. It has become a baking tradition continued by a few old bakeries and catering to a dwindling customer base.

Also Read: Go Beyond Good Food At These 6 Art Gallery Cafes In Kochi

In Search Of Breudher In Kochi

I was introduced to this sweet, buttery bread by Chef Shinto Varghese of Eighth Bastian, a boutique hotel in Fort Kochi. Their breakfast menu still offers Breudher by sourcing the bread directly from the handful of old bakeries left. There are even ways of enhancing its taste. A salty-sweet mix of taste hits your taste buds when you eat it with butter. It is also said that the local bakeries even suggest having it with mutton korma!

Breudher Bread
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

However, the few vintage bakeries do not disclose the bread’s recipe yet it remains a popular Christmas dessert as well. In addition, there are a few Anglo-Indian families who prepare Breudher for their festive dinners. Each family has a unique recipe, ranging from butter to chingan bananas.

Kochi has a rich culinary history with many dishes like Breudher. Over the years, a good number of such dishes have found their assimilation into the mainstream food culture. However, Breudher is neither a part of popular cuisine nor a bygone sweet dish. It is still made in small numbers but is not widely available or consumed in Kochi.

Having lived in this heritage city for a good number of years, the old bakeries know things fade away with time and feel that the same can happen with Breudher too. They remain quite sceptical about its future. But, however improbable it might seem many old-world snacks are now making a comeback to the mainstream food scene. Only time can tell if there is a chance of Breudher enjoying a revival in Kochi!

So, the next time you’re in Kochi, make sure you get your share of Breudher bread.

Cover image credits: Wikimedia Commons