Freshly baked bread, made from flour, water and salt. That's all. For the best sourdough bread in the Netherlands, you don't have to go far. Tilburg's own Pig & Rye sells the best sourdough bread in the Netherlands. At the first Dutch sourdough tasting, a seven-member jury judged the bread from 31 bakers and it turns out: the best bread is made in Tilburg!
Culinary author Hilary Akers was a member of the jury of the competition and wrote her findings about the sourdough tasting in the Financieel Dagblad. After a description of the competition (in restaurant Vermeer in Amsterdam) and an explanation of how to taste, she gives the result of the best breads in four categories: wheat, spelt, rye and experimental. Tilburgs Pig & Rye ranks first in the wheat bread category. And according to Hilary, anyone who thinks of heavy, serious slices of sourdough bread is wrong. She even praises it for its 'zest for life under a crispy crust'.
And this is sourdough bread
Hilary also gives a detailed explanation of what sourdough bread exactly is. And for the laymen among us, this is exactly it: "Flour, water and salt, that's all you need to bake a loaf of bread. Come on, it needs a raising agent, doesn't it? That's right, it shouldn't be missing. But that's why you don't need to add yeast. There is an alternative that only takes a little more time. Mix flour with water, stir in some extra water and flour once a day for five days, and that's it: on day five there's a hyperactive, bubbling mass on your counter. That's your raising agent. Bakers call it starter's dough or mother's dough. And if you bake a loaf of bread with it, you have sourdough bread."
The rise of sourdough bakers
According to Hilary there are sourdough bakers all over the country and the slow rising bread makes the baker's profession attractive again. The same goes for Luc Martin from Pig & Rye. Luc started the Tilburg Sourdough bakery a few years ago as a hobby baker and cook (he is an ICT professional). In 2017 he switched from his successful bakery to the perhaps even more successful Pig & Rye lunchroom. Here he does not only make his bread. In the lunchroom he serves the fresh bread with Burgundian homemade fillings such as pastrami, bacon or pulled pork. Want to know more about Pig & Rye? Check out this article as well.