Nestled in Antwerp’s zigzagging streets of old and new is a warm little patisserie called Konditori. The baker, Steve van Huygevoort and his wife Angelique Smet, bring their worldly baking knowledge to the modern shopfront, providing a surprising assortment of original breads and pastries. Among them is rogge verdomme, an ancient Belgian bread, which has undergone a charming transformation.
Originating in the heart of Antwerp, rogge verdomme translates to ‘rye for the damned’. In the middle ages, a famous Dutch grain mill owner gifted the Het Steen castle (a prison between 1303–1827) prisoners and local poverty-stricken families loaves made from the leftover grains. A berry or raisin would be added to the bread to make it more edible. Piots are a modern, miniature version of this bread and are popular in Antwerp for breakfast with a coffee or for children as an after-school treat.
Piots served on an Andrei Davidoff plate courtesy of Craft Victoria. Photo by Beth Wilkinson for Lindsay.
500 g plain flour
225 g milk
35 g yeast
3 egg yolks
50 g sugar
10 g salt
80 g raisins
Serves: 20 / Skill level: Easy / Vegetarian
1. In a bowl, combine flour, milk, yeast, egg yolks, sugar and salt.
2. On a dusted surface, knead the mixture until you have a smooth dough. Leave to rest for 5 minutes.
3. Gradually knead raisins into the dough.
4. Leave the dough to rest in a cool place for a further 35 minutes.
5. Once the dough has risen, push the air out and divide into little balls (piots) weighing approximately 50 grams each. Let the piots set under a plastic sheet or clean towel 60 minutes.
6. Preheat the oven to 230° C (450° F). Lightly dust the piots with flour and bake for 8 minutes. They should be slightly golden and soft. Allow to cool before eating.