Along the way

With color, please: the art of baking in Indonesia

A report by Hans-Herbert Dörfner, an expert with the Senior Experts Service (SES) in the Foundation of German Industry for International Cooperation, Bonn, who was seconded by the SES to a vocational college in Cibadak/Sukabumi on the Island of Java (Indonesia) to train indigenous specialist teachers there in the manufacture of European breads and baked products.

When talking about Indonesia and the consumption habits existing there, one immediately discovers that the latter differ very greatly from the customary European diet. This is due firstly to the fact that the country extends across a width of 5,120 km in an east-west direction and its population has various different religious beliefs (Muslims 87%, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and Animists). Another special feature is the fact that the country’s territory is spread across 17,508 islands, of which approx. 6,000 are inhabited. Thus there are sometimes very individual specific consumption habits on the various islands. The fact that the government of this island sovereign state is interested in European baked goods has two main reasons:
The first of these is the indigenous population’s very unbalanced diet, which is very largely rice-based. Rice is eaten at practically every mealtime. Even breakfast very often consists of rice dishes with various accompaniments which – in a country where pepper and other exotic spices grow – sometimes contains very hot seasoning. Bread, if it is available at all, mostly exists as toast-bread. Secondly, approx. 10 million tourists/year visit the Indonesian islands. Many are from Europe and love the Indonesian ambience, but very often miss their German/European bread. Thus there is a series of reasons for adding European baked goods to enrich the Indonesian menu.
The time spent on the Island of Java also offered an opportunity to visit a bakery, to observe the production of indigenous baked goods and confectionery, and to learn about new, unusual recipe ideas.
Basically, Indonesians love soft, very sweet baked products with no crust, and confectionery products which, if possible, is also colorfully decorated. And a European observer will encounter real surprises in the combination of ingredients and in the flavor.

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