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Tuesday, April 28th, 2009
The title of today’s entry says in Dutch: “Inventing Stroopwafels”.
What do you when you are a computer engineer and you want to set up a stroopwafel business and the nearest stroopwafel baker is about 10,000km far away.
Well fortunately there is the Internet nowadays. I have been googling about stroopwafels for the past 2 months and there is some information here and there that gives some hints about how to make stroopwafels.
There are thousands of questions…
- How to make the dough
- What ingredients to use
- How to make the stroop
- How to bake the stroopwafels
- How much dough to use per stroopwafel
- How to keep the dough
- What waffle maker to use
The list goes on and on and on. You can read a little bit here and there about making stroopwafels, but the information is mainly restricted to home baking. The furhter we get the more questions we got. One very useful tool is Youtube.
The most useful youtube video we found was by the company SETAH, which is the most established stroopwafel equipment manufacturer in the Netherlands. It shows a demonstration of how to bake stroopwafels for commercial use.Furthermore, I found some other youtube videos that show how stroopwafels are baked on the markets in the Netherlands and one useful video by Gaufres D”or (Golden Waffle), which is a stroopwafel franchise business in France.\n\nStroopwafels on the market in Delft\n
Watching the above video, I can”t help being amazed how the waffle just falls apart. There is no need to use a knife to separate the waffle. I really wonder how she does it… It is all in the recipe of course\n\nStroopwafels in France
So I have been analyzing and scrutinizing these videos to get the information I need. It is especially interesting to see how the stroopwafels are cut apart or even just fall apart, without the need to slit them. It must be the recipe…\n
\nWell of course, being a computer engineer and watching some you tube videos, might not make you a professional stroopwafel baker. So, I googled around to see if I could get some further assistance. I found the web site of de stroopwafel bakker Piet Kluitmans. What struck me about his website, was his adventure about how he helped a stroopwafel baker in Egypt. So, I just wrote an email to Piet and asked him for advice. I promised him, that I can not promise him anything in return, but Piet was more than helpful and now provides us with all the who, what and hows about stroopwafels.\n\nAnother big help is a friend of mine Fausto Sivelli, who runs a bakery here in Kobe. Fausto offered me access to his kitchen, so we can play around with different recipes and perfect our stroopwafel.’
Monday, April 27th, 2009
Butter… Up to now, I never thought much about butter, other than spreading it on my bread in the morning and using it for my cooking. Now I start baking stroopwafels, I realize how expensive butter is in Japan.
Butter is a delicious solid fat churned from milk. It’s used in baking, frying, and as a spread on toast and muffins. Recipes that call for butter in most better cookbooks are referring to unsalted butter = sweet cream butter = sweet butter. Salted butter doesn’t spoil as readily (the salt serves as a preservative).
When you buy butter in the supermarket in Japan, the price is ¥370 per 200gr. I still remember the days, that I bought butter in the Netherlands for about ¥150 for 250gr. I always wonder why the Japanese decided to put only 200gr. instead of 250gr. Perhaps to make it look cheaper.\r\n\r\nIt turns out that 60% to 70% of our stroopwafel price is the price of butter, so I started to analyze why the price of butter is so extremely high here in Japan. I called my sister and she confirmed that butter in the Netherlands is still €120 per 250gr, which is ¥160. The price almost didn”t change in 25 years.\r\n
So, I thought, it would be a good idea to import the butter. I checked out the import duties and found some info on the Japan customs website. I got quite a shock…
I found the following entry:
04.05 Butter and other fats and oils derived from milk; dairy spreads 0405.10 Butter Of a fat content, by weight, not exceeding 85% (35% + 1,159 yen/kg)
So, for each kilo, that is imported, there is an additional tarrif of ¥1,159/kg. No wonder butter is so outrageously expensive here in Japan. If the fat contents is higher than 85%, the tarrif goes up to ¥1,363/kg.
I thought, well there must be a way around that? Perhaps importing the dough directly from the Netherlands. I checked and checked, and checked, but any food product imported is taxed according to milk fat content at the same rate or more.
The only way to get around it would be to import it as a lubricant for machinery (no tax), or as a waste product for animal fodder (no tax), unless it contains lactose, then per each\r\nkilogram, 70 yen plus 7 yen for every 1% exceeding 10% by weight of lactoce
So, conclusion is that I probably have to live with it… 70% of our stroopwafel cost price is butter…, so we are paying ¥1,159 tarrifs for every kilo we use. I think I never paid so much tax in my whole life.
Okay, today is the day that our stroopwafel maker arrived. I had to go to Kansai airport to arrange the customs and pickup. If we would ask the shipping agent to do the work, it would cost another ¥24,000, and it would probably take a lot longer.
After taking the kids to school, I took my smallest son Colin (2 and a half years old) to Kansai airport. In Kansai Airport we went to the international Cargo area. We had to register and got a tag. One tag for me, one for little Colin and one for the car. Finding the building was not that easy. The buildings in the Cargo area are not marked very well. After asking around a few times, we ended up at the right building. In the building we had had to go to 3-02 International Express. Funny… the offices were not numbered… Probabably one of those security measures. We asked another 2 more times in the building and reached our destination.
Friday, April 24th, 2009
From our previous experience, I reduced the amount of butter and increased the amount of milk. I tried to use bread flour instead of normal flour that is usually sold in the shops. I have no clue what is the difference, but found out through this experiment and feedback from the tasters.
I used 6dl of milk, but since I didn”t have any milk at home, I used cream. When I calculated the price, the cream, instead of milk, adds ¥33 to 10 cookies. So using cream instead of milk is not a commercial option.
This time I used a lot more cinamon, so that the color of our dough was nice and tanned. The smell of the cinamon is also much stronger and enticing when baking the waffles. So this was definitely a move in the right direction.
I added the left over cooky crumbs from last batch, so they don”t go to waste
The dough was easy to bake, it was all puffed up when it came out of the waffle maker, which means that it was very easy to split. I had to make sure that I flattened it as soon as it came out, otherwise the shape would cool down and remain bulged up.
The syrup we used today was very liquid, so my working blade became a bit sticky and I had to wipe it a few times. The temperature was obviously too high, so I have to make sure that I don”t keep the syrup on the fire, but just warm it up occasionally when the syrup gets to solid.
The waffles that were done, were leaking syrup on all sides, so I need to find a way to either make the syrup less runny or fill the stroopwafel only in the middle and press a bit to spread it just enough not to reach the brim of the cookie.
Conclusion: I used bread flour for this recipe, and more milk than in the previous recipe. The result is that it is easy to bake and puffs up but probably the downside is that the resulting cookie is more dense and chewy, rather than crumbly. So my next experiment, we go back to normal baking flour. Due to the high price of butter, I am not really looking forward to increase the ratio of the butter. Currently 50% of the price of the cookie is the butter price.’