Queen of Night, calvinistisch brood

From The Soft Protest Digest
Jump to navigation Jump to search
‘Queen of Night, calvinistisch brood’
A “Queen of the night” tulip
Jan Bruegel, 1601, Allegorie op de tulipomania
A fries Roggebrood with oude kaas

”Queen of Night, calvinistisch brood” was a dish presented to the visitors of fanfare, Amsterdam, for ‘The immersive table (five recipes)’.

It consisted of a slice of rye bread colored in a deep black color, served with a goat cream cheese and crushed black pepper, spelling on the plate: QN or ‘Queen of Night’.

The dish was shown and accompanied by a podcast laying out the reasons why the dish may be both environmentally and culturally resilient in the North Holland region.

To listen to the podcast:

The podcast can be found on the podcast app (by researching “The Soft Protest Digest”/Queen of Night, calvinistisch brood) or by following this link to our Soundcloud.

Transcript of the podcast of the “Queen of Night, calvinistisch brood”

Calvinism arrived in the Netherlands in the 16th century, promoted by William of Orange a calvinist himself. Calvinism, as a branch of protestantism, succeed in influencing the dutch society until the present, based on virtues such as respectfulness, reliability, discipline and efficiency. This was reflected in the food which should be effective and simple, and also in the simple black and white type of garment during this time, - colors where not encouraged. However the only colors exhibited vastly in the dutch society at the time, was in the form of a popular flower bred in Holland since the late 16th century, the tulip. In fact the tulip has a lot in common with calvinism; The lack of scent was seen as a sign of moderation. The tulip is an introvert amongst flowers, with it’s petals in an inward curve, hiding the sexual organs. - it does not evoke desire or eroticism, which is to thrive for in a Calvinistic influenced time.

Queen of Night:
Tulipmania is the story of the first major financial bubble which took place in Holland in the 1630ies during the dutch Golden Era. Tulip bulbs were imported from the Ottoman Empire and surprisingly thrived in the dutch soils. Masters of cultivation like the dutch bred the tulip to perfection, and soon investors began to purchase tulips in absurd quantities, pushing prices of the flower to unseen highs. Soon the average price of a single flower exceeded the annual income of a skilled worker and cost more than some houses at the time. Tulips were sold for over 4000 florins, and as prices drastically collapsed over the course of a week, many tulip holders instantly went bankrupt. During the peak of Tulipmania, a strange contest was issued for the tulip growers, it was, to cultivate a black tulip. But why a black tulip? Perhaps because the color is so rare to find in nature (or at least in living nature) and perhaps because calvinism still had it’s grip in the dutch. Needless to mention, growers of the time went completely overboard seeking to cultivate the shady colored flower. The legend goes that the prize of cultivating the black tulip was 100.000 florins, and the intrigue and greed inspired by the contest, led to fraud and even more gruesome events. One tale is told of a poor shoemaker who discovered a black tulip bulb. At the very pinnacle of Tulipmadness, the word travelled fast and only a few weeks later 5 gentlemen from the Union of Florists in Haarlem, all dressed in black payed a visit to the shoemaker. They offer to buy his black bulb for 1500 florins, a sum that for the shoemaker is florins from heaven. The tulip bulb changes hands, whereafter, the men throws the precious bulb to the ground and destroys it, while unveiling “we have the other black tulip, and now besides us, no-one in the world owns a black tulip”. In fact the truth is that no-one to the present day, succeeded in cultivating a truly black tulip. The closest we get is a tulip called “Queen of Night” with it’s dark purple glossy petals.

The dish :
The the dish ”Calvinist bread, Queen of Night” in front of you, presents a new version of the dutch rye bread, tinted in the darkest color ever so historical for the dutch. The calvinist bread Queen of Night is baked in 2 hours, whereas traditional Frisian Roggebrood is baked for 15 hours and the Brabrant version in 4. The Queen of Night is less sweet and more sour in flavor — much like the calvinist. In this bread you will also find buckwheat, buckwheat similar to rye is an old crop which has decreased in production in Holland. These crops are interesting is terms of climate resilience, since they both has the beneficial effect of fixating plant available nutrients in the soil. Rye is grown in the east and southeast of the Netherlands, where the soil is poorer, since rye is a durable crop and can even be cultivated during wintertime. All the flour is grown ecologically in the Netherlands, and milled at Molen De Vriendschap. On top of the bread you have a goat cream cheese from Ridammerhoeve Goat Farm in Amsterdamse Bos.”



  • 336g of freshly milled Rye flour[1]
  • 144g of freshly milled wholegrain spelt[2]
  • 432g of room temperature water
  • 72g of dark beer
  • 17g of fine sea salt
  • 200g of mature sourdough starter
  • A handful of buckwheat seeds
  • Optional: 20g of activated coal (to obtain a dark color)


Note: depending on the ‘fitness’ of your sourdough, it can be fed 2 times in 24 hours, or 2 times in 48 hours.

Building Levain:

  • 100g room temperature water
  • 100g Rye flour
  • 50g starter

Preparing the bread dough:

1. Add the beer to the levain, making sure that the levain is well dissolved.
2. Add all the dry ingredients and mix well.

Bulk fermentation:
1. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 2 hours, or until it has risen slightly and you can witness some activity.

1. Oil your tin and and cover the bottom with the buckwheat seeds.
2. Carefully pour in your dough.
3. Let it sit and rise up to 1cm under the rim of your tin.

Preheat the oven at 205°c one hour before baking.
Not forgetting to cover with the lid, bake the bread for 30 min at 205°c.
Lower the heat to 180°c and continue baking for 1.5 to 2 hours.
To know if the bread is baked correctly, look at the crust which should now be hard, and try sticking a knife inside of it.
Note: If you wish to make sure with a thermometer, know that the inside temperature of your bread should reach 97 to 100°c.

Wrap the bread in a tea towel and let it rest on a rack for at least 24 hours before slicing it.


Resilience of the dish and its products:

Click to zoom in on the receipts 🔍


  1. Alternatively you can use a mix of sifted milled rye flour and wholegrain rye flour. We recommend using 144g of wholegrain.
  2. You could also split the spelt proportion with another type of flour, e.g einkorn or buckwheat flour.