A Stir The Pots Post

Lack of a loaf, my reflection on Ecuadors bread.

by | Jan 17, 2009 | Travel

Vacationing in Ecuador, I knew that I was going to be one miserable camper. Not because of ceviçhe, amoebas, or even relatives. No, it was the lack of good honest bread. In hot countries near the equator,(correct me if I am wrong, someone, please!) sourdough doesn't exist anymore. As a matter of fact commercially yeasted bread (pretty much is standard) fails my test. What you most often encounter here are pillows of light fluff for squeezing rather than eating. Your only options are pale,sweet rolls or sliced white bread  imported from America. It leaves me with one question. Why? Regardless of the answer, I was going to have to survive on plantains and rice as my only carb intake. Sacrebleu!

While Ecuador has a bread culture, it's definitely lacking in variety and is going to need some improvement. But as with most cultures, you grow up with what know. I had been told that Manabis was the place for bread, with wood burning stoves in one village. Alas when we explored, I found a bakery with only one variety of rolls. Sadly, their oven was replaced with a gas stove. It seems most of the old wood stoves are gone with only one as a museum piece, the cause of lack of wood.

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My breakfast rolls

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The bakery in Manabis with only this sample of bread.

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Delivering bread in Puerto Lopez. These guy's have an assortment of little rosquitas, some soft rolls and a weird little bread dyed neon-red!

While in Guayaquil I found a bakery making some sort of cornet bread or pastry, I asked to snap some pictures and was obliged. One of the bakers didn't seem to like me around and as we left he scolded the other young bakers, it seems the were an unlicensed business, strange it was on a main road and open to the street.

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While on our way to the coast of Manabis, I spied a shop on a corner of the main street in Puerto Cayo. Just before we left the lazy town, I had to stop, noticing a sign on
a building. It was a bakery with a perfect name, in case I decided to retire
here with just a place to make some loaves for travelers and friends. I could set up a school, or a hospice for wayward sourdough bakers hard on their luck. "Can you help a fellow American whose down on his luck with a loaf ?

Hay, bueno, bueno!

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2 Comments

  1. Layla

    From personal experience you will find amazing bread in the provinces of the Sierra or highlands, but not as much in the Costal areas. The bread in Loja is very good, Ambato is also known for its bread, in fact there is an expression to say something is great: “mas bueno que el pan de Ambato”.

    Reply
  2. Jeremy

    Layla,
    funny thing is when I was in Loja I didn’t see any bread, of course I was traveling all over the place, but I know in my wifes town of Zaruma that people used to do there own bread at home.

    Reply

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