Monday, 28 July 2008

Let There Be Bread

We have a friend who is seriously into cooking. We had a beer with her yesterday, and she asked me if I'd received the 'pie-making machine' yet. I told her I had, and she was drooling over the steak-and-kidney and chicken-and-ham pies that I've made so far.

'What about bread?' she asked, 'You do make your own bread, don't you? And not in a bread-making machine?'

I told her, I have been known to make my own bread, I'm not impressed by bread-making machines. I like to knead the dough by hand, stick all kinds of seedy, grainy things in it, and generally produce a fairly interesting loaf. We then had a long chat about the general crapness of Spanish bread: baguettes and chapattas that are good while they are fresh, but go rock-hard within about two hours; 'pan de molde' or 'Bimbo' that tastes of nothing and goes moudly in a couple of days; etcetera.

And then she explained her theory. She highly doubts that Spanish bakers use yeast to make their dough rise. Baking powder is suspected. Now this might be true, because both yeast and baking powder are apparently known as 'levadura' in Spanish. And while I've seen plenty of baking powder in the shops, I've never actually seen yeast.

The hunt is on.


Graeme said...

If you're not going to make your own then try buying Galician bread, they make huge round loaves that keep for a few days (outside of the summer months). Freezes very well too. I buy mine from the Museo del Pan Gallego which has a couple of shops in the centre.

Keefieboy said...

MamaDuck and I set off on an expo-tition this evening. Searching for bread yeast and poppy seeds (don't ask). We actually found the yeast (levadura de panaderia) in a wonderful shop on the corner of our square. This place has external shutters that are permanently closed, and looks less than inviting. But if you venture through the door, they do have all manner of surprising stuff: Bovril, Chiver's Marmalade, and bread yeast, to name a few.

leftbanker said...

I pretty much gave up on making pizza and bread here as I couldn't find the sort of yeast I like. They have some sort of funky yeast at Mercadona, the name escapes me but it comes in cubes and is refrigerated. I didn't have much luck with it. In the States I used to make pizza at least once a week.

I buy a wonderful bread at Mercadona called pan redondo cortado con 5 semillas.