Thursday, June 11, 2009

the rain in spain, not sure where

Home is a terrific place to get away from, but a better place to come back to.

Spain is a beautiful place, Barcelona not so much, but the island of Mallorca, paradise. Just got back from nine days there, five on the mainland, four on the island. Weather was perfect, couple drops one day. Terrible time to leave the bakery. We were busy, busy, with graduation and all.I was with Alex Vesselinovitch and his daughter. Alex has been all over the world. Says the only place he has seen more dramatic is the island of Kaua'i,in Hawaii. I can only compare it to Bern, Switzerland.

Gotta say, not much in the way of bakeries in Spain. Seems all the bread is pretty much the same. In Barcelona there are a lot of bakeries, small, very small. They do a lot of bakeoff, frozen dough type stuff. Le Fornet has a number of locations. A kinda Spanish "Panera Bread" set up. Saw a "Paul" location. Nice stuff. "Paul" is a French based "Panera Bread" type place. They have one for sure here in the states, in Miami, on South Beach. The two bakers I spoke to were both using Spanish flour. Bread had a very white crumb. Very even/tight grained. Obviously no winter wheat there. Not much in the way of fermentation, stuff was all made with gun powder(sarcastic name for dough conditioners). The last night there, we ate at Seven Portes, an old Spanish bistro, close to the water. THEY had some bread. Closest thing I found to our bread here. Even had a creamy coloured crumb. Nice pretty hole structure. Nice crust, was baked pretty close to dinner time. All the bread I saw was baked on screens in a convection oven. When you turn over a baguette, it should have a smooth bottom. Should be darker, where it made contact with the stone while baking. If it looks like it was baked on a window screen or patterned metal, it is not baked on a hearth. Subway, grocery stores, warehouse clubs, turn over their bread and you will see what I mean.

The Spaniards get by with mediocre bread because of the wonderful olive oil they serve at the table. They also serve the best olive tapenade, I've ever eaten. I guess they view their bread as a way of getting these olives items up to their mouth.


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