La Mancha bread
Castilla-La Mancha, the land of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, is one of the few regions with a Geographical Indication bread: Pan de Cruz de Ciudad Real (Cross bread). It’s a low hydration bread done with a variety of flour named “candeal”, which gives bread a sugary flavour and a mild and crunchy crust because it’s baked at lower temperature than usual. In all region bread masters prepare pieces with these characteristics.
“El libro de los maestros panaderos”, by Francisco Tejero, is a kind of greatest hits compilation of the formulas of the best bread masters in Spain. The formula of La Mancha bread is given by Senén Buitrago, owner of Tahona Buitrago, in Carrión de Calatrava. I suggest you to use a great quality bread flour.
- 500 gr bread flour
- 325 ml water
- 100 gr solid sourdough (58% hydration) *
- 10 gr salt
- 1,6 gr instant dry yeast or 5 gr of fresh yeast
* If you want to prepare 100 gr of solid sourdough, mix 33 grams of liquid active sourdough with 47 gr of flour and 20 ml of water, and let it rest 3 hours.
Knead all the ingredients.
Let it rest for 20 minutes.
Shape a ball and let it rest for 15 minutes until the dough relaxes.
Place the dough over a floured surface. Flatten a little bit with your hands until you make a round form, about 2 cm high, like a beret.
Let it rest at room temperature about 1 hour and 30 min, until it grows and the beret almost doubles its size and it is about 3,5 cm high.
Score the dough and bake 45 minutes at 200C (392F) with just a little bit of steam.