The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pan de cristal / Glass bread

Abelbreadgallery's picture
Abelbreadgallery

Pan de cristal / Glass bread

If you have visited Barcelona or the Catalonia region, maybe you have tasted Pan de Cristal, which is the local version of the ciabatta bread. I say it's a version because there are many things that make this bread so special. The main difference is that the crust is thinner, crispier and more delicate than a ciabatta, and the crumb is lighter and more opened than a ciabatta. And, how do you get this? More water (around 110-120% hydration), and just a small quantity of sugar and olive oil. Sugar makes the crust thinner and crispier. That's why this bread is called Pan de Cristal (Glass bread), because it's so delicate that when you want to slice it, it breaks like a cup of glass. Olive oil not only brings mediterranean aroma and flavour, but also changes the structure of the crumb.

This bread was developed around 10 years ago by a local bread company. The name is copyrighted. They deliver this bread, frozen, not only to local restaurants but also to anywhere in the world. In fact I met a businessman from Texas that bought this bread until he learned how to make it.The atributes of this bread make it very special for sandwiches and tapas with tomato spread, olive oil, serrano ham, etc. The shape is long and wide, quite flat.So you don't really have to shape, just divide, and stretch with your fingers and let the magic happen.

You can use sourdogh, yeast, or a combination of both, which is the best option in my opinion. According to my experience, you get better results working this dough in the straight way, without retarding in cool room. It's a just personal point of view according to my daily work.

Enjoy, have a nice baking day.

 

 

 

 

 

clazar123's picture
clazar123

There was an extensive discussion of this bread a few years ago but no definitive formula was made. Do you have a formula and method of making this bread? Can you share it?

Abelbreadgallery's picture
Abelbreadgallery

Yes, I can share.

1 kg bread flour, 1.1 to 1.2  lt water, 200 gr sourdough, 30 gr salt, 20 gr sugar, 50 ml olive oil and 2 to 10 grams of fresh yeast . Autolyse is a good system to increase the water absortion of your flour.

clazar123's picture
clazar123

The Fresh Loaf is such a world-wide forum with slightly different terms used for same/similar ingredients. I just want to make sure I use the equivalent to the ingredients you listed. I love the outcome!

Bread flour:

Where I am (in the USA), bread flour is about 14% protein. Is that equivalent to what you use?

Fresh Yeast :

Is this the type of yeast you use? Here it can be called "cake" yeast or "fresh yeast".

Alternatively, sometimes active dry yeast is referred to as "fresh yeast" when it is well within the freshness date on the package.

Is there a difference in behavior? I have never worked with cake/fresh yeast.

Autolyse:

Any particular amount of time?

Sourdough:

Do you keep a stiff or loose sourdough?

 

Thank you!

 

Abelbreadgallery's picture
Abelbreadgallery

Flour: I use Farine de Tradition Française T65, the same flour I use for baguettes. You can also combine with a small % of strong flour (T45), if you are not sure your flour will be able to drink that high amount of water.

Yeast: I use fresh yeast, like in the picture. If I dont have, I can use that active dry yeast in granules, reducing the quantity until 1/3. It's true that fresh yeast works faster than active dry yeast, specially at the beginning, because it's already hydrated. Dry yeast has to catch water from the dough until it begins to work, so it takes some minutes, but at the end of the fermentation process, the result and the power of fermentation is the same, from my point of view. A good idea is using fresh yeast in winter time and dry yeast in summer time.

Autolyse: 30 minutes or until one day.

Sourdough: any kind of sourdough works for this bread. I've done it with stiff, levain, also with paté fermenté, only yeast ... If you have good flour and you mix properly, you get good result.

 

clazar123's picture
clazar123

Thank you for such prompt and complete replies.

inumeridiieri's picture
inumeridiieri

Very interesting. This bread stimulates my imagination. I'd like to try it even though in a different way ..

Gaetano

bottleny's picture
bottleny

The bread looks great. Would love to try it in the future.

I found an old discussion post in FL:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/28361/pan-de-cristalpa-de-vidreglass-bread

bikeprof's picture
bikeprof

This is really interesting, thanks...

I hunted around the web for more examples and found quite a bit of variation (as one would expect with any bread).  All are very high hydration, but it appears that not all include oil and/or sugar.  All the examples I found use a preferment, and may or may not also include commercial yeast.

Process-wise many seem include an overnight rest at some stage (particularly if not doing a double hydration mixing process, it would be difficult to get the sought after gluten development without extra time...extensibility is also going to be important).  For handling and baking, many used put loaves on trays in convection ovens, but others went directly into deck ovens.

I'd love to hear and see more, as I don't get that excited about ciabatta, but perhaps this extreme ciabatta could do it for me.

Abelbreadgallery's picture
Abelbreadgallery

The real one contains oil and sugar. In fact in some places in the Catalonia region they add 50% lard pork and 50% olive oil. The addition of fat and sugar is increasing the crustiness, make the crust thinner and make the internal structure of the crumb more regular. Of course olive oil gives a very nice taste.

In the process, you can make changes. It depends on your timetable and how do you want to schedule. But from my opinion, I work this highly hydrated doughs with better results if I work in the direct system, using always sourdough + some yeast. 20% sourdough + 5 grams of fresh yeast per kilo of flour and 3 hours of bulk fermentation at room temperature is enough to get a good quality product.

For handling the loaves, I suggest you to use coarse semolina to prevent the loaf gets stick in the linen couche. The key trick in this bread is do not touch the dough so much, only few times with decision and delicacy to keep the gas you have created in the fermentation time. 

 

inumeridiieri's picture
inumeridiieri

I have not argued to the presence of fat in the dough. It's just what you say. Shield the crumb. Next time I try :-)

Gaetano