Friday, November 15, 2013

Pataqueta - a traditional Valencia orchard bread for Baking Partner's challenge

I am posting back to back recipes this week which is so unlike me :-), but I am enjoying every minute of it. I really wanted to post about the Nallikai chitranna as we celebrated Tulsi habba on Thursday, then Swathi had asked me to be part of the World Diabetes day so came the healthy, diabetic friendly Barley upma. Today is the middle of the month and as has been the tradition over the last few months, I bake with my baking partners group and we all post our experiences and success stories about the month's challenge. Each of the recipes this week is a personal favorite - both for their taste and what they represent. All in all a fulfilling and exhausting week from blogging perspective, my hats off to bloggers who post daily and stay so active in this virtual world. Here I am with my last post for the week :-), hope I didn't bore you with my frequent ramblings. I will see you all next week, have a great weekend.

Taking a slight deviation from her usual choice of recipes for the challenge, Swathi offered us a single recipe this time, a traditional Spanish bread which is known to have been in existence over 300 years. I was excited to try an old world recipe. The bread is traditionally baked in a shape resembling a crescent moon. The ingredients are very minimal as befits a homely bread but the taste and texture are outstanding. This is easily one of the best breads I have baked at home. Originally baked in Moorish ovens, Pataquetas were fed to people as they left home for work. I can imagine why, they are hardy yet soft, stand well either dipped in a soup/stew or made into a sandwich. This delicious bread reminds me of the bakery purchased Italian bread especially Ciabatta. These are no longer cooked regularly at home but are pre ordered on occasions. Thank you Marisa for introducing us to this wonderful bread. Crisp and crackly outside with a beautifully soft inside, perfect with a soup or a spicy chutney, tastes divine.
All happy endings are not necessarily pain free travels. My journey of making Pataqueta had its own challenges. I made the ferment last week and following the instructions, refrigerated it. 48 hours later, the ferment didn't look any different from what had been pushed in, so to say I was a little worried would be an understatement. I panicked and sent an SOS to the baking partners' group. Swathi responded back promptly asking the right questions like if my yeast was active and suggesting I try putting the ferment out for a couple of hours before going any further. I had made a whole wheat bread using the same batch of yeast just a couple of days back and didn't think it was the culprit so took the ferment out in the morning and kept stealing glances at it the whole day to see if it would take some pity on me and show a change. No such luck. Not daring to go forward with that ferment and waste additional flour, I chucked it down the drain and started over. And incidentally my yeast also got over.

So went and got a fresh stock of yeast and made my starter. Taking some cues from the previous disaster, I kept the ferment out on the counter top for about 15 minutes and started seeing bubbles after the first 10 minutes which made my heart sing a happy tune. After this reassurance, the ferment went into the refrigerator. I left it in there for 2 full days before taking it out, the starter didn't seem to have doubled or increased in size, in essence it was pretty much the same as the last time :-(. My heart sank at the sight but I just braved on to make the dough hoping for some edible bread at the end of it. But then life is full of surprises and I ended up with a delicious bread which we all enjoyed. DD, who was home when I baked it, polished off 3 or 4 Pataquetas at one go with a heap of Pudina chutney on the side :-), a Spanish & Indian match made in heaven. We ate it with a hot bowl of soup for dinner, just perfect on a wintry night. By the time Marisa enlightened us about the way it is eaten in Valencia (sliced in half and used as a sandwich bread), we had polished off the bread :-), so the plan as DD says is to make it again soon so we can try the sandwich way.
The recipe is very simple and the ferment doesn't actually rise in volume, since the consistency of the starter is a slightly liquidish. So learning from experience, my first starter would have worked just as well if only I had not thrown it away. The surprising part of this bread is that there is not a single drop of oil or any fat. The ingredients are just flour and water mixed with a leaving agent. The recipe we were given as part of the challenge had a link to a Spanish website so my Spanish studying daughter volunteered happily to read it and translate it for me as I wanted to make sure I wasn't missing out anything in my translated English version :-).
What do you need to make Pataqueta?
Ferment or starter ingredients:
100 ml water (room temperature)
1/3 cup All purpose flour
1.5 Tsp instant yeast or 2 Tsp Active dry yeast
1/2 Tsp sugar
Bread dough ingredients:
3 cups bread flour (you can substitute with AP flour if you like)
200 ml luke warm water
1.5 Tsp salt
all of the ferment from above
1/2 Tsp flour to dust on top

How do you make Patequeta?
Making the ferment:
  • Take water in a bog bowl, stir in the yeast into the water.
  • Add the flour and sugar and mix it.
  • This is not a flowing liquid neither is it a tight dough.
  • Keep the mixture on counter top for about 10-15 minutes for the yeast to start working.
  • You may see some tiny bubbles on top if you have used rapid rise yeast.
  • Cover the bowl with a cling wrap and refrigerate for upto 48 hours.
  • This helps develop yeast slowly and enhances the taste of the bread.
Making the bread dough:
  • Keep the refrigerated ferment out for about 30-45 minutes.
  • Add the flour, warm water to the bowl and bring them together using a spoon or a scraper.
  • Take the dough on to a flat surface and knead it for about 8-10 minutes - you will not require any dry flour, the dough feels a little sticky to start with but as you work on it becomes soft and pliable.
  • Add the salt and continue to knead for another 15 minutes, you will feel the dough changing texture under your fingers, it is such a satisfying feeling if you ask me :-).
  • At the end of 20 minutes, you will end up with a soft, pliant and elasticky dough.
  • Divide the dough into equal sized balls (I made 14 balls) and roll them gently to remove creases.
  • Set them on a tray for 20 minutes to settle down, cover it with a cloth.
  • Take out the balls one by one, press it into a disc with hand, make a sharp cut in the bottom half and gently lift the dough sideways to make the shape - watch this video to get an idea.
  • Make another horizontal cut in the middle.
  • I made all balls but 2 in this shape and used the last two to make some regular rolls.
  • Set these shaped breads on cookie sheets an inch apart, cover with a cloth and let them rise for an hour.
  • Mine did not exactly double in size but just looked poofy and soft. So don't let the size deter you.
  • This bread is steam baked so take a wide baking tray or a oven safe dish and put it in the bottom rack of the oven as you preheat the oven to 390F.
  • Take about 4 cups of water and set it to boil.
Making the Pataqueta:
  • Take a Tsp of flour in a fine sieve and dust it over the bread lightly.
  • Open your oven door, pull the bottom rack and quickly pour the boiling water into it.
  • Put the baking sheets with Pataquetas inside the oven on the top rack and close it.
  • Bake for 26-30 minutes.
  • Enjoy fresh baked, hot bread with soup or chutney as we did. Marisa says it is traditionally eaten as a sandwich bread, so go ahead and make your own filling.
The delicious Pataqueta baked as part of Baking Partner's challenge for Nov, 2013


NamsVeni Pothas said...

a very new recipe.looks very ymmmyyy and attractive also with nice pictures. i doubt never taste this bread before.

Marisa G said...

Dear Nagashree, I'm sorry about the problems you had with the ferment. As you say, there is no need to throw the ferment away. But, as I’ve seen that many of you have had the same problem, I’ve corrected my post in order to avoid this. I'm very happy that you and your family like pataquetas and want to bake them again. I’ve also made several tries because I wanted to do my best, but I need more practice.
I know that baking bread is different depending on the type of ingredients, the temperature...
At last you did it very well and I'm so proud of it.
Love all your explanation about the origin of pataquetas and how it is eaten, always as a sandwich and.
I also like knowing that your daughter is learning Spanish, so my son is learning English. My site is a good place to visit now if you want.
Please, if you don’t mind, change the link to my site so that visitors can see my pataquetas.
Thanks a lot for taking part in this challenge and your words.
Cheers from Valencia.

Arthy shama said...

Love the way you wrote your post, liking your stories much :D And, by, the end Indian-Spanish Hybrid looks godly!!

Nagashree said...

Marisa, No harm done with the starter, it was a good learning experience.

I have updated my link to your Pataqueta post.

Swathi Iyer said...

Delicious bread, you made lovely Pataqueta Nagashree, Love those chutney combo.

Suja Manoj said...

Loved reading your post.Beautifully baked,looks perfect.

Shannon said...

Your pataqueta looks awesome, thanks for sharing!

Sangeetha Priya said...

perfectly baked and it looks beautiful!!!

beingFab said...

Eating these with chutney is a great idea!! Got to try it out ;-)

Kannada Cuisine said...

Wah! that looks yummy