Pataqueta – Valencia’s Orchard Traditional Bread

9th Jan, 2014

This is one of the bread’s for our Baking Partners November bread. This was suggested by Marisa of Thermofan and is very traditional bread from the city of Valencia in Spain. I was unable to make this bread that month, but having seen the passion with which Marisa introduced the bread to us, I knew that this was one bread I had to bake. Marisa, a teacher by profession had put in a lot of effort to learn this bread from a local baker and then introduce it to us.

This is one of the ancient European bread, with a crusty outside and crumbly inside. The bread has the shape of a crescent moon and this used to be a bread that the inhabitants of Valencia’s orchard ate when they left for work.  The bread was traditionally baked in a Moorish oven. Marisa really wanted to get the history of this almost disappearing bread back into the present days. Surprisingly if you check online, apart from the baking partner group’s post there is very little information on this.

Pataqueta’s are usually baked for their important festival, ‘Fallas’ which is in March. This is a really simple bread without any added fat in the recipe. The bread requires a starter that has to be refrigerated for at least 8 hrs. So even though it is very simple, it does take a bit of planning.

We enjoyed this bread as is with some butter, but it would be an amazing base for sandwich.  I am very happy that I tried out one of the very ancient’s bread which is almost disappearing.

Preparation time – 20 mins plus overnight fermenting and couple of hours for proofing
Cooking time – 30 minutes
Difficulty level – easy

Ingredients – (Makes 6 large patequetas)

For the ferment –

  • Water – 100 ml
  • All purpose flour – 1/3 cup
  • Active dry yeast – 2 tsp
  • Sugar – ½ tsp
For the dough –
  • All of the ferment
  • Bread flour – 3 cups
  • Warm water – 200 ml
  • Salt – 1 ¾ tsp
  • Extra flour – to dust the work top and the dough

Procedure –

To make the ferment –

  • The evening before you plan to make the bread, combine all the ingredients mentioned above for ferment in a medium bowl. Mix well and leave the covered ferment in the refrigerator for at least 8 hrs. This could be left in the refrigerator for up to 48hrs. After overnight ferment, you would see below that my ferment is all bubbly.
To make the dough –
  • On the day of making the bread, remove the ferment from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature.
  • Now add all the ingredients to the stand mixer attached with a dough hook attachment. Mix well and knead to form a smooth and elastic dough.
  • Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and let it rest for about an hour or until it is doubled in volume.
To shape the Pataquetas –
  • Once the dough has doubled in volume, divide them into 6 pieces almost weighing 150 gms each.
  • Form a smooth ball with each dough piece.
  • Then with a sharp knife or a bench scraper, make a cut in the center almost half way up.
  •  Now stretch the dough outwards. With your palm, flatten the dough above the cut.
  • Make a shallow slit in the middle of the dough just above the cut.
  • Do this for the rest of the dough.
  • Place all the shaped dough on a baking tray and cover them with a kitchen cloth. Let it rest until they are doubled in size or about an hour.
Baking –
  • Preheat the oven to 400 F. Also prepare some hot water in the meantime.
  • Once the shaped dough has rested, dust the dough with some flour to give it a rustic look. I used a metal strainer to dust the flour evenly
  • Place the tray in the oven and also leave a tray with hot water in the bottom rack of the oven. This bread bakes with the steam inside the oven to give it the hard crust and a soft interior.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes are until golden brown in color.
  • Remove the breads and let it cool in the cooling rack.
  • Enjoy the crusty bread with a bowl of soup or as a sandwich!

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