Tuesday 23 April 2013

Saint George's Bread

Saint George is a very special day here in Catalonia. In fact, I would add, this is the most special day for lots of people, including me. Saint George is our Valentine's day, but the tradition is not only to give a present to our lovers, but to give books and roses as presents. Only books and roses, so this is an amazing day for writers, as well as for flowers sellers. As you can imagine, the streets fill with roses and books shops and everybody walks around while choosing the right book and the most precious rose for their partner. This is a really colorful, beautiful day for everybody. But aside of being a great day, I always have the feeling of being the start of something, the start of spring or warm days, and I always remember it as an optimistic and cheerful day.

This day also arrives to the bakeries, and one of the most typical products is this Saint George bread, which was created 25 years ago by Eduard Crespo, a baker from Barcelona. This bread shows the catalan flag, made with a typical sausage meat called "sobrassada" from Balearic Islands and white bread dough with grated cheese. Both doughs are wrapped by another one with nuts. 

This recipe isn’t difficult if someone is used to making bread but it can be a little confusing because of the assembly process. I will try to explain you, but due to this reason, it is better if you have a look at this video, in which you’ll be able to see the creator of this bread while making it. As I said before, the bread has three different doughs (cheese, “sobrassada” and nuts) which have to be made separately, because they haven’t the same moistness so we won’t need the same quantity of flour

Cheese dough

-         300g bread flour
-         8g yeast
-         Salt
-         100g grated cheese
-         175g water

In a bowl, whisk the flour, salt and yeast until well combined. Start adding water while stirring with a fork or a spoon. When the dough is quite solid, start turning the mixture with your fingers. The, transfer the dough to a clean working surface a bit of flour and knead for ten minutes. The dough has to be soft and not sticky. Return the dough to the bowl covered with a towel and let it rest for half an hour.

Sobrassada dough

-          250g bread flour
-          100g water
-          125g “sobrassada”
-          8g yeast

In a bowl, mix the flour, the yeast and the sobrassada with the fingers until quite combined. Add water while stirring with a spoon and then knead the dough in the surface until soft and not sticky. Let it rest for another half an hour while you prepare the other dough. 

Nuts dough

-          250g bread flour

-          150g water

-          8g yeast

-          10g granulated sugar

-          80g chopped nuts

Proceed similarly to the other doughs and add the nuts before letting it rest for a half an hour. 

When finishing the third dough, the cheese dough is probably ready and almost doubled in size. In this case, with the working surface lightly floured and with the rolling pin, start rolling out the dough to rectangle of 1 centimeter of thickness. Set aside, and do the same with the sobrassada dough. However, in this case, the rectangle should be a bit smaller than the cheese one.

Now, take the sobrassada dough and lay on the top of the cheese dough. With a knife, cut the sobrassada dough in four fringes, like in the video. You will have four sobrassada and cheese fringes and another cheese one. We have to put them one above the other, starting and finishing with a cheese fringe. These will be the stripes of the flag.

Take the nuts dough and roll it out in a similar way as the others. Put the stripes of the flag in the center of the nuts dough and wrapped it with the dough. I am sure you now understand why I recommended watching the video!

Now, cut it into slices of about 8-10 cm with a knife or dental floss and let it rest on the baking sheet for one hour. Preheat the oven at 200º and bake them for twenty minutes or until lightly brown.


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