We've been watching the Hairy Bikers' "Bakeation" on the BBC lately. It's been interesting to see the differences and similarities in baking across Europe.
Oh, in case you don't know the programme: two chefs (are they actually chefs? Doesn't really matter, they make up for it in enthusiasm!) who ride motor bikes through several European countries trying all sorts of baked goods, both sweet and savory. Sometimes they bake it themselves, sometimes they sample what other people have made. Throw in a good dose of national/cultural stereotypes and you've pretty much got this programme. It's a nice programme to watch. With lots of humour and quirkiness from the two hosts.
But the main reason we've watched it is because of all the bread they try along the way. We like bread in our household, oh yes we do. I'd happily swap cake for a nice slice of bread. And if it's really nice, there doesn't even have to be anything on it. :-)
I'm very lucky that I have a husband who enjoys baking bread, and who has the patience to actually follow a recipe! So he tried the Pan Rustico from the Spanish leg of the "Bakeation". It was quite the process, taking over 24 hours! But it was nice. Worth waiting for I reckon!
It had a really nice crust and the crumb was soft and spongy. Really good. You can find the recipe here if you'd like to try it yourself. The recipe calls for wholemeal flour, but we didn't have any of that so we substituted with regular strong flour. If you use regular flour you may have to add a bit extra because wholemeal soaks in more of the liquid...
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